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Aston Martin’s bespoke super-saloon by Q branch (2014) spy shots

By Ben Pulman

Spy shots

08 May 2014 09:59

Could this be a new Aston Martin Lagonda super-saloon? It’s even more special than that: it’s a prototype for a new limited-run, bespoke commission by Aston Martin’s Q branch.

So Aston Martin isn’t about to relaunch the Lagonda brand with a Mercedes S-class rival?

Not yet, though talks are underway with Mercedes (with which Aston has a technical partnership) for the British brand to borrow the next-generation GL's platform to form the basis of a new SUV. However, you’ll like what this super-saloon is nonetheless. Aston Martin’s Q branch can paint or trim your Vanquish or V8 Vantage in whatever paint or leather you wish, but it’s also responsible for taking things a little, err, further…

In 2013 it built two CC100 Speedster concepts for a couple of über-wealthy clients, and this new super-saloon is its next work of art. It’s unclear whether Aston approached a select number of clients, or a customer commissioned Aston (and allowed a small production run to lower the tooling and other costs). Either way, no more than a small handful will be built, with the vehicle being officially unveiled later in 2014. And it may use the Lagonda name, as a sort of 'soft' relaunch of the Lagonda brand before that Merc-based SUV arrives...

What else do I need to know about this new Aston Martin super-saloon?

We know this mule has Aston Martin’s venerable 5.9-litre V12 beneath its long and low bonnet. In the Rapide S that engine produces 550bhp (15bhp down on the range-topping Vanquish, because it doesn’t have that car’s flat-valve airboxes) but as with the CC100, there’s scope for Aston to up it towards 600bhp.

The body panels are thought to be carbonfibre, like the CC100 and the latest Vanquish, but besides a few Aston hints (the vented bonnet and pop-out door handles) the overall styling is much sharper and aggressive than that of the Rapide. A bit like a Lagonda...

The wheelbase appears longer than that of the Rapide (on which this car is based) with crucial extra millimetres between the wheels to improve upon that car’s woeful rear-seat space.

What about some genuinely new Aston Martins?

Aston Martin recently signed a technical partnership with Daimler and its Mercedes-AMG division, which gives the British company access to Merc’s electronic and electric components, along with its AMG V8 engines, in exchange for handing the Germans a 5% stake in the company.

And in March 2014, Aston issued £100m of bonds, the proceeds of which will be used to develop new models. In an interview with the Financial Times, Andrea Bonomi, a senior partner with Investindustrial, the Italian private equity firm which owns 37.5% stake in Aston Martin, said: 'There is a renewed confidence that Aston is moving in the right direction. The board with the support of all shareholders has built a long-term coherent business plan that is proceeding.'

We hear a new DB9, appearing in 2016, will be the first new Aston model. The Lagonda-badged SUV will take a little longer...

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