After refining its nautical skills on the AM37 powerboat it showed at last year's Monaco Yacht Show, Aston Martin is back in Monaco talking up another project that puts its design expertise to use at sea. With the Project Neptune submersible, Aston declares its intent to send vessels plunging below the waterline, in addition to speeding across the surface of sea and land. A team-up between Aston Martin and the submersibles experts at Triton Submarines LLC, the new sub lets three people explore the great blue below, all dressed up in their swankiest Aston garb.
Aston Martin has been rather busy lately. Along with keeping up with its usual line-up of regularly evolving sports and luxury cars, it's been working on projects like the aforementioned AM37, the race-derived Valkyrie hypercar and an all-electric vehicle.
Project Neptune is the first effort of Aston Martin Consulting, the company's division providing cross-industry design, engineering and manufacturing services aimed at "distilling the brand's essence into exciting new projects." Aston Martin announced the brand launch in March 2016, and we reckon a distinctive personal submarine makes for a pretty conspicuous product launch to declare its full arrival.
"Project Neptune is a flagship project for Aston Martin Consulting," says AM Consulting managing director Bradley Yorke-Biggs. "It is a clear and engaging demonstration of how Aston Martin's expertise in sports car design and craftsmanship can be extended into new aspects of the luxury world."
Doing a little comparison between the initial Project Neptune renderings and Triton's regular line-up shows that Aston Martin's sports car design and craftsmanship expertise is extending into the world of submarines quite well. The silver body is much smoother and sleeker than the chunky, bright-yellow production models highlighted on Triton's website, like the three-person 1650/3 LP above.
The Neptune's flanks look as sleek and curvy as speedboat hulls, perhaps more like aircraft fuselages when you add in the fins extending upward at the rear. Aston has also blended the glasshouse more neatly into the frame, the Neptune doing its best impression of a rear-set supercar with an ever-present sense of springing forward off its rear wheels, all systems go. It's definitely a better-looking personal submarine, sure to win the hearts of design-conscious superyacht owners.
"We have used forms and proportions that express the same devotion to design, engineering and beauty that shape our cars, such as the Aston Martin Valkyrie hypercar project," says Aston Martin executive vice president and chief creative officer Marek Reichman.
Pity the poor sap that shows up to his local Triton owner sub rally, only to find that he's the lone pilot of a standard Triton yellow submarine in a group of Aston-Triton Neptunes ... like a Nissan Juke on a Ferrari club drive.
No specs are provided in Aston Martin's or Triton's materials, but the 1650/3 LP, the sole three-person "LP" submersible on Triton's website, relies on dual 5-hp primary and dual 5-hp vertran thrusters powered by a 30-kWh lithium-iron-phosphate main battery. The single pilot operates via a combination of joystick, touchscreen and manual override controls, lighting the way with an exterior array of five 20,000-lumen LED lights. The sub can remain underwater for up to 12 hours and reach speeds up to 3 knots (5.6 km/h). Those aboard stay comfy in an air-conditioned cockpit.
Plans call for Project Neptune to bear an exclusive, strictly-limited edition model for a "select few." If it hasn't already sold out, it seems like the kind of billionaire's toy that could show up in a future edition of the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book, a destination not unfamiliar to Aston Martin nor Triton. Those personal submariners who don't snap one up in time will just have to be content in exploring the subaquatic realm with their off-the-shelf submersible ... or, since they're obviously filthy rich, maybe they can keep up with the Rockefellers by putting a call into Triton's custom department.
Only two renderings of the new submarine were released with the announcement, but we've stocked the gallery with some photos of other Triton models so you can compare the styling.