When Porsche created the Cayenne there was a massive uproar from the Porsche faithful. They found this new SUV to an abomination of what a proper Porsche, a 911 in their minds, should be. Yet, despite all the hate, the Cayenne was a huge success.
British supercar maker Aston Martin are looking to follow suit with their new Lagonda, which was just a concept a few days ago, but now seems as if it’s headed for the production line. Despite the fact that most Astons are gorgeous vehicles, the Lagonda just isn’t. We thought the first generation Cayenne was bad, but the concept version of Aston’s SUV was like looking at a pile of sick with an Aston Martin badge on top.
Not to mention the fact that Aston have recently announced the Cygnet, a small city car aimed at helping the company bring down its fuel economy numbers. So, on top of that, a new SUV might cause a riot among Aston’s largest following.
UPDATE 07/12/2012: Back in May, we reported that despite previous rumors, Aston Martin still wanted to offer a production version of the Lagonda SUV revealed as a concept back in 2009. Aston Martin reconsidered its decision because it’s trying to enter markets, like China, where large models are a must. That, and because of the market’s positive reaction to Bentley’s EXP 9 F concept.
Now, Aston Martin is offering new details on the upcoming SUV. The production version will be built on a Mercedes GL-Class platform and the top version will be offered with a 6.0 liter V12 engine. However, Aston Martin announced that it also plans to offer a hybrid and a diesel version for clients with a particular interest for the environment.
The company is still deciding if the new model will be sold as an Aston Martin or if they will revive the legendary Lagonda name. Either way, the SUV will have plenty of competitors on the market, including the two SUVs from Lamborghini and Bentley.
A final decision will be made in the upcoming months and a production version is set to be unveiled by 2016.
Hit the jump to learn a little more about the Lagonda.
Exterior and Interior
As we’ve already said, this Aston doesn’t follow the long line of gorgeous cars, as the Lagonda is quite hideous. It’s bulky, retro-styled, and features a grille that makes Audi’s look small in comparison. Yet, Aston seems to think it looks fine.
“The Lagonda is the luxury car of the future,” says Aston Martin Lagonda Chief Executive, Dr Ulrich Bez, “a combination of total usability, a new form and innovative new technology and materials.”
If this is the luxury car of the future, we just don’t want to be a part of the future, even though this car was designed not to be futuristic, but to be retro. Styling inspiration is said to come from the elegant LG6 Lagondas of the 1930s in the form of the roofline, bustle rear-end, and front-end graphics, we’re not so sure about that. The concept is brutal and blocky and was universally loathed by everybody who has happened to see it.
Not much is known about the interior of the Lagonda, but we would have thought it would take after some of the other Aston products. Not so. This interior is widely different than anything we have seen before. The interior is configured so that the rear seats are more like those in a private jet, with the front seats being more driver-focused.
There appears to be two stacks on the dash, one on the top and one on the bottom that will hold the infotainment system. There are very few buttons on the system itself, as it will most likely be a touch screen with voice activation.
The seats are very interesting to say the least. They appear normal in most aspects, but there appears to be that cardboard cup holder that you get at fast food restaurants around the headrests in the rear. We’re not sure we like it at all.
Aston envisions the Lagonda as a long-distance cruiser that offers its occupants a lavish, functional, and tech-rich environment. We’re not so sure.
There are rumors – and we hope they are true – that the production Lagonda will be redesigned inside and out. For the company’s sake and for the sake of our eyes, we hope that is the case.
Although Aston says the Lagonda concept isn’t an SUV, it is built off Mercedes-Benz GL-class underpinnings, with a 5.9-liter V-12 Aston engine driving all four wheels of the concept. This is probably the same motor that you’d find in the DB9.
What makes the underpinnings so special is the fact that you can plop any kind of engine you please into the car. The Lagonda Concept will have a wide choice of powertrains, ranging from frugal diesel to a thundering Aston V12, and, soon, a two-mode hybrid. As you can see, the Lagonda might be fairly capable off-road with so many different motors to choose from.
The Lagonda Concept is not an upscale SUV. It is a luxury car that is capable on rough roads and that makes perfect sense when Aston explains that the key markets the car are Russia, China, India, the Middle East, South America. All of these regions have vastly underdeveloped or poorly maintained roads and a fast-growing love for ultra-luxury cars and SUVs.
We expect this Aston to pack a large motor, such as the normal V12, but we also think that there might be a diesel, as well as a hybrid version in the future, as Aston needs to keep its emissions down because of EU regulations.
There isn’t a whole lot of competition for the Lagonda, as not much will be in the same price range. Ferrari and Lamborghini have no interest in the SUV world, so that leaves Porsche and possibly Range Rover.
The Cayenne has been around for quite some time now and although it was ugly at the start, the new version is much better. The new Cayenne will have a 3.6L V6 engine producing 300 hp as the base motor, while the Cayenne S will receive the same 4.8L V8 in the Panamera S models producing 400 hp and the Cayenne Turbo will receive the Panamera Turbo’s 4.8L twin-turbo V8 producing 500 hp.
Recently, Porsche announced a hybrid version of the Cayenne and it will use an Audi-sourced 3.0L V6 engine producing 333 hp and pair it with an lithium ion battery capable of 47 hp for a total of 380 hp.
The Range Rover, although we suspect will be much further down in price from the Aston, still offers that luxury SUV mentality. Aston themselves have described the Lagonda as being a more luxurious Range Rover.
There are three motors that Range Rover offers: a diesel, a supercharged V8 and a naturally aspired V8 in the HSE. Each of these motors offers plenty of power, but nothing near the V12 power that the Aston has. So far, we think that a Range Rover hybrid will coming in 2013.
Wide range of engine options