Aston Martin is in Geneva, and it came out swinging.
Aston Martin has announced the launch of a separate brand, Lagonda, and it's celebrating that announcement with the introduction of the Lagonda Vision Concept. Lagonda might be an old name, but it has a 21st century purpose -- it will build emissions-free luxury vehicles, with production slated to begin in 2021.
"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," said Dr. Andy Palmer, president and CEO of Aston Martin, in a statement. "Lagonda exists to challenge that thinking and prove that being modern and luxurious are not mutually exclusive concepts." Aston Martin refers to Lagonda as the "world's first zero-emission luxury brand," which I'm sure Tesla will appreciate reading.
It's quite the aspiration, and the Vision Concept reflects that. It's a low, long sedan with suicide doors and an additional set of gullwings over the rear doors that allow you to basically walk into the car. The swept rear end pays homage to the Lagonda of old, while the front end is positively futuristic. My favorite touch is the front glass, which extends far beyond most windshields and gives the cabin an open and airy feeling.
Speaking of the cabin, it's an exercise in building a luxury cabin with autonomy in mind. Occupants will have a choice between autonomous and traditional driving, with seats that can point either forward or rearward, turning the interior into more of a fancy office. There's only space for four, but all four occupants have tons of space to lounge about. The steering wheel is collapsible, but what's most notable is that the wheel can move from left to right, so drivers can operate the vehicle from either side.
The seats look like they belong in a CEO's office. The door panels have more curves than entire modern vehicles. The carpet is made of silk, and the upholstery is hand-woven wool. It's utterly impressive, which it should be, because it's got the power of Aston Martin behind it.
Since Lagonda is a zero-emission automaker, the Vision Concept packs an electric drivetrain with solid-state batteries that permit a range of 400 miles. Wireless charging capability is built in, too. It's worth noting that this is a concept, and as such, the powertrain may only exist on paper for now, but odds are Aston Martin is hard at work preparing this kind of tech for a real-world debut in a production vehicle.