Aston Martin has missed out on the booming sales of luxury SUVs, despite being one of the first among its peers to look closely at the segment when it presented its original Lagonda SUV concept back in 2009. A lack of a suitable platform and the global financial crisis put an end to Aston Martin’s SUV plans, but even these setbacks never managed to completely quell the idea of a more capable model from the British brand.
Today, at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, Aston Martin is exploring the SUV segment yet again with its DBX concept. Sticking to its sports car roots, Aston Martin’s latest SUV, the DBX, combines the body of a GT with the taller ride height and all-wheel-drive system of an off-roader.
This immediately solves the problem Aston Martin has suffered with buyers in emerging markets such as China and Russia, where poor road conditions make living with a low-slung sports car more of an ordeal than a pleasurable experience. In fact, Aston Martin even states that the DBX concept widens the appeal of the iconic British brand and reaches out to a more diverse global audience than ever before.
But the DBX is more than a preview of an off-roading Aston. The concept also looks at potential engineering solutions for the future. For example, the concept doesn’t have an engine up front but rather in-wheel electric motors powered by a lithium-sulphur battery. Drive-by-wire electric steering, toughened glass with an auto-dimming ‘smart glass’ inter-layer, and bespoke driver and passenger head-up displays are further examples of its cutting edge technology. Other advances include active LED headlights, carbon ceramic brakes with a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) and rear view cameras in place of conventional side mirrors.
In addition to new technologies, the DBX concept also shows an evolution of Aston Martin’s design language, penned by chief designer Marek Reichman. Inside, the deliberate use of non-automotive standard materials generates a soft, cocooning ambience for the 2+2 cabin. Materials include machined billet aluminium, velvet-like Nubuck leather, carbon fiber and Alcantara.
So, is the DBX destined for production? Aston Martin does not admit so much but states that it clearly signals an “extension to the brand’s existing model lines in the future” and that it sits in a segment that the brand will compete in eventually.
“This is, clearly, not a production-ready sports GT car, but it is a piece of fresh, bold thinking about what Aston Martin GT customers around the world could request of us in the future,” Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer said at today’s reveal. “We will, in due course, be entering a car into the new DBX space and I am very much looking forward to seeing how this concept is received not only here today, but also by our legion of existing loyal customers and by those potential customers around the world who have, to this point, yet to consider one of our cars."