New 2020 Aston Martin DBX SUV testing begins

Aston Martin DBX name confirmed, while first pictures emerge as testing of the performance off-roader begins

The new Aston Martin DBX has begun real-world testing ahead of going on sale in 2020. The brand’s first SUV is set to be one of the most important cars in its 105-year history, and now we have been given our first proper look the upcoming performance off-roader. The DBX name has been confirmed, too. 

The SUV was previewed by the DBX Concept at the Geneva Motor Show in 2015, but these images of a development mule confirm that the final model will be very different in appearance from the show car. The DBX Concept was a statement of intent, hence its three-door coupe shape, but the DBX will be a five-door SUV.

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While many of the finer details of the design are still well hidden by the mule’s disguise, we now have a good idea of the overall shape of the car. The pronounced rear haunches are a nod to Aston Martin’s grand tourer line-up, and the steeply raked rear window means it retains an element of the DBX Concept’s coupe shape.

If this mule is to be believed, the front end of the car will take on the new family face established by the latest Vantage. Of course, this could just be a red herring.

As for power, the launch DBX will not feature any form of electrification. Checking the licence plate of this mule against DVLA records confirms that a 4.0-litre engine sits under the bonnet; this will be the twin-turbocharged ‘hot vee’ V8 that has already seen service in the Vantage and DB11 V8. A hybrid DBX will inevitably emerge at some stage, though. Aston has set out plans to electrify its entire line-up, with hybrid or pure-electric variants of every model planned by 2025.

The DBX isn’t just important because of the potential sales it can deliver to Aston; it will also be the first car to be built at the firm’s brand new, 60,000-square-metre, £250million factory in St Athan, Wales.

Speaking to Auto Express at the St Athan facility, Aston’s vehicle line director for large cars, Andy Haslam, set out the next stages of the DBX’s development process, and told us a little more about the vehicle.

Haslam described the DBX as “clearly a full-size SUV”, that will have a lightweight, bonded aluminium body structure.

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The first prototype is being subjected to a punishing testing regime on the roads and off-road tracks of Wales. This mule is being used purely for testing the underpinnings of the model, the set-up of the suspension system and powertrain, and the car’s brand new, bespoke platform.

It’s an extremely early build known as an ‘M1’ prototype – the actual production line at St Athan won’t begin to produce more detailed DBX prototypes until at least next spring, while the final car is set to be presented in the fourth quarter of 2019.

We haven’t yet seen the DBX’s interior, either; for now, the usual early prototype rules apply, with the M1 mule featuring a primitive cabin that’s packed with plenty of Mercedes switchgear.

When the final car arrives, the dash could take on a different look from those in other Aston products, given the segment the vehicle will sit in and the bespoke platform it will use.

As for a price, the DBX will line up with other upper-crust SUVs such as the Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus. We anticipate a starting figure of around £140,000 when it goes on sale in 2020.

Can’t wait for the new Aston Martin DBX? Then check out our list of the best fast family cars currently on sale?

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