Aston Martin will be dipping its toes into the SUV segment in the fourth quarter of next year when the DBX is scheduled to hit the market. In order to get there, the high-riding vehicle from Gaydon has to embark upon a grueling testing program to work out the kinks before time will come for the “state-of-the-art SUV” to hit the assembly line at the company’s new factory in Wales.
The DBX has already been developed and tuned in the driving simulator – a process which has allowed Aston Martin to create the first physical prototype vehicles. Now, the time has come to kick off real-world testing by evaluating the early prototypes at the DBX’s place of birth to further signal the connection between the SUV and the company’s new St Athan production facility in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Covered from front to rear in Aston Martin’s familiar camouflage, the DBX is set to adopt a more practical five-door layout as opposed to the sleeker namesake concept revealed at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. With this being an early prototype, it doesn’t have all the final bits and pieces, hence why the taillights look too simple for what will be a fancy and expensive SUV. The vehicle seen here doesn’t even have the rear door handles, so lots of things will change between now and the production model’s debut.
During this interval, the Aston Martin DBX will be tested all over the world in harsh environments, such as the scorching deserts of the Middle East and the frozen Arctic. It will also travel to the German autobahn and the Nurburgring for high-speed testing, while high-altitude testing is going to be conducted at the Alpine passes.
Aston is being coy on details, but the model is expected to ride on the same platform as the Lagonda sedan and SUV scheduled to be built from 2021 in Wales together with the DBX. While the factory will eventually become the “home of electrification” for the brand, the SUV is going to be offered at first with gasoline engines such as Aston’s own V12 and AMG’s V8. Speaking of Mercedes, the electrical system, as well as the hybrid technology, will be borrowed from the three-pointed star company.
It goes without saying the DBX will be a crucial product launch for Aston Martin considering today’s appetite for luxury SUVs. It will have to face some stiff competition coming from the Lamborghini Urus and the Ferrari Purosangue, which was also spotted recently conducting early testing.
Source: Aston Martin
DBX: PROTOTYPE OF ASTON MARTIN’S FIRST SUV BEGINS TESTING
- Name of Aston Martin’s first SUV officially confirmed as DBX
- Prototype testing has commenced with DBX tackling Welsh Rally stage
- Extensive test programme will encompass some of the world’s harshest environments
- DBX programme on schedule for product launch in Q4 2019
14 November 2018, Gaydon, England: Aston Martin has made a significant and symbolic stride towards the luxury brand’s first SUV – now officially confirmed as being named DBX – with the first development prototype being put through its paces along a demanding Welsh Rally stage in the hands of the company’s Chief Engineer, Matt Becker.
This first test for DBX signifies the start of an extensive testing programme. One that has begun in Wales, as a nod to Aston Martins’ new St Athan production facility in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Though simulation is an essential part of DBX’s early development phase, this first prototype drive in Wales signifies the start of ‘real world’ testing, in which the SUV will be subjected to a punishing regime that will ultimately see development prototypes of the all-new machine tackle some of the world’s harshest environments, from the frozen Arctic and scorching deserts of the Middle East to high Alpine passes and the high-speed demands of the German autobahnen and Nürburgring Nordschleife.
The unique nature of DBX in the Aston Martin range means it requires a dedicated test programme; one that features new processes, procedures and standards that reflect its all-purpose role. So, while it will perform with the verve and poise of a true Aston Martin, its dynamic envelope has to extend into areas previously off-limits to the marque’s sporting roots. Naturally this includes impressive multi-terrain and towing capabilities as befits a state-of-the-art SUV.
Speaking of his drive in the DBX development prototype, Aston Martin Chief Engineer, Matt Becker, said: ‘We have already developed and tuned DBX in the driving simulator, which has enabled us to make excellent progress in advance of the first physical prototype cars being available. Still, it’s always a big day when you get to put the first actual miles on an early prototype and I’m delighted with the near perfect correlation between the simulator and this prototype. As an engineer, it’s genuinely exciting to get a feel for the car you’re working to create. DBX is a very different kind of Aston Martin, but we will be testing it in all conditions and across all terrains to ensure it delivers a driving experience worthy of the wings badge’
DBX is scheduled to be unveiled in the last quarter of 2019 and will be built at Aston Martin Lagonda’s St Athan facility; a state-of-the-art luxury manufacturing plant that will ultimately become the ‘Home of Electrification’ when the marque’s fully-EV models enter production.
Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Andy Palmer said: “Seeing a DBX development prototype in action is a momentous chapter in the story of our first SUV, for it is the moment it really comes alive. DBX is so much more than ‘just’ an SUV; it will be the first model built at our brand-new facility in St Athan. As such, it is very much the start of a bold new era in the company’s long history.”