New Aston Martin Varekai SUV set to hit the road in late 2018

Design for the new Aston Martin Varekai SUV has been signed off, and it'll launch with petrol power only

Aston’s first ever SUV – likely to be called Aston Martin Varekai – is nearing its debut, and Auto Express can reveal that the final design of the new car has been signed off.

A select number of buyers have been invited to see the finished item, which was previewed in three-door form at the Geneva Motor Show in 2015 as the DBX concept. The production model has been transformed into a more conventional five-door, and we’ll get to see it next year.

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We could have our first unofficial glimpse towards the end of 2018, though. The Varekai will be built at an all-new Aston facility in St Athan, Wales, and CEO Andy Palmer has previously suggested that prototypes could begin rolling off the line before the year is out. So watch this space for spy shots.

Speaking to Auto Express recently, Aston Martin vice-president and chief marketing officer Simon Sproule confirmed the advancement of the project.

“We’ve shown it to prospective customers and the design freeze has happened,” he said. “We know what it looks like and now we’re working on building the first prototypes.

“It’s a proper car programme and it’s going through its first milestones,” added Sproule, confirming a 2019 launch.

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While the DBX concept used a futuristic, all-electric, all-wheel-drive powertrain with motors inboard of the wheels, the final car will launch with petrol power the sole option, according to Sproule.

“The production DBX will be gasoline engined,” he explained. “If you look at our EV strategy, by mid next decade every car we make will be either hybrid or electric, and inevitably there will be some form of hybridisation of DBX to come. But our electrification plan is Rapide next year, then Lagonda from 2021.”

Aston Martin Varekai: South Wales factory

Aston Martin’s new South Wales manufacturing facility is on track for 2019 completion, as construction of ‘Phase 1’ has now been finished. The state-of-the-art plant will build Aston’s new Varekai SUV coupe next year. 

The new factory in St Athan, a former Ministry of Defence site, will run alongside Aston’s Gaydon HQ, directly creating 750 new jobs. The first batch of technicians have been recruited, while the Varekai’s assembly line is being put into place.

The Varekai will be a hand built car, and is the brand’s first entry into the booming high-end SUV market. Though the DBX concept’s silhouette resembles a two-door coupe, the Varekai production model will be a rival for the Bentley Bentayga, Porsche Cayenne, Lamborghini Urus and Maserati Levante.  

Aston Martin DBX concept: Geneva debut

The DBX luxury GT car concept from Aston Martin surprised us all by appearing at the Geneva Motor Show in 2015. It was the first time we’d ever seen or heard of the car that represents a whole new direction for the brand.

The Aston Martin DBX concept is the British firm’s first all-electric, all-wheel-drive crossover – and we know it will heavily influence the Varekai production model. It’s described as Aston’s first “family friendly” GT and also has a more “environmentally responsible” approach, helping to offset emissions from the rest of the cars built by the firm.

The DBX is a striking car, with a modern take on the traditional Aston Martin styling elements. The wide grille keeps it in line with the brand’s image, along with the svelte front profile, but the higher ride height demonstrates the firm’s intentions for non-sporting capabilities. At the rear, two-tone buttresses adorn the sloping roofline, and the rear end sports familiar Aston LED lights.

Speaking at the Geneva Motor Show in 2015, Aston design director Marek Reichman explained: “This [the DBX] is a concept that introduces the idea of a crossover GT. It will be more accommodating in its final form, with five doors. To achieve that, the wheelbase doesn’t need to change much, but the roofline will.

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“The electric powertrain is definitely realistic. It’s an inevitability that emission-free driving will come, and to some customers in the future it will be a requirement.

“The solar trickle chargers on the rear parcel shelf are to run the air-con when the car is standing in the sun – important in core markets like the Middle East, US and China. These floating pillars will become a signature on our more gentile models, like the DB9.”

Aston Martin DBX concept unveiled at Geneva: video

Are you looking forward to seeing the new Aston Martin Varekai SUV? Let us know in the comments section below…

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