Aston Martin has issued these first official photographs of the Lagonda super-saloon hot weather testing in Oman.
It’s a strange way to showcase this new sporting limousine, but we’re not complaining: it’s an intriguing glimpse of the new four-door created just for the Middle Eastern markets in a limited run, just like the One-77.
If follows on from our earlier story featuring the Lagonda in transit to Oman.
Lagonda saloon: it looks like a Rapide Plus!
This is the biggest design change under the spell of styling chief Marek Reichman. The Lagonda is at once fresh and different, and yet has strong overtones of Aston Martin Rapide and, indeed, the original 1976 William Towers-designed Lagonda.
The face is a markedly fresh approach for Aston, the grille being reprofiled and wrapping around the slimline headlamps.
It’s unusual to see a Lagonda badge in place of the winged Aston emblem. Note also the cooling vents on the bonnet, piping air from the 6.0-litre V12 mounted in the aluminium intensive VH platform. Some of the Lagonda’s bodywork is carbonfibre.
The rear is equally radical, dominated by a slimline chrome strip running the full width of the car and narrow lamps. One of the - terribly staged - testing shots reveals four ‘swan-rise’ doors and an interior seemingly based on the Rapide’s but given a Lagonda spruce-up.
CAR magazine scooped the world exclusive first pictures of the Lagonda back in May 2014.
Why they’re testing in Oman
Gaydon reports that the Lagonda is ‘hot environmental testing’ in the region. The verification prototype (VP) model was shipped there last month and is expected to cover 14,000 miles in the next four weeks.
That’s around 500 miles a day, in temperatures ranging from 30-50deg C. The company says the VP has already covered more than 5000 miles ‘and is performing beyond expectations.’
Lagonda saloon (2015): hot stuff
The hot environment is why the Lagonda is painted black - it’s used to exacerbate heat soak. Aston engineers are leaving the car in scorching Oman sunlight for hours on end to send cabin temperatures soaring to 80deg C in the ultimate hot-weather testing cycle.
Why is the Lagonda only planned for sale in the Middle East from 2015? ‘Because we’ve had strong demand for it from the region,’ a spokeswoman told CAR. But surely there’d be clamours from China, the US and Europe too? ‘Never say never, but there are only plans currently to sell it in the Middle East.’
We wonder if homologation issues are preventing the global spread of Lagonda, but the official denied this was the case.
>> What do you think? Should the Lagonda be sold worldwide? Click ‘Add your comment’ and tell us