The Aston Martin DBX is a £160,000 SUV tasked with revitalising the company and upping Aston’s sales by two-thirds.
Aston Martin officially unveiled its new SUV, the DBX – designed to appeal and attract a potentially vital new customerbase. The five-seater, 4x4, powered by a 4.0-litre turbocharged AMG V8 producing 542bhp, will set you back £158,000 and more for options. It's on sale now.
The Aston SUV’s arrival is Aston fighting their way back into the market. Aston Martin was floated on the stock exchange a year ago and they've not had a great start, in fact one of the hardest debuts ever for a listed company, losing roughly three-quarters of its share capital. But now with evidence of the DBX – a model Aston specifically designed to sell by cashing in on the thriving luxury SUV market – some analysts have begun to advise stock in Aston Martin for growth, something Andy Palmer, Aston's CEO, always said would happen.
The DBX project has been in progress since 2015 including its factory in St Athan, Wales. Pototypes have been around in public for two years. Aston hopes to sell more than 4000 units per year. The DBX’s sporty-looking fastback shape is tasked with winning over new potential Aston Martin customers, with it's iconic ‘DB’ grille, squat, elegant haunches and thick, powerful rear.
The DBX is fashionably late to the premium sports SUV party: Porsche have been around for pretty much two decades. Lamborghini and Bentley have just turned up and even Ferrari are planning on making an appearance.
Aston Martin believes it can set itself apart from the rabble with a combo of an all-new bonded aluminium platform plus the fact the DBX’s structure is designed from the ground up and, for now anyway, shared with no other model. Porsche and Lamborghini are twins and share structures, for example. This gives the DBX some major upsides. Weight saving, to start off - the DBX’s 2245kg kerb isn't light by any means, but undercuts competition, some by as much as 400kg.
For now the DBX’s heart is an AMG-sourced 4.0-litre V8 with a high compression ratio and upgrades to the intercoolers and turbochargers lifting power to 542bhp at 6500rpm and peak torque to 516lb ft between 2200rpm and 5000rpm. This gives it supercar-worthy straight line performance figures, a 0-60mph dash of 4.3sec and a top speed of 181mph.
New powertrains on the horizon for Aston's new SUV, though Aston won’t give many details. A plug-in hybrid using knowledge from tech partner Daimler is most likely on the cards, and the company have also been dipping their toes into electric vehicles at St Athan with the limited-edition Rapide E saloon.
The smart all-wheel-drive system features electronically controlled centre and rear diffs distributing torque away from slipping wheels. During normal use the car is 100% rear driven, for high-speed handling reasons, but if the need arises just under 50% of torque can be given to the front wheels.
“The lateral grip numbers we’ve seen in testing on Tarmac have been incredible,” said Becker. “We believe we’ve pushed the boundaries of what is possible for an SUV.”
To enhance sportiness seats are taken from DB11 designs. There are also some pretty crazy optional extras, including a pet package featuring a portable dog washer and a snow package, which of course wouldn't be complete without boot warmers.
Each car gets personally inspected and endorsed by Andy Palmer, complete with a special photographic build book be signed by both Palmer and design boss Marek Reichman to drive home the fact that after over a century Aston Martin are now building a new type of car.
“DBX will give many people their first experience of Aston Martin ownership,” said Palmer. “It needs to be true to Aston Martin’s core values.”