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Geneva show: Lagonda lives again

Born again: Aston Martin has revived the Lagonda as a luxury SUV.

Aston Martin to revive historic British brand Lagonda with a five-metre crossover

5 Mar 2009

WHEN Aston Martin confirmed last September it would revive the long-lost Lagonda brand to “develop cars which can have a different character than a sportscar”, few people would have expected the 100-year-old marque to re-emerge in the form of a full-size luxury SUV.

But it is clear the bespoke British sportscar-maker will indeed follow the likes Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and Porsche, after revealing the five-metre-long, four-seat four-wheel-drive Lagonda Concept at the Geneva motor show on March 4.

Blurring the lines between SUV and coupe in a similar way to BMW X6 and the lower-riding 5 Series GT concept, which also debuted globally at the Swiss motor show, the Lagonda show car features even slabbier sides and a narrower glasshouse beneath a flatter roof.

But the born-again Lagonda also adds a big, bold and bluff, Aston-style front-end and a notch-backed Bentley-esque tailgate that also crosses sedan with wagon, or even hatchback.

The latest Lagonda is most certainly not a hot-hatch, but with Autocar reporting the 2012 production car might employ the same chassis as the seven-seat GL-class off-roader, in a platform sharing arrangement that is yet to be finalised between Aston Martin Lagonda (AML) and Mercedes-Benz, but could lead to others in future.

44 center image Left: The Lagonda Concept. Below: The Aston Martin One-77.

AML chief executive Dr Ulrich Bez told Autocar that Aston Martin’s extruded aluminium Vertical-Horizontal (VH) sportscar architecture would not accommodate “cars like this” and confirmed future Lagonda models would be higher-riding and more versatile than Aston models.

“Lagondas will not be about utility necessarily, or practicality,” he said. “They will not be rugged, go-anywhere machines, although they will have greater ride height, usability and versatility than Aston Martins.” Dr Bez said Lagonda’s rebirth had been planned since 2000, adding that Aston Martin could not have established an SUV-oriented Lagonda brand while under the ownership of Ford, which relinquished control in 2007 and would have vetoed a direct rival for its own Range Rover models.

“We could never have convinced our previous owners to allow us to relaunch the Lagonda brand like this,” Dr Bez told Autocar. “There would have been too many complications and obstacles connected with Ford’s other PAG brands. Now that Ford is out of the picture, though, we are free to express our new vision for Lagonda.” While its exclusive two-door performance car range is available in just 32 countries worldwide, Aston Martin Lagonda plans to sell in 100 territories globally from the Middle East, Russia, South America, India and China to the US, Europe and, almost certainly, Australia.

Fitted with a petrol-fed V12, the Lagonda Concept is the first show car to wear one of the world’s oldest automotive brand names, which Aston Martin acquired in 1947, since the Vignale limousine concept emerged at the 1992 Geneva show.

Aston says Lagonda will enter the marketplace with a “unique performance avant-garde luxury product” and will be committed to alternative powertrain technologies including flexfuel, low-emission diesel and hybrid systems.

“The Lagonda is the luxury car of the future, a combination of total usability, a new form and innovative new technology and materials,” said Dr Bez.

“An Aston Martin is an authentic, pure sportscar, but Lagonda is something else – a new brand that will reach into new markets. Lagonda will create a new kind of customer relationship, instilling the spirit of travel, adventure and style into a single, formidable package.

“An Aston Martin demands to be driven. A Lagonda demands a destination,” he said.

The five-door Lagonda concept debuted in Geneva alongside a bevy of new Aston Martin models, including the DBS Volante convertible, V12 Vantage coupe and the limited-edition One-77 supercar.

Extensive technical details of $4 million One-77 were also confirmed at Geneva – including a 25 per cent lighter, 7.3-litre version of the company’s 6.0-litre V12, delivering more than 700hp (522kW).

Finally, in the same way that it hopes the Lagonda SUV will attract a wider global audience than its own $250,000-plus sportscars, Aston’s mould-breaking Rapide sedan will aim to find new, even wealthier customers early next year by following in the four-door footsteps of the Maserati Quattroporte, Mercedes-Benz CLS and upcoming Porsche Panamera and Lamborghini Estoque.

Read more:

Aston reveals DBS convertible

Aston slots V12 into Vantage

Aston Martin’s $4 million One-77 for Australia

Aston Martin to revive Lagonda

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