Lagonda tackles tough terrain
There was plenty to be seen at the Aston Martin Lagonda (AML) stand at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show—everything from Formula One cars, to mid-engined roadsters, to what the company is calling “the future of the luxury SUV.”
The latter refers to the Lagonda All-Terrain Concept, an evolution of the Vision Concept that was previewed 12 months earlier at the same venue. The latest Lagonda is the clearest indication of where AML sees its role in EVs, and Andy Palmer, President and CEO, confirmed that the St. Athan facility in Wales will become the company’s “home of electrification,” as it awaits the start of Lagonda production in 2022.
“St. Athan will also be the home of the Lagonda brand, as part of a project that will create 700 jobs,” he explained. “We want to be the first and only zero-emission luxury car company and disrupt a cozy duopoly that has existed for some time in that segment of the market, launching with an SUV because electric drive and SUVs are the two biggest growth areas of the automotive sector.”
When it comes to Lagonda, Palmer said he wanted it to be considered “a 120-year-old tech startup.” He described the interior of the All-Terrain Concept as a sanctuary and “more like a private jet” than the inside of a car. He also promised that the production version of the car would “confound traditional thinking and take full advantage of the latest advances in both electrification and autonomous driving technologies.”
Reinforcing the luxury message, the All-Terrain Concept’s design was likened to a super yacht. It’s a large vehicle, but manages to maintain an element of elegance while at the same time looking robust and almost intimidating. The prominent rear of the car features an integrated rear shelf, which typically is stowed away within the floor of the car. When it is deployed, the shelf offers an extra seating area for occupants to use, should they not wish to remain in the car when looking at specific sights or scenery. Another clever touch at the rear are thin light strips that hide the actual LEDs, but beam the light downwards and then reflected out. This clean, crisp design is another example of how the company is looking to make future cars look sleek, as well as purposeful.
Inside the All-Terrain Concept, many of the design elements from the Vision Concept have remained. There is still the option of rotating the two front seats to face the rear two during autonomous operation, but there is a greater expectation that the vehicle will be controlled by the driver during journeys.
The specifics of the technology or power units for the production version of the All-Terrain Concept were not forthcoming by AML, which, in some cases, illustrates how far from production the model is. However, there was confirmation that the battery pack would be stored in the floor. This layout would enable the rear-hinged doors at the back of the car, allowing the full effect of stepping into the luxury to be realized.