Aston Martin officially announced the revival of its sedan-building subsidiary Lagonda at the Geneva Motor Show yesterday, and to mark the occasion trotted out a concept version of what will likely be the brand's first car.
Unfortunately for purists, it's a honkingly-big SUV.
Aston CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez has high hopes for the Lagonda brand, with the resuscitated marque expected to eventually go on sale in over 100 foreign markets. That's a significant step up from the 30 or so markets that are currently serviced by Aston Martin, and with Lagonda being pitched as more volume-selling offshoot it could become a big money-spinner for Dr. Bez and his company.
But will buyers be lured into Lagonda showrooms by a gargantuan SUV? Aston Martin certainly thinks so and although the styling is certainly polarising, you can't accuse the as-yet-unnamed four-wheel-drive of not having enough presence.
The front end is imposingly sculpted, with a gaping chrome grille dominating the car's nose and wrap-around headlights smoothing off the corners. There's some clear Aston Martin influence in the shape of the bonnet and front fenders, but the Lagonda Concept bears a greater resemblence to an Imperial Stormtrooper than it does to an actual car.
The concept's rump sports an almost Bentley-eque quality, and the stepped boot makes the big SUV almost sedan-like in profile. Given it's possibly the first 4WD we've seen that is neither wagon nor ute, we're not quite so sure what to make of it.
Power is rumoured to be provided by a V12 engine, however Aston Martin says the Lagonda brand will also explore alternative-fuel powerplants such as diesel, flex-fuel and hybrids.
It's great that Aston Martin are taking action to diversify their offerings beyond sportscars and into something that's got a better chance of turning a decent profit, but is a luxury SUV the best way of doing it? We'd prefer it not to be, but then again Bentley has the British luxo-sedan market pretty much sewn up and the oft-criticised Cayenne did turn Porsche a tidy profit after it was released.
It appears the market will have to decide this one.