It’s crazy, but feasible

These days every automaker has their eyes set on the future, and Aston Martin just showcased their vision of the ultra-luxurious, autonomous future with the Lagonda Vision Concept. Basically, a car designed with Bentley and Rolls-Royce customers in mind, the Lagonda offers a unique look inside and out with a few materials inside that you wouldn’t usually expect. It’s, naturally, all-electric because that is the future, and it even has a steering wheel for the ultra-wealthy that still like to grip the wheel from time to time. This model will never make it to production, but Aston says that its design language is a preview of the future and at least some of the DNA could make its way into production as soon as 2021.

The Aston Martin of the Future

Aston Martin Just Put Bentley and Rolls-Royce of the Future in Check with the Lagonda Vision Concept Exterior
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The Lagonda Concept represents a unique styling that we would never expect

As Aston Martin’s Vision for the future, the Lagonda Concept represents a unique styling that we would never expect. The car is long with no bonnet up front, and just enough of a nose to keep it aerodynamic. The rear has a sharp point that sits much higher the front, almost designed like a knife that cuts through the air. The front design has a fairly aggressive look to it with the massive (and unneeded) grille opening and the shaping of the fascia’s corners.

The A-Pillars are essentially one with the roof and the nose as they integrate seamlessly into the nose. The length of the vehicle allows for a massive greenhouse that’s almost the length of the car, which also leads to the pointed rear end that features few lines but integrates well with the rest of the vehicle. It’s almost like a sporty passenger pod – something other automakers haven’t quite mastered as of yet.

Aston Martin Just Put Bentley and Rolls-Royce of the Future in Check with the Lagonda Vision Concept Exterior
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The rear has a sharp point that sits much higher the front, almost designed like a knife that cuts through the air

All told, the exterior of the Aston Martin Lagonda is interesting but feasible. The interior, on the other hand, is something that’s way beyond anything you might expect from the Aston Martin brand. And, should even half of what is held inside makes it to the production line, brands like Rolls-Royce and Bentley should be worried because Aston Martin could get into the customer-poaching business quite easily.

The Aston Martin Lagonda’s Lavish Interior

Aston Martin Just Put Bentley and Rolls-Royce of the Future in Check with the Lagonda Vision Concept Interior
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The interior of the Lagonda Concept is pretty much made of dreams and unrealized desires.

The interior of the Lagonda Concept is pretty much made of dreams and unrealized desires. You’ll find materials like carbon fiber and ceramics, but you’ll also find cashmere and silks – that’s right, an automaker, for the first time in who knows how long, has gone old school with cashmere and silk. Should we rejoice or stare at it in confusion? We don’t know, but it’s pretty damn cool for the time being.

Just look at the carpeting and the seats. The seats are something suitable for no less than a Starfleet captain and, in fact, we’re pretty sure Captain Picard would be jealous. These seats are not only supportive but probably have more cushion and padding than the sofa in your living room right now. With a 2+2 layout, mixed with the excessively long cabin, you can’t exactly say that space comes at a premium – there’s plenty of it. The back seats even have pullout, full leg rests.

And, while this thing is essentially designed for those who want to be hauled around while the relax (please don’t conduct business in something this awesome, seriously,) it actually has a true-to-life steering wheel so that you can actually drive if you like. Even cooler is the fact that the wheel slides from left to right, so either front seat is actually a driver’s seat.

Aston Martin Just Put Bentley and Rolls-Royce of the Future in Check with the Lagonda Vision Concept Interior
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There’s a two-piece steering wheel, a long display screen with basic but necessary specs, and don’t forget about the touch-sensitive control panel between the two front seats.

And, my reference to Starfleet isn’t exactly without warrant, either. If you look at the little things, like the roof between the rear doors or the front of the cabin where the steering wheel and main control center reside, this thing looks every bit the part of a space shuttle. There’s a two-piece steering wheel, a long display screen with basic but necessary specs, and don’t forget about the touch-sensitive control panel between the two front seats.

Needless to say, this wouldn’t be a bad place to spend time whether you were driving or riding on a short or long trip. In fact, I kind of want to sit in it right now, don’t you?

Final Thought

Aston Martin Just Put Bentley and Rolls-Royce of the Future in Check with the Lagonda Vision Concept Exterior
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In the end, the Lagonda Concept is futuristic as hell, but some things could make it into production

In the end, the Lagonda Concept is futuristic as hell, but some things could make it into production. Even ingress and egress has been carefully thought out with the rear doors being hinged at the rear and the roof opening upward, so you can walk right in or out without stooping. It clearly has the aerodynamics to facilitate efficient battery life, and all the creature comforts you could want for carefree ride. You probably won’t see the Lagonda hit the production line ever, but that doesn’t mean a good chunk of its DNA won’t be seen here and there. After all, Aston Martin did say that some parts of this concept could be seen on production cars as soon as 2021. I don’t know about you, but that’s certainly a future we can look forward to.


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Press release

Aston Martin is proud to present Lagonda Vision Concept, marking the beginning of a new range of state of the art, emission-free luxury vehicles. Production is planned to start in 2021.

Lagonda aims to be the world’s first zero emission luxury brand. It will confound traditional thinking and take full advantage of the latest advances in electrification and autonomous driving technologies, which amount to the biggest revolution in land-bound transportation since the invention of the car.

Lagonda will show how true luxury and modern design, far from being diametrically opposed interests, can exist in total harmony and enhance each other’s most desirable characteristics.

‘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,’ commented Aston Martin President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr Andy Palmer. ‘Lagonda exists to challenge that thinking and prove that being modern and luxurious are not mutually exclusive concepts.’

Lagonda ‘Vision Concept’

The Lagonda ‘Vision Concept’ is a near future study that previews the design language that could potentially be seen in production Lagonda models as soon as 2021. Alongside the new concept, two 40 per cent scale models will be displayed, one coupe concept and one SUV concept, to illustrate how the Lagonda design language could be adapted for the future.

‘The Lagonda Vision Concept is an incredibly bold design statement,’ said Aston Martin EVP and Chief Creative Officer, Marek Reichman. ‘The electrification revolution means there is no longer any need for horse and carriage design, and 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.’

The Vision Concept showcases Lagonda design ingenuity. Both far shorter and lower than traditional limousines, the exceptional space efficiency that has been achieved by its radical design means there is room inside for four adults, each of two metres height or more, to stretch out in luxurious comfort.

‘Lagonda has no need to occupy a huge amount of road space or make an ostentatious wealth statement,’ continues Reichman. ‘It is like comparing Concorde to the first class cabin of a conventional airliner. By ditching traditional architecture like Parthenon grilles and massive frontal areas, and by using electrical power, Lagonda design can still be distinctive and luxurious without being grandiose. It offers its customers a thoroughly modern, emission-free form of super-luxurious mobility.’

Far more than any orthodox design, the Lagonda Vision Concept was designed from the inside out because that is what the architecture allows. With no need to package a vast internal combustion engine, gearbox and transmission, Lagonda’s designers could optimise the interior down to the smallest detail and then build up the exterior of the car around it.

The Lagonda Vision Concept doesn’t have a bonnet because one is not required. But it still needs to travel through the air and to do so as efficiently as possible to preserve battery life, which is why its shape is so sleek and dynamic. ‘The shape of the Lagonda Vision Concept is the result of satisfying a number of different requirements,’ says Reichman. ‘The need to make a bold design statement, to establish Lagonda as a company of the future and to show how technological advancement can help liberate design too. So while Aston Martin design language can be seen as organic and natural, that of Lagonda is more sculptural, shocking and challenging. It is a shape formed by the collision of invisible forces, like those made by magnetic particles in an electrical current. The secret is to understand how to connect that shock and change to beautiful surfacing.’

For the interior Reichman and his team took further delight in defying convention, turning to the most traditional of households for the most visionary thinking. ‘How do you create a cabin that is at once unlike any other, capable of achieving a new level of luxury both in look and feel while staying true to Lagonda’s forward thinking vision? For me there was only one man for the job.’ The work of renowned British craftsman David Snowdon, has fascinated Reichman for years. His ability to marry materials, some very modern, others very established in ways that are never predictable held the key to the interior of the Lagonda Vision Concept.

‘When we first started working with David we showed him all these ideas we’d had for marquetry and leather on the inside and he said, “Let’s use different materials, materials people won’t expect even in isolation, let alone together.” Which is why the interior of the Lagonda Vision Concept uses not only ultra modern materials like carbon fibre and ceramics but also some of the oldest and finest that of late have rarely been used in the automotive sphere, like cashmeres and silks.’ The result is a cabin that surprises, shocks and fascinates, where silk carpets and hand woven wool upholstery live in perfect harmony with carbon fibre trim and functional ceramic tiles that open and close to alter the ventilation and adjust the volume of the music.

As well as working with David Linley, Marek enlisted the support of Savile Row tailors, Henry Poole for their expert knowledge in tailoring luxury materials. When the decision was made to use hand woven wool the master tailors of Henry Poole were able to assist in creating the patterns, cutting the material and the detailed finishing to ensure that a perfectly trimmed seat was achieved on the Lagonda ‘Vision Concept’.

Its design also means a new level of convenience and ease of use can be delivered. Because the majority of the car’s structural strength comes through its floor, it has been possible to use apertures in the body far larger than would be wise in conventional cars. As a result, the rear hinged back doors don’t just open outwards, the roof sections also open upwards to provide unprecedented ease of access. Occupants can therefore literally stand up inside and walk out of the car, or step straight into it. Similarly, the front seats are not mounted on conventional runners which always interfere with where those in the back would like to place their feet, but instead sit on cantilevered arms extending from the floor outside the seat frame providing a completely uncluttered floor area. And the seats are more like armchairs, with heavily bolstered arms because, given the choice people always use arms to lower and raise themselves from chairs.

The Lagonda Vision Concept also anticipates a world with a high level of autonomy. Its design is commensurate with level four autonomous driving, meaning the car is capable of driving itself in all routine circumstances and on all recognisable roads. As a result, the steering wheel can not only move from left to right hand drive according to need, in autonomous mode it can also retract entirely allowing front seat passengers to rotate through 180 degrees to engage in face to face conversation with those in the back. In the meantime, the car will not only have 360-degree awareness of the world around it, but also be fully connected to it, allowing occupants unprecedented access to bespoke concierge services and a level of connectivity and cyber-security few enjoy in their own homes, let along their cars.

‘For owners of true luxury cars, autonomy has existed for over a century, in a carbon-based form called a chauffeur,’ commented Palmer. ‘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.’

The Lagonda Vision Concept has been configured to accept powerful solid state electric batteries enabling it to cover up to 400 real world miles between charges. That’s the distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco, London to Edinburgh or Berlin to Vienna without stopping. The concept has also has been designed to be compatible with the latest wireless conductive charging technology.

The car itself makes full use of Aston Martin’s world leading experience in multi-material bonding techniques, creating a structure that it at once supremely light for an all-electric luxury car, structurally stiff and, as we have seen incredibly space efficient. It will also make the most of its electric drive system to provide intelligent all-wheel drive, capable of delivering anything from 100 to zero per cent of available torque to any given wheel according to demand.

Lagonda: The Wonder of Travel

The Lagonda Vision Concept provides the first clues to the Lagonda models of the future. It embodies the vision to be a standalone marque that will break through long-standing boundaries and transform the way people perceive luxury transport. And as with the concept, this will be done through the use of cutting edge design, creating technologically radical, visually spectacular, thoroughly modern and ultra-luxurious vehicles that will overturn conventional thinking. Lagonda’s ambitions go beyond automotive, it is a luxury brand currently operating in the automotive sphere which can go anywhere and do anything that is consistent with the values of the brand.

Just like the Lagonda Vision Concept, production Lagonda models will not just be supremely spacious, cossetting and exquisitely appointed, but also bold and forward thinking, bristling with creativity and innovation from the way they are designed to the engineering they contain. They will prove that the old conflicts – those between high performance and zero emissions, technological sophistication and the purest luxury are conflicts no more. Lagonda believes the increase in new automotive technologies from efficient electrification to autonomous driving provides a unique opportunity for a new brand bearing one of the greatest names in motoring to rewrite a rulebook that has been allowed to stagnate for too long.

‘Ever since the start of the 20th century when petrol beat electricity and steam to become the fuel of the future, the evolution of the automobile has followed a continuous line both long and straight,’ commented Palmer. ‘No longer. A world of technological opportunity has now opened up, a world where those with the imagination, courage and determination to take a new path will thrive. With Lagonda we have the creativity, drive and the brand to make the most of this unique opportunity. We also have a clean canvas on which to realise our ambitions.’

Lagonda will use emergent technologies not to isolate their occupants from the experience of travel as do others, but to immerse them in its magic, enabling a whole new generation of enthusiasts and connoisseurs to rediscover the long lost joy of the journey. Once more the simple thrill of travel will become the justification for the journey, and no longer merely a means of reaching a destination.

‘There are some excellent products in the luxury car market today, but they are tied by their brands to traditional design execution,’ says Palmer. ‘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.’

Above all Lagonda will remain faithful to the forward thinking, ever adventurous spirit of Wilbur Gunn, the Anglo-American engineer and entrepreneur who founded Lagonda in a greenhouse at his home in Staines to the west of London in 1904. A man whose talents stretched from opera singing to riverboat building, he named his company after the Lagonda Creek river that ran through the town of Springfield in his native Ohio. His cars were always innovative: for example, the 16/18hp model that won the Moscow to St Petersburg trial in 1910 boasted not only trailing arm rear suspension but a form of monocoque construction, decades before its advantages were realised by the bulk of the world’s car manufacturers. He succeeded because he refused to accept that the current way was the only way. Lagonda went on to become not only one of the most coveted car brands in the world, but among the most versatile too. In its 1930s heyday Lagonda was capable of producing V12-powered limousines fit for royalty, and sports cars strong and quick enough to win Le Mans, which one duly did in 1935. Bought by Aston Martin in 1947, Lagonda continued to innovate, never more so than with the extraordinary Aston Martin Lagonda of the 1980s and 1990s, to this day one of the most audacious and strikingly styled cars ever designed.

Modern Lagonda products will be inspired by these pioneering designs and, like them, steadfast in their focus on the future. ‘We see no limits for Lagonda,’ says Palmer, ‘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 car has been the greatest liberating force humankind has invented, and at the time the journey was as important as the destination. All that has been lost over the last 100 years. Wherever you are in a Lagonda, whatever the journey and whichever seat you occupy, it will re-introduce you to the wonder of travel.’

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