Looks like the BMW X6 Sports Activity Coupe (SAC) has started a trend.
At the Shanghai Geneva Motor Show today, Aston Martin took the wraps off of a new vehicle bearing the Lagonda nameplate to mark the 100th anniversary of the oft forgotten brand.
While the vehicle looks like a Chinese knock-off of a Bentley Conti GT, a Chrysler 300, the Land Rover LRX concept, and an AM Rapide it is supposed to be a Lagonda. Aston Martin is trying to postition the Langonda brand as a less-sporty, more luxurious marque that will appeal to the wealthy elite in established and emerging markets. Currently, Aston is only sold in 34 countries but CEO Dr. Bez hopes to offer Lagonda in over 100.
Most people had expected a luxury sedan to be announced at the Geneva Show after weeks of rumours flying about a rebirth of Lagonda. But for whatever reason, Aston Martin decided that a politically-incorrect, four-seater, ”off-roader” with no trunk space was more appropriate. To each there own.
Yesterday, I went against the grain by highlighting the (admittedly minor) design flaws of the Infiniti Essence concept while everyone else was going goo-goo-ga-ga over it. Today, I’m going to go against the grain again and try to point out some of the successful design elements of this embarrassment to the badge SUV/CUV/SAV/SAC.
The last time we saw a Lagonda it was 1989. At the time, the wedge-shaped sedan was overweight, unreliable, overly complex and not terribly attractive compared to the Astons of its era. So on second thought, maybe this new concept isn’t as much of a degredation to the brand name. Still, it’s an unfortunate design for a company that is usually praised for its aesthetic appeal.
Either way, here’s my opinion on the highlights of the design. First off, I think the headlights are quite attractive in the way that they lead to the Aston-like fender vents and the whole character line created by the stretched-back design is quite attractive.
As a fan of the Land Rover LRX concept, I can see a similar greenhouse profile. The steeply raked windshield might make it difficult to see out of and never make it to production, but it is pleasantly striking on the Lagonda concept.
While the large, upright grille may appear to be a rip-off of the Chrysler 300, it is attractive in its functionality. What function could something so large serve? Cooling of the under-hood V12 for starters, but also the ability to hit poor people without breaking too many of their malnourished and osteoperitic bones.
Lastly, the taillights look like they could have been the work of Peter Schreyer. Yes, they’re so attractive that they are befitting a Kia.
Although many may critisize the choice of producing a 4WD CUV/SAC/SUV/SAV, Russian oil barons and Chinese sweatshop owners are surely delighted at the prospect of a high-end vehicle they can use year ’round. Especially if it will help to differentiate them from the simpleton Cayenne and X6 owners. Perhaps Aston Martin and Lagonda haven’t made as much of a mistake as the automotive media would have you believe.