The Aston Martin DBX has been unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Its reception has been warm, but can it really turn the struggling automaker’s fortunes around?
Last Ace In The Sleeve
Five years in the making, the Aston Martin DBX has finally been unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It’s an historic car for the automaker. Not only is it their first SUV, it’s also (quite possibly) the last ace in their sleeve. As it stands, things aren’t looking good for the quintessentially British sports car manufacturer. It made a £13.5 million loss in its last quarter, with its share price declining by an enormous 75% since debuting last October. The company has also announced that demand for its most accessible model, the Vantage, remains well below target. The DBX, then, has been charged with turning things around. Costing £158,000, this luxury SUV is expected to boost sales by two-thirds. But will it?
A New Frontier
There’s no denying that the DBX is a beautiful car. Aston’s engineers have managed to avoid the ‘boxiness’ so often associated with SUV’s, producing something as elegant as it is practical. There are definitely cues taken from previous Aston models, like the Vantage. The emphasis of mass upon the rear wheels, for instance, are decidedly reminiscent of a sports car’s. The DBX’s designers say they wanted a ‘sculpted’ look rather than the flat forms usually seen on conventional SUVs. They also went for 22-inch alloy wheels, wanting to imbue the car with “a readiness and an uplifting demeanour that reflects the lightness in the way it drives whether on or off road”.
The interior of the car is what you’d expect from an Aston Martin; it’s luxurious and personalisation options are vast. But there’s nothing fuddy or vintage in sight, this is a modern and forward-looking vehicle. The company wants new blood, not simply to appeal to die-hard loyalists. It claims that its own research has revealed that nearly three-quarters of its clientele already has a luxury SUV. So, with the DBX, it hopes to appeal to an entirely new crowd; hopefully a far broader one.
But what are the numbers like? The DBX is launching with a 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo engine. It’ll produce 550 bhp and achieve 0 – 62 in 4.5 seconds; consider that it weighs 2,245 kg! Top speed is currently 181 mph, but faster versions are expected later down the line. It can also off-road, wading through water nearly 20-inches deep and ride height can be adjusted. It even has hill descent control, a first for the automaker.
Is It Enough?
Aston Martin is late to the luxury SUV game. SUVs make up around 45% of global car sales, so it’s not surprising that the likes of Lamborghini, Bentley and Porsche have jumped on the bandwagon. People want them, so spruce them up and render them ‘luxury’ and you’ve got an entirely new market. But for Aston, this isn’t just a bandwagon. It’s a new chapter for the entire business. CEO Andy Palmer sounds genuine when he stresses the excitement around the vehicle. He’s said, “I can’t emphasise enough how incredibly exciting and significant DBX is for Aston Martin. Through its development alone, this beautiful SUV has already taken the company into new territories and in inspiring directions. This is a real landmark for this great British brand and I promise that DBX will reward all who experience it in their everyday lives.”
A range of merchandise has already been made to accompany the car, including luggage and even a portable washer to hose down your canine companions. The first 500 DBXs will be part of a ‘1913’ package. Palmer will personally inspect these vehicles. Owners will receive a signed book charting the evolution of the car and an invite to a cocktail party in a Waldorf Astoria. A brand new factory has been opened in St Athan, Wales, specifically for the car, too.
We can’t help but feel that it’s a tall order to expect a single model to transform of a car maker’s fortunes around. Sure, it’s happened before; but it’s rare. At the same time, there’s no denying that the DBX seems to have had a lot of love, enthusiasm and excellence poured into it. If it’s not enough to transform the business in of itself, it’s certainly deserving of a second-wind for the company; Aston Martin still clearly has a lot to offer.
Iconic Cars: The Aston Martin DB5 And Its Bond Odyssey – https://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/iconic-cars-the-aston-martin-db5-and-its-bond-odyssey/
Aston Martin Woes Reveal Even Low-Volume Automakers Aren’t Safe – https://www.autoservefleet.co.uk/latest-news/aston-martin-woes/