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Friday, September 12, 2014

New Aston Martin Lagonda soaks up the heat, and a few million-dollar buyers


 @  Motoramic
Aston Martin Lagonda
                                                                                                                                                  Late last month, we brought you unofficial pictures of Aston Martin’s upcoming Lagonda supersedan, which were eagerly snapped and released by Aston’s transportation partner, Oman Air, to the embarrassment of the carmaker itself.
 Now, Aston Martin is releasing a more complete set of its own photos of the same car in the same country as it undergoes hot-weather testing. And it's dang near perfect.
The jet-black saloon is clearly longer than any current Aston Martin, with a stern visage consisting of a wide, horizontally vaned grille and LED headlamp innards. The hood is as flat as Kansas yet contains air extractors in roughly the same locations as Rapide S, leading us to believe that there is an engine similar to that car’s V-12, but likely with a bit more than that car’s 577 hp.

 Compared to the Rapide S, the profile is wedgy and upright, with a Kamm-back tail and slim taillamps. Like its sportier sibling—and all recent Astons, for that matter—all four of the Lagonda’s doors swing up at an angle. All told, the look is formal and debonaire, and particularly in black, borders on villainous. We expect to see this car in an upcoming James Bond film, though whether it’ll be driven by Mr. Bond or his nemesis remains to be seen.

Aston Martin Lagonda

There’s still a huge amount we don’t know about the car. How much power resides under the long hood? Does it use tried-and-true underpinnings from, say, the Rapide S or any other current Aston products, or does it utilize any components from the new, state-of-the-art architecture on which Aston will build its next-generation vehicle family?

How much of the body is carbon fiber or some other exotic material? Is the interior traditional, or like its Eighties-era predecessor, does it go insanely futuristic? And what manner of sybaritic decadence will spoil its lucky occupants?

That said, Aston Martin has told us a bit more than we knew before, including that this car is the first one built, and that it is a verification test car that’s about 5,000 miles into a grueling hot environment test cycle.

 It is “broadly representative of a production model” and is deliberately a “worst case scenario for heat – lots of black,” according to Aston Martin spokesman Matthew Clarke. The car features data loggers that monitor about 85 temperature sensors and provide the team with a heat map of the interior and exterior.

“Air conditioning functionality and efficiency is an obvious consideration but we’re also looking at engine hot starts, durability of components and material performance,” said Clarke.

 “One particular test is a ‘heat soak’ – the car is left in direct, peak sunlight for several hours to generate cabin trim surface temperatures of beyond 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

The hot weather testing protocol also involves putting 500 miles per day on the car in four weeks. Aston expects the car to accrue a total of 14,000 miles in Oman's heat of up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, barring any catastrophic mechanical failure, wreck, or if one of the engineers melts.

We have also learned in the meantime that Aston will build more copies of it than it built of the V12 Zagato, of which it made 150. But don’t expect more than 200 to be built. And all should be starting to make it into customers’ hands by this time next year.
And then there’s the ultimate question: how much will it cost? For most of the world, the answer doesn’t matter, since it is being offered exclusively to Aston Martin’s most valued customers in the Middle East. For those financially and geographically able to access this work of art, set aside at least $1 million.