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The AM V8, known as the 'baby Aston', is the Ford Premier Automotive Group's proposed 911 rival; set to cost from around 90,000 Euros when it goes on sale in 2005, it should certainly give the Porsche a run for its money. Its final name hasn't yet be confirmed, but insiders are referring to it as the 'DB5', reviving a classic badge. Aston expects this model to play a major role in upping its annual output, and for it to account for 40-50 percent of all Aston sales.

The first Aston to be built on the company's all-new aluminium platform, it is also the first Aston to be built at the former Rover site at Gaydon, where ultimately the next-generation DB7 and Vanquish will be built. Styled by Henrik Fisker, it has a wide-opening hatchback, a generous luggage area and a two-seat interior inspired by that of the Vanquish. Power comes from a Jaguar-derived 4.3-litre V8, likely to give a good 370bhp, and a 500bhp-plus supercharged R version is also said to be on the cards. The engine is front mid-mounted - positioned well back in the engine bay to give optimum front-:rear axle weight distribution. Six-speed manual transmission will be standard, a sequential-shift auto optional, and both gearboxes will be rear-mounted. @Automedia

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