► The first-ever Aston Martin SUV
► AMG-sourced 4.0 V8 musters 543bhp
► Five seats, 632-litre boot, 4.5sec 0-62mph
The new £158,000 Aston Martin DBX is the first SUV in the 106-year history of the British sports car brand. Yes, another premium car maker has succumbed to the lure of crossover cash - and we've got all the latest news hot from its Los Angeles motor show debut.
The DBX has been widely teased with a long build-up campaign ahead of its world debut, so the final design won't be a suprise to anyone. But now the camouflage has peeled away, we can see how the Gaydon creatives have applied Aston's DNA to a sports utility vehicle. It's a full five-seater (Aston's first, it admits) and looks set to open up sales to a whole new segment of family buyer.
It needs to be practical and the company claims a 632-litre bootspace and niceties such as a split-fold rear bench, carved into 40:20:40 sections so you can transport bulky furniture or skis in the DBX easily. And they've gone to town with optional extras such as the Pet Pack including a pressure pump to hose off muddy dogs and ski boot warmers as part of a Snow package. Maximum lifestyle ahoy!
Inside the new Aston Martin SUV
The plush, leather-trimmed cockpit has been extensively developed, according to Aston Martin, to fit almost any kind of driver comfortably. Details like interior storage, rear space and visibility have been at the forefront of the development team's minds - arguably the first time that's really been the case in an Aston; the Rapide may have sat more than two people inside but they weren't exactly beset with space.
The digital hardware is again borrowed from the collaboration with Mercedes-Benz and the DBX sports a 10-inch TFT instrument pack ahead of the driver, and a 12.3-inch central touchscreen managing all the infotainment systems. Apple CarPlay is standard-fit for syncing your smartphone.
An all-round, 360-degree parking camera system is standard, and there's the usual cabin-bathing light show with a choice of 64 different colours. Note also the new seat upholstery option made from 80% wool - should be snug on chilly winter mornings, if you fancy a change from Bridge of Weir-sourced leather or Alcantara...
A full-length panoramic sunroof is available, and the doors are frameless, making the DBX a light and airy place to sit.
Aston Martin DBX: performance specs
The new DBX is made from bonded aluminium, like all Aston Martins, and is powered by the same raucous 4.0-litre AMG-supplied V8 as the Vantage junior supercar and DB11, Gaydon has confirmed. Expect the acoustics to be switchable in this SUV application, with more serene cruising or a rortier Sports setting which opens the baffles in the active exhaust and raises idle speed from 650rpm to 800rpm. Outputs are tweaked to 543bhp and 516lb ft, making this one of the brawniest SUVs on the marketplace.
The V8 sends drive to all four wheels through a nine-speed torque convertor automatic transmission. An active central differential and electronically controlled rear e-diff apportions drive front and rear, and side to side, allowing for precise torque vectoring.
Key performance specs are as follows:
- Engine 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8
- Power and torque 543bhp and 516lb ft
- 0-62mph 4.5sec
- Top speed 181mph
- Kerbweight 2245kg
- Nurburging lap times 'Sub-eight minute'
- Towing capacity Up to 2.7 tonnes
No fuel economy or emissions figures have been released yet, but the V8 features cylinder deactivation to shut down one bank under light loads and it's the first Aston to get a gas particulate filter. Air suspension is standard, allowing the ride height to be dropped or raised by 50mm for off-roading or loading purposes. The triple-chamber air springs can develop 1400Nm of anti-roll force on each axle, suppressing body roll effectively, according to the engineers.
It's telling that one of the official teaser photos (below) shows the DBX crossover mid-drift, suggesting that Aston is tuning it with athletic, sports car handling in mind in Sports mode. Even if most customers will drive one to collect their kids from private school, it seems they're determined to make sure it has the dynamic ability of any other Aston Martin.
Matt Becker, Aston Martin’s chief engineer, said: 'We have concentrated our work to ensure that the calibration and tune of this 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 delivers both the everyday usability and refinement expected by SUV owners. However, we have also focused heavily on matching that with the engaging driving dynamics that are commanded by our brand and inherent in every Aston Martin and early indications of the car’s overall performance have been incredibly promising.'
DBX to the rescue? How the Aston Martin SUV will help shore up the business
It's a busy time at Aston Martin - witness the three cars it showed at the Geneva motor show in March 2019 – so it's no surprise the company is expanding its manufacturing footprint in the UK. The DBX will be built in the brand’s new St Athan Lagonda plant in Wales, where the company will eventually make its EVs, too.
Although the new DBX is being launched as a 4.0-litre V8 first, hybrid and plug-in models are planned in the future. Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer said: 'I can’t emphasise enough how incredibly exciting and significant DBX is for Aston Martin. DBX marks a key moment in the delivery of the third and final phase of our Second Century Plan, not only representing the promised expansion of our portfolio but also signaling the start of production at Aston Martin’s second manufacturing plant.’
Read more about the new Aston Martin factory in Wales
You're not going to mistake the DBX for anything other than an Aston Martin, with that gaping signature grille and lights which appear to be directly lifted off the V8 Vantage. It looks like the DBX borrows the rear light signature from the Vantage and DBS, too.
It looks a little more compact than its inevitable Urus and Cayenne-shaped competition, and that duck-tailed rear end is strikingly different for an SUV, proving that Aston Martin has gone for slick looks and aerodynamics over outright load-lugging space.
Designers have managed airflow across the DBX's large bodywork and claim the aero is so efficient there is no need for a rear wiper. Wind noise is also claimed to be especially low.
When can I buy the Aston Martin DBX?
Dealers are taking orders from the day of its world premiere, 20 November 2019, and first deliveries are promised in spring 2020. The first 500 customers will get the 1913 Package, referencing the birth of Aston Martin and gaining unique badging, sill plaques and inspection by chief exec Palmer.
UK prices start at £158,000, it'll cost from €193,500 in Germany and $189,900 in the US. Stay tuned for our Aston Martin DBX review very soon...
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