The Aston Martin DBX’s design has been signed off on and the manufacturer’s radical move to enter the SUV segment from late 2019 is expected to transform the fortunes of the 104-year-old firm, which has been declared bankrupt 7 times in its changeable history. The DBX will rival the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, Maserati Levante and top-end Range Rovers and Porsche Cayennes in the luxury 4×4 segment. However, CEO Andy Palmer says the DBX will stand apart from them “because it has not sacrificed any beauty to attain its practicality or performance”. The SUV project was envisioned by Palmer before he took up his role at Aston Martin in 2014 and it was officially kick-started on his fourth day in the job. “When you are talking about running a company like Aston Martin, you talk through your ideas with the owners before you are hired,” said Palmer. “My message was simple: if Aston Martin wants to survive, it must do a SUV.” “On my fourth day [as CEO], I got to spend some time with Marek and I told him I wanted DBX. That was in October and I told him I wanted a concept car ready to show in Geneva by the following March.” “He and his team responded magnificently. One of the many splendors of Aston associated to a large auto company is that we can move quickly. If something is agreed, we can leave the room and start working on it immediately, without the need for multi-layer presentations. It’s invigorating and I think we are opening to unlock the welfares of that now. I hope the Aston of today has an arrogance — but never arrogance — that it has not had for some time.”
The DBX concept was revealed at Geneva in 2015 as a 2-door, 4-seat model powered by electric motors mounted inboard of the wheels and powered by lithium-sulphur cells. The car featured numerous other high-tech concept flourishes, such as an F1-style kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), in order to highlight that it would be at the cutting edge of powertrain technology when it was launched, but Reichmann and his team also made a point of highlighting more practical fundamentals, such as cabin and load space. Confirming that the design has now been signed off and the build of pre-production test mules is under way, Palmer designated that the final car will carry much of the DNA hinted at by the concept. He said: “There are aspects of the car that have changed melodramatically — perhaps none more so than the fact that it is now a four-door — and, on a comparison basis, you will be able to pick out many facts that have been altered. But in terms of the pure lines and the fundamental core principles of the car, you will identify them.” Reichmann suggested the roofline will have to be much higher than that of the concept in order to give the production car an extra layer of sensibleness. A sketch of the final car’s silhouette has also been released.