Aston Martin has taken a significant step towards realising its dream of entering the luxury SUV market 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. It has been officially confirmed that DBX will be the name of Aston Martin’s first SUV.
Aston Martin has been exploring ways to expand its customer base to new demographic groups. Since 2015, Aston Martin has sought to increase its appeal to women as a luxury lifestyle brand and had established a female advisory panel to adopt the design of the cars to the taste of women. Given that women constitute a significant portion of SUV buyers or decision makers, the DBX would undoubtedly go a long way in making the marque more appealing to women.
The choice of the Welsh countryside as the first testing site is symbolic given that the DBX will be produced at Aston Martins’ new St Athan production facility in the Vale of Glamorgan; a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant that will ultimately, also become the ‘Home of Electrification’ when the marque’s fully-EV models enter production.
“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.” – Andy Palmer, Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group Chief Executive Officer
The testing in Wales also signifies the start of ‘real world’ testing for the SUV in which it will be subjected to a punishing regime that will see it 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 autobahn and Nürburgring Nordschleife.
The unique nature of DBX in the Aston Martin range means that Aston Martin had to develop an all-new dedicated test programme that features new processes, procedures and standards to reflect its all-purpose role. So, while it is expected to perform with the verve and poise of an Aston Martin, its dynamic envelope has to extend into areas previously unfamiliar to the marque’s sporting roots. Naturally, this would have to include impressive multi-terrain and towing capabilities on par with or better than its competitors.
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.”