Aston’s first SUV is looking to usurp the Lamborghini Urus and BMW X6M right at the top of the hot SUV market

Aston Martin’s manufacturing facility in St Athan, Wales has officially begun pre-production of the DBX SUV, the British marque’s first foray into the high-end SUV segment edges closer.

Over the past year, we’ve seen the prototypes in Welsh forests, frigid snow and on the ubiquitous Nordschleife undergoing its exhaustive testing regime, but these models have been early hand-build prototypes. The red car you see here is much closer to the production model, proven by the production-standard lighting units and polyurethane bumpers, and represents the final phase of testing the DBX has finally entered.

Aston Martin Lagonda CEO, Andy Palmer said: ‘This is an exciting time for Aston Martin Lagonda. Our second luxury manufacturing facility is now producing cars and is ready to go into full production in H1 2020. Our facilities and manufacturing teams, led by VP and Chief Manufacturing Operations Officer Keith Stanton have done an outstanding job in getting the factory ready almost a year before full production starts, on time and on budget.’

We can instantly see that this will be a four-door, two-box (or sorts) SUV with a sloping rear roofline and high-waisted windowline. The overall shape is much sleeker than many high-end SUV rivals such as the Bentley Bentayga, having a profile more akin to the Maserati Levante or BMW X6.

The incoming production car itself will have little to do with the DBX Concept that was first previewed at the 2015 Geneva motor show. That car’s lifted two-door coupe body has clearly made way for a more standardised four-door body shape.

Powering the DBX is expected to be the AMG-sourced M177 engine that is currently used in the DB11 V8 and Vantage, albeit tuned to suit the less overtly sporting character of the DBX. We also expect Aston’s own 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12 to be offered, chiefly to appeal to markets abroad like the Middle East and China, which will run through Aston Martin’s first ever all-wheel-drive system.

As part of Aston Martin’s expansion, the electric Lagonda sub-brand should also inject some of its hybridisation know-how back into the Aston Martin range, leading to a hybridised DBX later in the model’s life-cycle.

Of course, like all luxury SUVs, the DBX’s key deliverable will be to offer a hugely varied skill set; needing to be as happy on the challenging dirt roads of Wales (as seen here) as it is belting up and down the autobahns in Germany at high speed. Aston Martin has focused on this duality of purpose, ensuring that like no Aston Martin before, towing, off-roading driving and hauling a week’s worth of luggage is all possible.

Chassis guru Matt Becker has also had an important role in the initial phases of development, ensuring that the DBX still feels like an Aston Martin to drive on the road, where most will doubtless spend a majority of their time.

The DBX will be revealed in full later in 2019, where it will soon after go into full production at Aston Martin’s manufacturing facility at St Athan in Wales. This new factory will not only produce the DBX, but also be capable of developing and building Aston’s forthcoming range of Lagonda and electric vehicles too.