We first caught glimpse of the upcoming new Lagonda a few months ago when it was spotted undergoing testing, and Aston released preliminary details and a couple of teaser images just last month. But now it's shipping the first example for testing to the Sultanate of Oman on the Persian Gulf coast, and it has evidently allowed Oman Air and the Aston Martin Oman dealership to release a handful of photos.
What we can see is a pretty handsome sedan that borrows stylistically from the original Aston Martin Zagato sedan that shocked the world in the mid-'70s, not to mention cues from the Zagato Centennial concepts revealed last year. It's possible this is Aston's new design direction, a bid to finally take it away from the gorgeous but overfamiliar styling of its current crop. The fresh look is more squared off, with narrower head- and taillights. It's also possible, of course, that this new look will remain specific to future Zagato-branded vehicles. Look close enough and you'll notice that the handsome sedan is wearing the Lagonda badge, not those of Aston Martin.
Date: 25 August 2014
World class luxury airline Oman Air is today, [TBC], proud to announce a key partnership with globally renowned British car manufacturer Aston Martin which sees the Middle Eastern carrier bring the marque's yet-to-be-launched Lagonda to Muscat as part of its early testing programme.
Reviving the iconic Lagonda name from Aston Martin's renowned heritage, the brand new car is a top-of-the-range, luxury four-door super-saloon which has been designed exclusively for the Middle East market – and Oman's awe-inspiring mountains, deserts and state-of-the-art road network are providing the perfect backdrop for essential summer heat testing.
Oman Air's General Manager Marketing, Mohammed Al Shikely, announced the partnership, saying:
"Oman Air has developed an enviable global reputation as a luxury airline that offers innovation and the highest quality in every aspect of its operations, so we are the perfect partner to assist Aston Martin in heat-testing its stunning new Lagonda. Furthermore, our highly professional cargo division offers all the expertise needed to deliver the car from its factory in the UK to Oman, and back again in perfect condition once the testing has been completed.
"And once the Lagonda begins its testing programme, Oman's landscapes, autumn heat and superbly-maintained highways will enable Aston Martin's engineers to really put the car through its paces.
"We are delighted to be working with Aston Martin on this project and look forward to seeing the Lagonda snapped up by the region's discerning drivers who I am sure will also be amazed by the exceptional beauty Oman, the testing ground of the Lagonda, offers them as a unique destination to visit."
Aston Martin says the car, which designer Marek Reichmann has created as 'exceptional automotive art', will only be produced in limited numbers and all purchases will be through invitation only for its Middle Eastern customers. The Lagonda will, therefore, be an unbelievably rare commodity.
The Lagonda's introduction to Oman not only builds on Oman Air's undisputed ability to safely transport highly valuable, precision-built freight, but also the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman's continuing sponsorship of Omani motorsports star Ahmad Al Harthy's Oman Racing Team, which races Aston Martins in the pan-European Blancpain Endurance Series and the Avon Tyres British GT Championship. Ahmad played a key role in introducing the Aston martin team to Oman.
Speaking in his role as ambassador for Oman Air, Al Harthy commented:
"We're absolutely delighted Aston Martin has selected Oman as the location for the summer heat test of the new Lagonda. It's an incredibly prestigious development for the country and everyone involved with Oman Air.
"There has been a huge amount of effort and hard work undertaken to help make this possible and I am thrilled to have played a role in that. For Muscat to be chosen by Aston Martin for this very important aspect of the new car's pre-launch testing is a real honour. It only goes to further enhance Oman's position as a growing hub for both business and pleasure."
Neil Slade, General Manager for Aston Martin in the region, continued:
"My sincere thanks go to the Oman Air team for bringing our latest flag ship to Oman. We are so proud to have the Lagonda here on the ground for the first time, and Oman is the ideal testing-ground for a car which has been specifically designed for customers in the Middle East. We are immensely proud of our ongoing partnership with Ahmad and the Oman Racing Team and are very happy to be working so closely with Oman Air, one of the team's key sponsors, and to be strengthening our relationship with the Sultanate"
Since Oman's 'Renaissance' began in 1970, the Sultanate has made major investments in its infrastructure, including the development of a high quality road network that offers access from the capital of Muscat to every corner of the country. In addition to a major highway that runs the full length of Oman, from Muscat to the Southern city of Salalah, the network links all the nation's major towns and cities. Smaller roads snake through the country's precipitous mountains, skirt the deserts of the Empty Quarter (Rub Al Khali) and the Sharqiya Sands and trace large sections of the country's pristine coastline, ensuring an unforgettable drive and a wonderful introduction to Oman's diverse topography for any driver.
Oman Air also provides an outstanding introduction to the Sultanate. Its growing fleet of luxuriously-appointed aircraft flies from the airline's home base of Muscat to 43 destinations, offering award-winning style, comfort and hospitality in each of its First, Business and Economy Class cabins. As the first airline in the world to offer complete mobile phone and Wi-Fi connectivity inflight, the airline continues to innovate and will soon be taking delivery of the first of six Boeing B787 Dreamliners, alongside a further three Airbus A330s and 15 Boeing B737s.