New Aston Martin DBX snapped with no disguise
Upcoming SUV is an integral part of CEO Andy Palmer’s ‘Second Century’ strategy
The reveal of Aston Martin’s new DBX SUV appears to have been spoiled, with pictures of an undisguised car surfacing online several weeks ahead of the official unveiling.
The car, which is Aston’s first high-riding model, was papped during what looks like a promotional shoot by Spanish site Autopista. As expected, the design has significantly moved on from the concept, with a front-end inspired by the DB11 and details such as a tail-lights that curve up and across the tailgate.
Although the car in these images appears to be pink, the DBX in these photos is most likely red, and the effect is simply due to low quality photography.
Earlier this week Aston revealed the first shots of the DBX’s interior, although they didn’t reveal too much. It is clear, however, that the model’s leather interior will seek to embody the firm’s characteristic blend of comfort and opulence, with visible details including perforated leather seats, wood-finished interior door handles and headrests stitched with the Aston Martin emblem.
Aston Martin DB11
Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
One image also shows a portion of the car not clad in its now-familiar prototype camouflage, revealing that a chunky black plastic rear bumper will be available. Bootspace has now been confirmed as well, with the DBX’s 632-litre rear loadspace giving it a significant practicality advantage over its Bentley Bentayga rival.
The new range of accessories, available from the model’s launch, includes a number of separate options packs to suit the owner’s hobbies and pastimes. The Snow Pack, for example, contains a boot warmer, ski bag, roof-mounted ski rack and set of snow chains. The Pet Pack, meanwhile, brings a bumper protector, a portable washer and a cabin divider, while the more conventional Touring Pack comprises a tailored luggage set with first aid kit and under-seat locker.
Additional packages include the Essentials Pack, Event Pack, Interior Protection Pack and Expression Pack. Aston Martin says it has “worked with its trusted brand partners to ensure that it is offering the best solutions to customers, whatever the usage, journey or destination”.
The DBX’s interior was previously seen for the first time in September, as spy shots taken from the Nurburgring revealed elements of the SUV’s forward cabin. Although the interior was clearly unfinished, it shows that a mixture of Mercedes-sourced switchgear and technology will combine with elements of bespoke Aston trim.
First orders for the high-riding Aston were taken at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and it made its UK public dynamic debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July. A video released on Twitter by Aston CEO Andy Palmer gives a very quick glimpse of the car’s front end without any camouflage.
Aston Martin Lagonda’s most recent financial update revealed more details on the development timeline of the DBX, which is set to rival models such as the Bentley Bentayga Speed and Lamborghini Urus.
Aston started building pre-production versions of the new model at its new St Athan plant earlier this year, ahead of it going on sale in the first half of 2020. The company said it remains on track to begin series production at St Athan in the second quarter of 2020, which suggests first customer deliveries will follow in the second half of next year.
The new 90-acre factory in Wales, built on a former Ministry of Defence site, has been under development since 2016 and will be the sole production facility for the DBX. The electric models of the revived Lagonda brand will also be built there.
Ahead of the machine’s official launch later this year, Aston Martin previously issued images of the DBX sporting a camouflage livery reflecting its new Welsh home. The machine is currently undergoing final testing using pre-production versions.
A video published earlier in the year shows the DBX undergoing extreme weather testing in Sweden at Pirelli’s Flurheden proving ground, part of the two brands’ ongoing partnership.
Speaking about that test, Aston Martin chief engineer Matt Becker said: “Testing these prototypes in cold climate conditions helps us to assess the car’s early dynamics and, crucially, ensure confidence-inspiring sure-footedness on low-grip surfaces.
“This car propels Aston Martin into a new segment and our engineering team are enjoying the challenges of developing a quality luxury SUV experience through this robust testing schedule. Progress is on track and I am confident that we will deliver over and above what our customers would expect from an Aston Martin SUV.”
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 deserts of the Middle East, on German autobahns and at the Nürburgring.
Unlike the concept, the production DBX will feature a more conventional five-door layout rather than the sleeker three-door design that was originally expected.
The DBX is one of the most important models 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.
During its life cycle, the DBX 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.
The DBX is built on an Aston Martin architecture that will be closely related to that set to underpin the Lagonda saloon and Lagonda SUV, which Aston also has in the pipeline. The new Lagondas will be built alongside the DBX in Wales, starting from 2021.
However, whereas the Lagonda models will be electrically driven, 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 compete against the likes of the Lamborghini Urus, Bentley Bentayga, Rolls-Royce Cullinan and upcoming Ferrari SUV. Given the broad appeal and rise in popularity of SUVs, the DBX is expected to quickly become Aston’s best-selling model.
Sharp body creases and a pronounced shoulder line help reduce the overall visual bulk of 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.
It will also be the first all-new Aston Martin model launched after the company’s stock market flotation, after the firm returned to profitability last year. Since then the share price has plummeted, however, so it will be a crucial car to restore faith in the brand for investors.
Palmer has underpinned that growth with his so-called ‘Second Century’ plan, which is formed of seven models being launched over seven years at the rate of one per year, each then on sale for a seven-year model cycle with various derivatives and special-edition versions launched within that.
Daimler will provide Aston’s hybrid technology and is also one of two routes for sourcing full-electric drivetrains, according to Palmer, with other external partners also being explored.
Aston has sourced an 800V system for its first electric car, the limited-run RapidE due later this year, and Palmer said 800V and access to the latest chemistry is key to any future EV powertrain from the firm. Although hybrid versions of the DBX are a long way off, the car will be launched with a Mercedes-sourced 4.0-litre V8 and Aston’s own 5.2-litre V12 as core engine options.
Palmer said that although he lists the DBX’s rivals as the Bentayga, Urus, Cullinan and upcoming Ferrari, each model performs a very different role in the super-luxury SUV segment. “Those minded towards a beauty of execution will move to Aston,” he said.
First-time Aston customers are expected to be found in China and North America in particular for the DBX, but Palmer said plenty of existing Aston owners will be interested, too. “It’s fascinating to me that 72% of Aston customers also own an SUV, and normally these are Cayennes or Range Rovers,” he said. “If you’re converted to Aston, it’ll be easier to convert buyers to an Aston SUV.”
The DBX is expected to sell at around 5000 units per year, which would comfortably make it Aston’s most popular model. Last year, the firm sold 6441 units in total, with the long-term goal of up to 14,000 split between 7000 each from Gaydon and St Athan, plus additional sales of two special, limited-run models each year.
Aston Martin DBX gets 542bhp V8
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