GALLERY: Aston Martin DBX SUV at St Athan factory

GALLERY: Aston Martin DBX SUV at St Athan factory

As you’ve probably read by now, Aston Martin has opened its doors to its new factory in St Athan, Wales, and yours truly was there to provide you with full coverage of the event, which you will read about in due time. The plant will build the DBX, an important new entry to the lucrative luxury SUV market that can’t come soon enough, as uncertainties are beginning to swirl around the iconic sports car maker.

Thankfully, the company won’t have to wait too long before it can start delivering cars to customers, with full production set to kick off in May. And it’s just as well, as Aston has sunk a lot of time, money and effort into developing a credible competitor to the likes of the Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus.

Unlike most of its competition, Aston isn’t owned by a major carmaker, so it doesn’t need to use off-the-shelf underpinnings to save costs. The DBX instead rides on a bespoke platform and utilises its tried-and-true bonded aluminium construction process, allowing the company to tailor the packaging to suit its requirements in terms of design, interior space, functionality and performance – and no doubt go a long way towards assuaging brand fanatics that an SUV can be a real Aston.

Importantly, the DBX maintains most of the hallmarks of the sports cars, including a curvaceous design, a massive grille (the largest ever fitted to an Aston, apparently), almond-shaped headlights, metallic side strakes, a Vantage-esque ducktail (with full-width tail lights) and a pleasing body-to-glasshouse ratio. Flush door handles, hidden window seals and a glass B-pillar cover give it a clean concept car-like side surface.

GALLERY: Aston Martin DBX SUV at St Athan factory

The company paid close attention to the car’s aerodynamics, incorporating features such as ducted LED daytime running lights that direct air into the wheel wells to cool the brakes, large fender vents that channel that air out of the wells to reduce turbulence and drag, as well as slots in the tailgate spoiler to allow air to flow onto the rear windscreen. The latter not only keeps the glass clear of raindrops without the use of an unsightly wiper, but also works the rear ducktail.

Step inside – noting as you climb in that the doors protect the cutaway sills to prevent you from staining your couture dress or Italian tailored suit – and you’ll find a cocooned cockpit-like environment, with the full-length panoramic glass roof opening the cabin up to some light. If you don’t want that light, you can specify the car with an Alcantara-trimmed powered roof blind to keep it out, a first for the industry.

Running across the centre is a floating centre console bridge, under which you’ll find some flexible storage space. Along the sides, the decorative trim can be customised in a whole range of finishes, including solid wood and a flax composite that is a distinctive alternative to carbon fibre. The seats, meanwhile, are upholstered in full-grain leather from long-term Aston partner Bridge of Weir.

The technology is derived from its partnership with Mercedes-AMG and includes a 10.25-inch infotainment screen – sitting above the air vents and below the push-button transmission controls – and a 12.3-inch instrument display. You’ll even find dual-zone, 64-colour ambient lighting that will be familiar to owners of the Three-pointed Star. Apple CarPlay connectivity and a 360-degree camera system come standard.

Aston says that despite the middling dimensions, the long wheelbase allows for class-leading head- and legroom at the front and rear. It has engineered in a few clever touches to maximise space – the front seats, derived from its sports cars, not only add comfort and lateral support, but the slim cushions and backrests also adds rear knee room and allow those at the back to slide their feet underneath. Engineers have also minimised the gap between the aforementioned roof blind and the glass to free up much-needed headroom.

Given that this is supposed to be a family car, ergonomics was also a key area in development. The interior is designed to accommodate both a 99th percentile man and a fifth percentile woman, and the separate central armrests, glovebox design and the positioning of the car’s key control systems were guided by dealership feedback, private global focus groups and Aston’s own Female Advisory Board. A car for everyone, then.

GALLERY: Aston Martin DBX SUV at St Athan factory

Open the tailgate and you’ll find 632 litres of boot space, and you can fold the 40:20:40-split rear seats to stow even more luggage; a hard tonneau cover, which can be removed and stowed behind the seats, adds some sound insulation. There will also be a range of option packages offered, such as a Pet package that includes a portable washer for cleaning your furry friends, as well as a Snow package with boot warmers.

Underneath all the metal and wood and leather sits AMG’s M177 4.0 litre twin-turbocharged V8. This latest iteration produces more power than in the Vantage and DB11 – 550 PS and 700 Nm of torque, to be exact – and it features cylinder deactivation for improved fuel economy. So equipped, the DBX will get from zero to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds on its way to a top speed of 291 km/h.

Interestingly, the DBX doesn’t utilise the ZF eight-speed automatic transmission found in other models, where it functions as a rear transaxle. Instead, it uses Mercedes’ nine-speed 9G-Tronic auto running directly off the engine, and that’s because it has all-wheel drive – sitting aft of the gearbox is a variable transfer case that sends up to 47% of torque to the front wheels, and there’s also an electronic differential at the rear.

Suspension consists of triple-chamber air springs all around, linked to 48-volt electric anti-roll control. The car can be raised (by 45 mm) or lowered (by 50 mm) and exert up to 1,400 Nm of force on each axle to correct the rolling tendencies of a taller vehicle.

Aston says that the system provides responsive and engaging handling on the road, as well as the ability to tackle a variety of terrain off it. The use of bonded aluminium is also claimed to provide a stiff structure and keep weight down to a still hefty 2,245 kg.

The DBX will arrive in Malaysia not long after production commences, with local pricing already confirmed at RM798,000 before taxes and options. You can get a head start on your order by visiting the Aston Martin Kuala Lumpur dealership.

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Jonathan Lee

After trying to pursue a career in product design, Jonathan Lee decided to make the sideways jump into the world of car journalism instead. He therefore appreciates the aesthetic appeal of a car, but for him, the driving experience is still second to none.



  • Fordist on Dec 09, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    If AM goes bankrupt soon, will these cars become deadstock without spareparts in future?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
  • kereta_lembu on Dec 09, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    The guy who designed the interior needs to be fired asap

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3
  • The huge shut lines and uneven panel gaps all over the car just bother with my OCD…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

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