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At a examination accident for the 2021 Aston Martin DBX, the automaker’s CEO, Andy Palmer, was artlessly direct. “This is acutely the best important car the company’s anytime done aback its aboriginal car,” he told Alley & Track.
Yes, Aston Martin has abutting Bentley, Lamborghini, and Rolls-Royce in creating an ultra-luxury SUV. It’s been in the works aback Palmer abutting the aggregation in 2014, and its the linchpin of his “Second Century Plan” for Aston Martin—Palmer’s plan to accomplish abiding a aggregation has an easier time accepting to its 200th altogether than it did its 100th.
Because the DBX is so radically altered than any added car Aston Martin has made, the automaker’s engineers and designers were affected to acquisition means to accomplish abiding it lives up to the alive cast on the hood. Here’s what we abstruse talking to the bodies who led its creation.
Palmer said there was an befalling to about-face to Mercedes-Benz—which owns a five-percent pale in Aston Martin—for a platform, but they absitively to go in the adverse direction. Aston congenital its own belvedere for the car so it would both attending and drive as the bodies at the aggregation expect.
It’s powered by the Mercedes-AMG-sourced 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 Aston uses in the DB11 and Vantage, but here, it’s acquainted for added power—542 application verses 503 for the others. The agent is backed up by a Mercedes nine-speed automatic, and ability gets to the arena via the aboriginal all-wheel drive arrangement in Aston Martin history. An cyberbanking centermost cogwheel can accelerate 47 percent of torque to the advanced axle, or up to 100 percent to the rear. Additionally, an cyberbanking rear limited-slip cogwheel distributes ability beyond the aback axle.
Suspension is bifold wishbones up front, and a multi-link bureaucracy at the rear. Adaptive dampers appear standard, as do 22-inch auto captivated with massive custom-developed Pirelli P-Zero summer tires (all-seasons and winters are available, too).
The alive anatomy accouterments is arguably the abstruse highlight of the DBX, though. Three-chamber air springs acquiesce for adjustable ride acme and four able bounce rates, while a new 48-volt alive anti-roll controls anatomy motions.
“At the end of the day, you’re ambidextrous with physics,” Aston Martin arch architect Matt Becker told R&T. “And if you appetite to accept the ample ambit of characteristics that we were after, you accept to accept these alive systems. You can’t do without.”
Aston calls the alive anti-roll arrangement eARC, and like agnate systems offered by added automakers, electric motors in the average of anniversary anti-roll bar can alleviate or anneal the confined up as needed. Becker told R&T that these electric motors can administer over 1000 lb-ft of torque to anniversary bar, which he believes is added than any added commensurable system. With eARC, it’s accessible to accomplish a DBX break altogether akin in cornering, but accomplishing so would feel unnatural. Instead, eARC is acquainted to accommodate anatomy cycle commensurable to a DB11 back the DBX is in its stiffest anatomy setting.
This arrangement can additionally alter cycle acerbity at anniversary arbor individually, which allows the administration antithesis of the DBX to be afflicted on the fly. Becker told us you can anneal the rear and allay the advanced to advice the car oversteer, for example. And for off-roading, the eARC arrangement can abate anti-roll bar stiffness, too, allowance access caster travel.
Unfortunately, these anatomy systems are heavy, which is why the DBX weighs a not-insubstantial 4940 pounds admitting actuality fabricated mostly from aluminum. The anatomy anatomy itself is bonded, like all Aston Martin alley cars (save the limited-run One-77) aback the aboriginal Vanquish.
Becker abundantly came to Aston Martin from Lotus, and as you’d expect, he has a continued history affability sports cars. That doesn’t beggarly he’s anti-SUV, though. At atomic not now:
While the DBX’s new belvedere was important in acceptance Aston Martin to absolutely ascertain the alive dynamics of the SUV, it was appropriately important from a architecture perspective. It’s what makes the DBX altered than its best accessible rival, the Bentley Bentayga, which is congenital on a VW Group platform.
“If you put a awning over the DBX you can see beneath a beautifully ample car,” Marek Reichman, arch artistic administrator at Aston Martin, told R&T. “I would catechism that if you put a awning over a Bentayga and a awning over an [Audi] Q7, you apparently see the aforementioned car until you booty the awning off and you see the clothing.”
Both Reichman and Palmer said that there are about 96 authentic adamantine credibility with a platform. If Aston went with a Mercedes platform, its designers wouldn’t accept ascendancy over the wheelbase, the dash-to-axle ratio, the advanced and rear overhangs, the rake of the windshield, and the acme of the belt line, amid added details. “You can adumbrate the accumulation with all these admeasurement detailing. That actually, back you aboriginal see the DBX, it belies its centralized volume,” Reichman said. He said four six-foot-four individuals (like himself) can ride calmly in the car.
The rear of the DBX absolutely acutely references the accepted Vantage, abnormally with its rear ablaze bar, but the advanced is a bit added DB11. “If we had added amplitude on the advanced of the DB11, what would the barbecue attending like?” Reichman remembers asking. “I would ascertain the DBX’s as the best absolute Aston Martin barbecue because you’ve got a bigger canvas to absolutely administer the language.”
We had a few account to sit in a DBX prototype, and there’s a lot to like about the interior. The architecture is clean, with simple ergonomics, and all the aerial affection abstracts you apprehend from an Aston Martin. You can alike accept bolt in abode of leather. Reichman says Aston was abreast by chump acknowledgment from Vantage and DB11 owners in creating this interior. That’s why the infotainment awning is now recessed into the birr rather than placed like a book on top.
The DBX will additionally be the aboriginal Aston Martin to get alive alive abetment appearance like lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and automated emergency braking. Aston will additionally action assorted accent packs for the DBX tailored to the hobbies and interests of its customers. Our admired is the pet pack, which includes a bonanza protector so your dogs don’t blemish the acrylic back accepting in the trunk, and a carriageable washer.
In the US, the MSRP for the 2021 DBX is set at about $190,000—similar to that of a DB11 V8 Coupe. Palmer affairs on capping assembly at 4000 units a year, at which point, Aston Martin will “let the cat-and-mouse account grow.” At 4000 cars a year, the DBX should become the brand’s best seller, overtaking the Vantage, of which Aston sells about 3500 units annually.
“It makes us added abiding in the downcycle,” Palmer said. “As economies get tighter, there tends to be beneath bodies putting money into sports cars. But everybody needs a car.” Plus, the company’s analysis indicates that 72 percent of its accepted barter already own an SUV, which leads to an accessible question—why shouldn’t that be an Aston Martin SUV?
If all goes well, the DBX should advice Aston armamentarium added products, too. Like the sports cars and GTs that the cast congenital its acceptability on, and the mid-engine machines advancing bottomward the pike to booty on Ferrari, McLaren, and the like. Palmer is acquisitive the DBX does for Aston Martin what the Cayenne did for Porsche.
The DBX is a chancy abandonment for the brand, but one that could pay off absolutely nicely. It’s accessible to accept why he thinks this is the best important car in the company’s history.
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