Is it what you expected?
We already know Aston Martin's first SUV, rumored to be named Varekai, is set to begin production by late 2019. Its official debut is expected next March at Geneva. We also know its final design will not be identical to that of the DBX Concept, but has remained relatively unknown is its powertrain. Could it be a hybrid? Plug-in hybrid? Pure internal combustion? Australia's Motoring recently spoke with Aston Martin's chief creative officer Marek Reichmann who hinted that it's technically possible to drop a six-cylinder Mercedes-Benz engine under the luxury SUV's hood.
Remember, Aston Martin is already making use of Mercedes engines in, for example, the all-new Vantage. Makes no sense to stop there. "It could (use a Mercedes-sourced six-cylinder) because that would be a pretty good engine and combination. Potentially," said Reichmann. More specifically, Marek is very likely referring to Mercedes' new M256 turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six, which is also connected to a mild hybrid system and can produce up to around 382 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque.
So not only will the DBX/Varekai be the brand's first SUV crossover, but also its first hybrid vehicle. The latter trend will gradually make its way to additional Astons as well, specifically its sports and supercars. It's also possible, though not confirmed at this time, a fully electric version of this SUV will debut, but company sources remain tight-lipped on that subject for now.
But one thing is for certain: diesel is out of the question. "Never, ever, ever, ever, never, ever, ever. Never. Never! No diesels," Reichmann laughed. But what is happening next year is the debut of the Rapide-E, a fully-electric version of the Rapide that's limited to only 155 examples. "Why are we doing the Rapide-E? To understand what our customers want from electrification because Aston Martins are not typically, everyday-use cars. We want to know what's most important through feedback from the consumer," Reichmann said. Also remember that only last March did Aston launch its new Lagonda sub-brand, which will consist of an all-electric lineup.