The Aston Martin DBX has been designed to go pretty much anywhere. Soon, the British luxury marque will have to prove it by helping Aston’s stock climb out of the deep rut it’s fallen into.
The carmaker’s shares have tumbled nearly 80% since Aston went public 13 months ago. But, if the DBX delivers on expectations, it could turn things around by helping more than double the brand’s global sales.
Aston has been teasing the DBX for months, this week offering the clearest image yet – of the luxury SUV’s interior. For a better look at the exterior, potential buyers – as well as analysts, investors and the media – will have to wait until Nov. 19, when Aston stages simultaneous unveilings in Los Angeles and Beijing.
The DBX is actually just one of seven major new product lines – and yet other niche variants – that CEO Andy Palmer has authorized since he joined the carmaker in late 2014. These include models like the familiar DB11 and Vantage, but the new SUV – Aston’s first ever – is expected to become its most important, as well.
If it clicks in a luxury market increasingly focused on utility vehicles, Aston predicts, it will help boost sales from 6,440 in 2018 to around 14,000 by 2023. And it will punch up the carmaker’s bottom line substantially.
The DBX is expected to come at $189,000 in the U.S. That would position it midway between the $165,000 Bentley Bentayga – the first SUV to enter the ultra-premium luxury space four years ago – and the newer, $200,000 Lamborghini Urus.
Considering the momentum in the SUV space, it is easy to see why Aston is betting so heavily on the DBX. The Bentayga and Urus are now the best-selling models for their brands, as are the less exotic Cayenne and Macan utes for Porsche. But the market is going to be getting extremely crowded fast. With only a few exceptions, such as McLaren, every top-line manufacturer is pushing into the SUV space, even Rolls-Royce with the recently launched Cullinan, and Ferrari.
While only a handful of potential buyers and journalists have seen the Aston Martin DBX, the automaker has begun to let some details leak out, among other things noting that it will be powered by a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 making 550 horsepower and capable of reaching at least 180 mph. Palmer has also hinted in conversations with TheDetroitBureau.com that a future version will be electrified, though he has not confirmed whether that will be in the form of a plug-in hybrid, like Bentayga, or an all-electric alternative.
This week, the automaker released both a carefully shadowed teaser image of the DBX exterior, as well as a far more revealing interior image.
The cabin appears open and spacious, Aston claiming “superior visibility is key” to the DBX design.
“The dashboard accentuates the feeling of space and luxury in DBX,” a statement noted. “Each button and dial has been carefully positioned following extensive testing from external counsel, including the brand’s Female Advisory Board and multiple customer clinics.”
That underscores the fact that Aston expects a much higher level of female buyers for DBX than for its traditional models – as has been the case with ultra-premium competitors like Bentley. Storage space is seen as one of the reasons women like these SUVs, and there will be a floating center console with, among other things, room for a purse, as well as phones, water bottles and other posessions.
“The rear passengers were central to the design process,” Aston’s statement added. “The design team wanted an inclusive feeling for those in the rear of the car, but without the sense that the rear occupants were leaning over those in the front of the vehicle, which can sometimes be the result of so-called ‘stadium’ seating arrangements. The needs of children were also considered extensively and, in a new exercise for Aston Martin, a group of children were invited to share their experience of ingress and egress and sitting in an ergonomic assessment model at the company’s design studio.”
As for the decision to hold a dual debut, a quick look at sales trends reveals that the Los Angeles area is the largest U.S. market for vehicles like the DBX, though China has become the single-largest market for ultra-premium brands like Aston Martin.