Aston Martin has unveiled its radical new Lagonda luxury limousine that it hopes will send an electric shock to British rivals Rolls-Royce and Bentley,
The iconic British car maker is reviving the dormant Lagonda marque to turn it into the world’s first super-luxury zero-emissions electric vehicle brand offering customers ‘guilt-free luxury’ – but with an expected price tag above £300,000.
Aston Martin chief executive Dr Andy Palmer said the Lagondas would be able to cover 400 miles between charges – enough to get from London to Edinburgh, Los Angeles to San Francisco or Berlin to Vienna without stopping for a battery charge.
Electric dreams: Aston Martin is to be revive the Lagonda name with a range of new electric-powered luxury limousines to take on Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Maybach
Two Lagonda versions are planned.
Dr Palmer said the four-seater Lagonda Vision Concept limousine shown in Geneva is a near future version of a production model planned for 2021, with a second model joining it by 2023.
As a clue, the firm also showed two 40 per cent scale models of potential coupe and SUV derivatives.
With a luxurious interior and armchair-style seats, it echoes of a smart lounge more than a car cabin.
Even though most owners will be driven by a human chauffeur, in anticipation of self-driving autonomous car technology, the front two seas can swivel around 180-degrees for face-to-face conversations with rear passengers.
The steering wheel can also retract while high levels of cyber-security will protect owners from hackers, says the brand.
The four-seater Vision Concept limousine pictured here, shown for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday, is a near future version of a production model planned for 2021
A second limo will follow just two year’s later, with the Lagonda range being built at the new St Athans plant in Wales
The concept car was one of the shocks of this year’s Geneva Motor Show and outlines the British brand’s plans to infiltrate new markets
Dr Palmer said he wanted to disrupt the cosy super-luxury market currently dominated by Rolls-Royce – which is soon to launch its own new 4X4 called Cullinan – and Bentley.
The absence of a conventional petrol engine in the Lagonda means more space. He said the Lagonda offers the interior space of a Rolls-Royce Phantom in a car the size of a smaller Rolls-Royce Ghost, noting: ’If Rolls-Royce is a Boeing 777, then Lagonda will be Concorde. It doesn’t need a big grille.’
The re-birth of Lagonda marks a remarkable revival for a once pioneering luxury car brand founded 114 years ago by anglo-american engineer Wilbur Gunn in a greenhouse in Staines, Middlesex, but which has languished half-forgotten for two decades.
If the Lagonda range will go head-to-head with Rolls-Royce and its latest 8th-generation Phantom (left). Aston Martin will also be looking to grab customers from Bentley, especially the popular Mulsanne (pictured right)
The svelte and angular Vision Concept limousine measures in at almost 5.5 metres long, which is just a shade shorter than the latest Rolls-Royce Phatom
Because there’s no engine, there’s much more interior space than you’d find in the conventional limos you can buy today
Because the sleek new Lagonda has no conventional engine, does not need a bonnet or grille, and has a flat floor, it can be far shorter and lower than traditional limousines – yet still has room inside for four 6ft6 adults to stretch out in luxurious comfort.
It allowed Aston Martin chief designer Marek Reichman to create a radical aerodynamic wedge shaped vehicle that’s almost five and a half metres long – just 27cm shorter than the latest Rolls-Royce Phantom.
Reichman said: ‘It offers its customers a thoroughly modern, emission-free form of super-luxurious mobility.’
The design echoes the revolutionary shape of an earlier Lagonda, designed by William Towns, of which 645 were built between 1976 and 1989.
Curiously, it also bears a passing resemblance to the Pink Panther’s Panthermobile, which appeared at the start of the cartoon character’s TV series in the 1970s.
The design is said to echo the silouhette of earlier Lagonda, designed by William Towns, of which 645 were built between 1976 and 1989
Daily Mail Motoring Editor Ray Massey said the car bears a passing resemblance to the Pink Panther’s Panthermobile
These pictures suggest there is quite a bit of similarity between the new £300,000 Lagonda and the car that appeared at the start of the cartoon character’s TV series in the 1970s
The Lagonda is expected to have a top speed restricted to 155mph but lightning fast acceleration of 0-60mph in under four seconds when required.
There are plans for induction charging, so the owner – or his or her chauffeur – does not have to plug the car in, but simply drives it over an induction plate, from which the car draws the power through the ether, as happens with many mobile phones.
The new Lagondas will be built at Aston Martin’s new factory at St Athan as part of the firm’s ambitious plans to boost total production from just over 5,000 to 14,000 vehicles a year within four years.
Half of these will be sports cars built at its boutique factory in Gaydon, the other half split between an Aston Martin DBX SUV and around 2,000 Lagonda luxury limousines built at the firm’s new factory at St Athan in Wales which opens next year.
Aston Martin says the car will have fully autonomous driving technology and the steering wheel will retract when you’re being chauffeured by the vehicle itself
The two rear seats fully recline. The armchair style makes them look like they’ve been grabbed from a plush living room
The Lagonda is expected to have a top speed restricted to 155mph but lightning fast acceleration of 0-60mph in under four seconds when required
The interior was created in conjunction with English furniture designer David Linley who blended ultra modern materials like carbon fibre and ceramics with cashmeres and silks to create a cabin that ‘surprises, shocks and fascinates’, including silk carpets, hand woven wool upholstery, carbon fibre trim and functional ceramic tiles that open and close to alter the ventilation and adjust the volume of the music.
The rear hinged back doors don’t just open outwards, but a section of the roof also opens upwards to allow easier access to and exit from the car.
Design chief Reichman said: ’Occupants can literally stand up inside and walk out of the car, or step straight into it.’
It makes it the perfect car for red-carpet appearances to save any celebrity the blushes of revealing photos snapped on arrival to premiers, award ceremonies and flashy events.
The shape is intended to mimic the Lagonda built from 1976 to 1989. Here it is pictured with Alan Curtis, managing director of Aston Martin at the time
The Lagonda Vision Concept has rear hinged back doors that don’t just open outwards – a section of the roof also opens upwards to allow easier access to and exit from the car
Passengers can stand up fully when getting in and out of the car, meaning no revealing red-carpet photos while trying to elegantly exit your flash vehicle
LAGONDA VISION CONCEPT: WILL IT FIT IN MY GARAGE?
Price: Around £300,000
Propulsion: Pure electric motor
Power: High energy solid state batteries. Emissions: Zero
Range: 400 miles – London to Edinburgh or Las Angeles to San Fransisco.
Charging: Induction charging
Top speed: restricted to 155mph
Acceleration 0-60mph: under four seconds ‘when required’
– Prepared for autonomous driving
– Moveable and retractable steering wheel
– Armchair-style front seats can swivel 180 degrees
– Interior designed in conjunction with English furniture designer David Linley blending carbon fibre and ceramics with cashmeres and silks
– Rear hinged back doors open outwards and section of the roof also opens upwards to allow easier access to and exit from the car
Dr Palmer said: ‘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.’
He added: ‘If Wilbur Gunn were alive today he would be amazed by the possibilities that advances in technology has opened up which were scarcely imaginable, even a decade ago.
‘That’s why we are reintroducing the Lagonda marque, to revive that restless, creative spirit that was always asking, why not? Only instead of Gunn’s greenhouse, we’re using the machines and minds of one of the world’s most creative automotive businesses.‘
There are plans for induction charging, so the owner – or his or her chauffeur – does not have to plug the car in, but simply drives it over an induction plate, from which the car draws the power through the ether
The flat floor means passengers will get to utilise almost all of the 2.1 metres of width, which is wider than any Rolls-Royce
When the first revived Lagonda does arrive in 2021, expect it to be priced from around £300,000
It came as Aston Martin took the wraps off the ultimate version of its 225 mph hypercar as it gave the world debut of its Valkyrie AMR Pro – for use only on the track.
Just 25 are being built with first deliveries commencing in 2020.
The bad news, even if you’ve got the estimated £2million to £3million to buy one, is that they’ve all been sold already.
THE HISTORY OF THE LAGONDA NAME
John Stuart Hindmarsh and Luis Fontes won the 1935 Le Mans 24 Hours race in a Lagonda. Here they are celebrating the victory in the Lagonda M45R Rapide
Lagonda was founded in 1904 by Anglo-American engineer and entrepreneur Wilbur Gunn in a greenhouse at his home in Staines, West London.
The man whose talents stretched from opera singing to riverboat building named his company after the Lagonda Creek river that ran through the town of Springfield in his native Ohio.
Renowned for their innovation, his 16/18hp model that won the Moscow to St Petersburg trial in 1910 featured engineering that was decades ahead of its time.
In its 1930s heyday Lagonda produced V12-powered limousines fit for royalty, and sports cars strong and quick enough to win Le Mans, as one in 1935.
Lagonda was bought by Aston Martin in 1947 for £52,500 but, after the dramatic Aston Martin Lagonda of the 1980s and 1990s, fell from view – until now.
CARS & MOTORING: ON TEST