It’s funny because this automaker already builds the sports car that everyone likes to benchmark.
Aston Martin has been making a lot of noise about its upcoming DBX lately, which is very likely because it's planning on unveiling its new SUV soon. Rumors claim that reveal will happen at this year's Pebble Beach Concurs d'Elegance, set to take place in Monterey, California in mid-August.
But until that happens, we have to learn about the DBX through the details Aston Martin employees seem to be giving away in interviews, like the one Motoring recently conducted with chief engineer Matt Becker and creative boss Marek Reichman. In it, the two Aston Martin team members outlined how the DBX is not just an SUV with an Aston Martin body, but a true sporting vehicle with 007 levels of class.
And of course, the Aston Martin DBX has big shoes to fill if it expects to displace sales of other high-priced SUVs in different performance classes (though not different price brackets) like the Lamborghini Urus, Rolls-Royce Cullinan, and Porsche Cayenne. "The two unique selling propositions are to be the best looking SUV on the road and the best SUV dynamically on the road," said Becker. "I think Marek has done his job. And we're on target as well."
Reichman credits that accomplishment to the fact that Aston Martin was free to make its own platform from the ground-up using the $1 billion, 350 engineers and design specialists, and 4 years of build time the company has allocated towards the DBX project. "We can do it because it's our platform," said Reichman. "I'm not constrained by having a grandfather or hand-me-down platform."
When asked about which SUV the DBX will be most like, Reichman brought up the Porsche Cayenne, which is interesting because most automakers that want to build a sports car tend to benchmark their vehicle against the Porsche 911. Reichman's claim is good news considering the Cayenne is a vehicle that's dynamically more impressive than the Bentley Bentayga and Rolls-Royce Cullinan but not as outlandish as the Lamborghini Urus.
"The one we focussed heavily on is the Cayenne Turbo, and we want to be above that," he said. "We've gone for something that is dynamically better than a Cayenne, sounds better than a Cayenne. We need to make the car drive like it looks." In order to ensure the DBX can handle like its competitors, Aston Martin sent the SUV benchmarks, which also included the BMW X6 M, to the Nurburgring and even blasted them up and down the autobahn at 186 mph.
"The thing that shocked me was the range of capabilities of these cars," said Reichman. "We took the learning from that and looked to translate the way the DB11 drives, and translate that to an SUV."