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Geneva show: Aston Martin revives Lagonda brand

Guess who’s back: Lagonda has been resurrected several times since 1958, but from 2021 it will return as a standalone brand with a zero-emission model line-up.

Pure-electric, autonomous Lagonda Vision Concept signals return of British marque

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7 Mar 2018

CLAIMED to be the first luxury brand exclusively driven by zero-emission powertrains, Lagonda has been rebooted by parent company Aston Martin with designs to launch two new models by 2023.

Announced at the Geneva motor show overnight, Lagonda’s standalone return was marked with the reveal of the electrified and self-driving Vision Concept.

According to Aston Martin president and chief executive officer Andy Palmer, Lagonda will aim to disrupt the status quo by combining two differing design approaches for its models.

“We believe people associate luxury in their cars with a certain traditional and even old-fashioned approach because, to date, that is all that’s been available to them,” he said.

“Lagonda exists to challenge that thinking and prove that being modern and luxurious are not mutually exclusive concepts.

“We see no limits for Lagonda. It will be a brand for the restless, for those who are anything but happy with the status quo.

“It will produce cars that exploit technology, without being obsessed with it for its own sake. And it will enable Lagonda to redefine the concept of luxury within the automotive and other spheres.”

The Vision Concept is said to preview the design language of the aforementioned two new models, with the first set to enter production in 2021 while the second will likely follow two years later.

The body styles of these models are yet to be confirmed, but Lagonda did display scaled-down coupe and SUV concepts at its Geneva stand alongside the Vision Concept fastback sedan.

Any two of the three could make production in the next five years, but an official call will be made in due course.

Aston Martin executive vice-president and chief creative officer Marek Reichman stressed the importance of the Vision Concept to Lagonda’s revival, particularly from a design perspective.

“The Lagonda Vision Concept is an incredibly bold design statement,” he said. “The electrification revolution means there is no longer any need for horse and carriage design.

“Our new concept shows the scope of design opportunities that open up once you no longer need to provide space for a large power source directly in front of the passenger compartment.

“In the Lagonda Vision Concept, the batteries occupy the floor of the car. Everything above that line belongs to us.”

While Lagonda has not detailed the specifics of the Vision Concept’s pure-electric powertrain, it has revealed that a solid-state battery pack can be installed for a real-world driving range of up to 644 kilometres, while wireless charging is also supported.

Outputs are sent to an intelligent all-wheel-drive system that distributes up to 100 per cent of available torque to any corner depending on demand.

Shorter and lower than a traditional limousine, the Vision Concept offers seating for four and caters towards occupants that are more than two metres tall thanks to its efficient interior packaging.

The seats themselves are akin to armchairs, offering heavily bolstered armrests for increased comfort, while the front pews can rotate 180 degrees to facilitate conversation with rear passengers.

Ingress and egress is aided by suicide rear doors as well as roof sections that open upwards, meaning occupants can stand up inside and walk out of the vehicle, or vice-versa.

Materials used throughout the cabin include carbon-fibre and ceramics as well as cashmeres, silks and woven wool, with renowned British craftsman David Snowdon collaborating on the project.

Commenting on the future of autonomous driving and how it relates to Lagonda, Mr Palmer reiterated that such an innovation has been available for a long period of time.

“For owners of true luxury cars, autonomy has existed for over a century in a carbon-based form called a chauffeur,’ he said.

“We imagine most Lagonda customers will choose to be driven, but whether by a person or a computer will be up to them. And if they want to drive themselves, the car will ensure that is a delightful and memorable experience too. Lagonda will provide that choice.”

Specifically, the Vision Concept is a Level 4 autonomous vehicle, meaning it is able to drive itself in normal conditions on all recognisable roads.

As such, its steering wheel can move from left- to right-hand drive as needed, or can retract entirely if a human driver is not required.

“There are some excellent products in the luxury car market today, but they are tied by their brands to traditional design execution,” Mr Palmer added.

“Similarly, if you look at the most modern, technologically advanced cars on the market, they are defined by their technologies.

“By contrast Lagonda will be entirely strategic in its approach of technology, using it as a means to attain its goal of creating the world’s first ultra-modern luxury cars, and never as an end in itself.”

Aston Martin also rolled out the Vulcan AMR Pro, a track-only version of its hypercar, at the Geneva motor show, with the 1000kg model providing an equal amount of downforce thanks to its slick aerodynamics. If that is not enough, combined power output will be more than 820kW.

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