The British icon chose the region for the launch event of the DBX
In August, there was quite a stir around Lagoa as a selection of Aston Martins made their way to the British brand’s launch event location at the elegant, frontline home of Spy Manor Productions in Ferragudo.
Four years in the making, the DBX is a brand new chapter in Aston Martin‘s 106-year history and is a sight to behold. At an astounding 5.04 metres long, with full panoramic roof windows and an incredible inside space, this first-edition SUV has excited the motorsports world, and it is an engineering masterpiece.
Essential Algarve met with the director of design for Aston Martin Lagonda, Miles Nurnberger, who has been with the brand since 2008 and was involved in building the DBX from the ground up. Miles comes from a family of artists, designers, and father who was a car enthusiast: “I went to the Royal College of Art in London at 12 years old, where I found scale models of cars and I knew that was what I wanted to do. Also, with a name like Miles, it seemed, as my sister joked, I was destined to do this job.”
With a starting price of €270,000, the DBX was crafted in its very own factory in St Athan, Wales, built from scratch, right from the chassis (which is unheard of in the sports car world). Every millimetre has been carefully studied, contemplated and manufactured to create the ultimate SUV with the soul of a sports car. “Driving the DBX brings a smile to your face,” says Miles. “I had the pleasure of taking one around the empty roads of England during the lockdown for a few days.”
Although this is the brand’s first SUV, the idea has been brewing for some time. “We’d done a lot of research into the concept internally. We had to convince ourselves that we could take our look, feel and DNA and apply it to an SUV and that took a while,” explains the director of design. “We did a series of scale models to show people how the DNA can be adapted, showcasing what we would include.” Miles says this is where his expertise was put into work, as he was responsible for how Aston Martins look and feel on the inside and out. For the DBX, he worked alongside chief engineer Matt Becker. “We worked very closely together to make sure that the sportscar feel, how it looks and how it works are in beautiful harmony.”
In fact, in its pursuit to offer some level of diversity, the brand did not leave anything up to chance. “I would say it’s the first Aston Martin that’s been designed from the inside out.” For instance, the space inside the DBX is more user-friendly for daily use compared to other models. “Getting in and out of the DBX is a very different experience to say a DB11 or a Vantage, I think for many people, that will be an advantage, although there’s a certain thrill in entering a sportscar,” says Miles. According to the designer, with handling that is much more akin to that of a sports car than an SUV, it was essential to raise the seating vision point out over the front and the positioning of the mirrors was crucial. The cabin has great proportions, along with all essential storage solutions for a comfortable journey.
Another characteristic that makes this model stand out is its size. At 5.04 metres long, the DBX is the longest wheelbase in its category. But there is much more: Aston Martin applied the curves centrally on the cabin to create a visual focal point, along with other design techniques to make it look so streamline. “The height of the shock towers over the front wheels, for example. We did a lot of work to get that quite low,” Miles reveals. “This allowed us to blend the corners, which if you sit in another some SUVs, you’ll see the bonnet is quite vertical, yet in the DBX it’s nearly horizontal with the corners being sculpted to create that visual line.”
Powered by a new version of the four-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 engine found in the DB11 and the Vantage, the DBX can churn out 542 horsepower. The V8 has cylinder deactivation to enhance fuel economy, yet it can also propel the car from 0 to 99.8km/h in 4.5 seconds and can surpass 290km/h at top speed. As for accessories, the DBX comes with all available active safety systems and there are many optional accessory packages to tailor the car to drivers’ needs, such as the Pet Package. “We had actually made a dog seat before, amazingly. We called it the ‘Can you just’ line, specifically for our VIP customers, so we knew there would be a demand for this range,” says the director of design.
Inside the car, a design highlight includes the elegantly crafted bridged centre console allowing for both flexible storage below and a beautiful, architectural centrepiece. The car can comfortably accommodate golf clubs, a pushchair, shopping and pets while maintaining a highly responsive and engaging dynamic capability. A contemporary range of exquisite wood, composite and metal veneers ensure that the cabin can be tailored to any taste. A 10.25” TFT screen sits elegantly flush in the centre console, while the infotainment system sits on a 12.3” TFT screen. The standard 360-degree camera system and ambient lighting that offers 64 different colours in two zones complete the sleek picture.
DBX’s exterior works as hard as the interior at bringing the DNA of Aston Martin’s sports cars into the world of the SUV. Elegant details such as the hidden side glass seals on the frameless doors and glass B-pillar finishers add an elegant sleekness. “The DBX is everything you could want in an SUV,” Miles states. “It’s the ultimate modern-day SUV with the undeniable soul of Aston Martin.”