Auto Shows Revealed! The 2021 Aston Martin DBX Aims to be the World's Most Desirable SUV

19:05  20 november  2019
19:05  20 november  2019 Source:   motortrend.com

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The wraps are finally off the auto industry's worst-kept secret-the 2021 Aston Martin DBX. And, on paper at least, the storied British sports car maker's first ever SUV looks to be a home run. It needs to be: The future of Aston Martin depends on the DBX being a must have for those who can afford to splurge $192,986 (including $3,086 for destination) on a hand-finished luxury SUV with 542 hp under the hood and a top speed of 181 mph.

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Aston Martin Lagonda boss Andy Palmer, who began touting the arrival of the DBX well before the company's troubled IPO in 2018, reckons he can sell up to 7,000 a year, effectively doubling Aston's volume. Palmer of course hopes the DBX will be to Aston Martin what the Cayenne has been to Porsche; the cash cow that keeps profits flowing, investors happy, and can fund the sports car side of the business. But Porsche's halo SUV is the DBX's spirit animal in more ways than one.

The DBX is built on a new all-aluminum body structure engineered and developed in-house at Aston Martin. It's a big car; at 198.4 inches it's 4.5 inches longer overall than a Cayenne, with a 120.5-inch wheelbase that's a hefty 6.6 inches longer than the Porsche's. But Aston claims the DBX's lightweight construction means it weighs 4,940 pounds.

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a car parked on the side of a road © Motor Trend Staff

Daimler, which owns just over four percent of Aston Martin Lagonda, is supplying the DBX's powertrain. Launch engine will be a 542-hp, 516 lb-ft version of the ubiquitous 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 that powers sundry Mercedes-AMG models as well as versions of Aston's own DB11 and Vantage sports cars. It's hooked up to Daimler's smooth nine-speed automatic and a performance version of the company's 4Matic all-wheel drive system with an active center differential and rear e-diff. Normal front to rear torque split is 47/53, but the system can send almost 100 percent of the twist action to the rear axle if required.

Standard wheels are 22-inch alloys, shod with 285/40 front and 325/35 rear tires, the decision to go with wider rears made after Aston Martin vehicle attribute engineering chief Matt Becker's team selected the current Cayenne to be the dynamic benchmark for the DBX's chassis development. "The lateral grip numbers that we have seen on tarmac have been genuinely incredible," Becker says. A Pirelli P Zero summer tire will be the default fitment, but Pirelli Scorpion Zero all-season and Scorpion Winter tires will also available. The brakes are steel, with giant 16.1-inch rotors up front and 15.4-inch items at the rear, enough to reportedly give the DBX braking performance on par with the blisteringly quick 715-hp DBS Superleggera.

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Aston claims the DBX will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds en route to its 181mph top speed. That seems conservative, given we've recorded a 3.2-second 0-60 time in our testing of the 177-mph Cayenne Turbo, which has the same horsepower and weighs more. But the Porsche's own 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 has 567 lb-ft of torque, 51 lb-ft more, on tap from just 1,960 rpm, which undoubtedly promotes a quicker launch. The DBX's performance is not just all about speed, however: Aston claims it will tow-yes, it's an Aston Martin designed to take a tow hitch-almost 6,000 pounds.

Like the Cayenne Turbo, the DBX rides on triple-chamber air springs and has an active anti-roll system that uses 48V electric motors to twist the anti-roll bars against the cornering forces. The suspension is height adjustable. Standard ground clearance is 7.5 inches, rising to 9.3 inches in the two off-road modes, giving the DBX a 25.7-degree approach angle, a 27.1-degree departure angle, and an 18.8-degree breakover angle. Maximum wading depth is 19.7 inches.

a car parked on the side of a road: 2021 Aston Martin DBX front view © Motor Trend Staff 2021 Aston Martin DBX front view

Grafting Aston Martin design cues onto a two-box SUV without the result looking too contrived was a challenge. But chief creative officer Marek Reichman's team of designers have, by and large, succeeded in making the DBX look as glamorous as the rest of the Aston Martin family.

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The DBX's front graphic, dominated by a supersized version of the iconic Aston Martin grille is superb, giving the SUV a muscular yet sporty road presence. The sculpted bodyside features fenders teased out over the wheels, and a strong, artfully tensioned line that runs back from the top of the front fenders; in conjunction with a roofline that drops as it runs rearwards from the windshield, it gives the DBX the athletic gesture of a sports car. The rear end is polarizing. The light graphic arching across a pronounced ducktail spoiler is an obvious nod to the Vantage coupe. But its thin section means that, from the base of the rear bumper to the lower edge of the rear backlight, you're looking at an awful lot of painted metal and plastic. The black-painted lower fascia helps take away some of the visual mass on the red car shown here, but that trick won't work on a DBX painted black.

There's function as well as form baked into the exterior design. Ducts around the daylight running lamps at the front of the DBX create fast jets of air that flow through the front wheel wells, around the front tires and exit through vents on the bodysides, helping keep air attached to the sides of the car, reducing drag. A wing at the trailing edge of the roof provides some downforce, but more critically keeps the airflow attached to the rear window, ensuring that water is cleared from the raked backlight. The Vantage-style ducktail on the tailgate then manages that airflow at the rear of the vehicle, reducing lift at speed.

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The stylish DBX interior is the epitome of modern luxury, though you can order some quintessentially old-school English touches, if you wish: The leather on the seats can be brogued like that of a hand-made shoe, for example, and you can order wood on the center console and door trims. Fashionistas can opt for an 80 percent wool blend covering on the seats if they prefer, along with bronze mesh, a flax composite, or carbon fiber trim instead of wood. Whatever the specification, each DBX interior will require more than 200 hours of hand finishing.

The practical side? The electrically powered tailgate opens to reveal a 22.3 cu-ft trunk that can be expanded to 54 cu-ft via the 40:20:40 split fold rear seat. And DBX buyers will be able to choose from eight accessory packs, one of which includes a portable pet washer so Fido doesn't leave muddy prints all over that gorgeous interior.

a person driving a car © Motor Trend Staff

As with other current Astons, Daimler has supplied the electrical architecture and screens that give the DBX state-of-the-moment functionality and connectivity. The instrument panel is a 12.3-inch TFT screen with Aston Martin graphics, while the infotainment system features a 10.3-inch screen mounted in the center of the dash. The Daimler architecture also means the DBX comes with the full suite of driver aids, including adaptive cruise control with speed limiter and lane keep assist, plus hill descent control in off-road mode, all of which are a first for any Aston Martin

The Aston Martin DBX is scheduled to arrive in the U.S. in the second half of next year. A plug-in hybrid version with a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine and integrated e-motor delivering at least 470 hp and up to 25 miles of pure EV range, is rumored to be appearing in 2021, though it's not certain whether it will be offered in the US.

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