First ride: 2020 Aston Martin DBX prototype not

2020 Aston Martin DBX camouflaged prototype ride - hero front Aston Martin's first SUV will be unveiled later this month, but we've had a preview

The car has been given early access to the Aston Martin DBX to have an attribute ahead of the car's unveiling on November 20, including the passenger seat next to Aston's chief engineer, Matt Becker.

The new SUV will be the most sophisticated car in the company's history when it arrives next year and Aston Martin has confirmed a starting price of £158,000.

The five-door 4x4 rides on a new aluminum platform and will be powered initially by a 542bhp Mercedes-AMG 4.0-liter V8 engine. The twin turbo has given Aston a tune, especially on the ear, with less bass than in its AMG applications. It drives through a nine torque-converter automatic transmission, the first time Aston has used a Mercedes 9G' transmission. Other powertrains and platform will be used for other Aston models.

The new platform allows the engine to be placed well back in the engine bay and none of the 22-inch front wheel overhangs block. Chassis sections are extruded along its entire length to ensure huge castings at every corner, providing greater hull strength. Aston says the torsional stiffness, at 27 Nm/deg, is high, but just as important is the hard-torque stiffness to reduce road noise.

There is a small, 54:46 front biased weight distribution on a 2245kg SUV. Aston values ​​a vehicle of high handling and, as a result, the extension of the DBX has a lot of dynamic systems “you can't live without”, according to Becker.

No double wishbones up front and a multi-link rear suspension, three-chamber air springs at each corner, Bilstein adaptive dampers and 48V active anti-roll bars, which Aston says are features to provide 1033lb ft of roll resistance, more torque than any competitor. Overall, the DBX is no less body roll than a bargain. Aston might not have swerved at all, but apparently that's "weird," Becker said.

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Aston heavily tested before launching the car into the new segment. He says he's tried almost all of his rivals, but primarily focused on the BMW X6 M, Range Rover Sport SVR and Porsche Cayenne Turbo. This car is a big leap for the Aston as the Cayenne is for the Porsche. “You have to change your test routines because sports car routines don't work,” says Becker.

Targets are challenging because the SUV's remit is so wide. “Working on it makes you a fan of SUVs,” Becker admitted.

The DBX extension has a center differential that can place up to 47% of the power to the front wheels or leave 100% to go to the rear where there is an electronically controlled limited slip differential. On the wet Stowe at Silverstone, which Aston recently approved as its test track, it was possible to move the car - not something customers never do, but evidence that Aston takes handling seriously, even in this sector of the market.

Different ride modes can drop the ride height by 30mm for road dynamism or raise it by 45mm off the road where, with Wade's 500mm depth and anti-roll bars, that works effectively. The DBX can pull 2,7 tons and 100 kg mounted on its roof. It is available regular, all season or winter tires, all made to order by Pirelli.

The DBX extensions seemed to be extremely capable off the road, although pulling a field horse through wet grass is a “metric” of consumer demand, Becker said.

On Aston roll bars, the engines cannot be deactivated and will drag, so sometimes, instead of momentarily reducing roll, force is applied to them to increase suspension travel and make the car ride smoother.

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This, you suspect, is the most difficult part of getting the car to feel right: endless hours, days, weeks of tuning, all in the hope that when you finally try it, it feels natural to you, the customer. There is no active rear steer for this reason.

The car we saw was coated on the inside, but surreptitiously peeking and poking under the carpets showed that Aston had taken material that was quality more seriously than in their sports cars and the new image seems to confirm this. It gets Mercedes' electric architecture, with the latest generation infotainment system, cooler-looking instruments than other business and less obvious plastics.

It's also spacious, seating tall adults behind tall adults with ease and with generous rear seat access.

Aston hasn't confirmed the exact specs, but says the DBX doesn't have a longer wheelbase than the Bentley Bentayga can (which is 2995mm), but is slightly shorter overall (for the Bentayga is 5140mm long), which means a small wheel-arch entry around the tailgate. Trunk space is 480 liters.

The car we saw was a '1PT' prototype, the first of three phases of prototypes built at Aston's new plant in St Athan, Wales: -2PT and 3PT, with 1 models in operation, first customer cars arriving at showrooms in late spring.

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