DBX set for bestselling status. Aston confirms name of all-new SUV with credible off-road ability; on sale next year…
Aston Martin has confirmed that its first-ever SUV model will be called DBX and launch before the end of next year. The DBX was first previewed as a concept car in 2015 but had been tipped to take another name for production, with Varekai one of the rumoured possibilities. Unlike the concept, the production DBX will feature a more conventional five-door layout rather than a sleeker three-door design.
The DBX is arguably the most important model in Aston Martin’s history and the next phase of the company’s turnaround plan under boss Andy Palmer. While every Aston produced under Palmer to date as part of his ‘Second Century’ plan has been a replacement for an existing model (DB11, Vantage and DBS Superleggera), the DBX breaks new ground by having no direct predecessor.
As well as being the first Aston SUV, it is also the first Aston to be produced in a new purpose-built factory in St Athan, Wales (see separate story, right). During its life cycle, it will introduce hybrid technology to Aston, and it will also play a key role in trying to attract female buyers to the Aston Martin brand. Additionally, given the broad appeal and rise in popularity of SUVs, the DBX is expected to quickly become Aston’s bestselling model.
Aston has released images of the DBX undergoing testing on the gravel stages of the Wales Rally GB, for the first time giving hints of the final production car’s design. There’s little left of the DBX concept in the camouflaged test mule, although the sleek silhouette does remain, albeit with an extra pair of doors. Sharp body creases and a pronounced shoulder line help reduce the overall visual bulk on what is the most high-sided Aston yet produced, while a new integrated grille design performs a similar role at the front of the car.
Aston Martin is already talking up the DBX’s all-terrain capabilities, which are revealed in these official testing images with the company’s chief engineer Matt Becker at the wheel. The DBX is the first Aston Martin to go through a new dedicated test programme, to ensure it can produce the kind of dynamic on-road performance on which Aston has always made its name, allied to some credibility off-road. Testing is also due to take place in the Arctic, the deserts of the Middle East, on German autobahns and at the Nürburgring, as well as both on and off-road in the UK.
The DBX is built on an Aston Martin architecture that will be closely related to that set to be used by the Lagonda saloon and SUV that Aston also has in the pipeline and which will be built alongside the DBX in Wales from 2021. Whereas the Lagonda models will be electrically driven, however, the DBX will start life with petrol power, before getting Mercedes-sourced hybrid technology early in the next decade. Aston Martin’s own V12 and Mercedes-AMG’s V8 engines will both find their way into the DBX, with Mercedes also donating the car’s electrical architecture.
The DBX will undergo off-road testing in the UK and abroad. Aston’s SUV will share its architecture with forthcoming Lagondas.