Aston Martin sprung a rare motor show surprise by revealing the DBX Concept at the 2015 Geneva fair - just don’t call it an SUV, because Aston Martin certainly isn’t.
The all-electric, all-wheel drive high-riding crossover coupe is the first of it’s kind to come from the heralded Aston Martin stable, and it may strengthen ties with Mercedes-Benz and AMG parent company Daimler.
Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer flatly refused to use the term SUV during the presentation, despite the DBX Concept following all the cues we've come to expect of such a title. The crowd's reception was mixed on the show floor when the covers were removed with some describing it as ugly, while others loved the avant-garde styling.
After securing an extra 150 million pounds ($294m) in additional funding from the company’s main shareholders, Palmer suggested the DBX Concept could tap into the Daimler partnership heavily.
“This vehicle could use a four-wheel-drive architecture from Daimler, which is already supplying Aston with electronics and V8 engines from it’s AMG performance division under the deal signed in 2013,” he said.
Palmer went on to say that a deal had neither been agreed to, nor ruled out, despite the joint venture seemingly making sense for an SUV-style vehicle.
What the cash injection has done, though, is allow Aston Martin to commit to a "consistently sustainable level of spending on new models" according to Palmer.
Palmer explained that the jacked up two-door concept "redefines the luxury GT segment for the 21st century" and "targets a far more diverse global audience for the British brand than any previous model offered".
"The DBX Concept is a challenge to the existing status quo in the high-end, luxury GT segment," Palmer told the assembled media throng.
He went on to explain that he asked his design team to expand their thinking, to explore what the future of the luxury GT segment might look like, and that the two-door, four-seat high-riding DBX is the end result of that request.
“It envisages a world that perhaps isn't too far away, when GT travel is not simply stylish and luxurious, but also practical, family friendly and more responsible in an environmental sense,” he said.
Palmer went on to explain that the DBX is certainly not a production-ready reality despite being an accurate pointer to the future.
“It’s is fresh, it’s bold, and it shows the thinking about what our GT customers could potentially expect from us in the future,” he said.
Chief creative officer Marek Reichman is the man responsible for the eye-catching design, and he said that the electric four-seat DBX Concept "signals the direction of an extension to the brand’s existing model lines in future".
Aston Martin did not release any technical or specification information for the DBC Concept aside from the fact that it is entirely electric, with in-wheel motors powering lithium sulphur cell batteries. The company did emphasise the fact that the DBX Concept illustrates its intent to offer day-day-day usability and practicality with generous luggage capacity - both up front and out back, thanks to the lack of a conventional petrol engine.
If the DBX Concept is to make its way into production expect the vehicle to be loaded with up-to-the-minute high-end technology such as drive-by-wire electric steering, auto-dimming smart glass, inter-layered external glass, head-up displays for driver and passenger, active LED lighting, carbon-ceramic brakes, an F1-style KERS recovery system and side cameras instead of door-mounted mirrors.
Both Palmer and Reichman reiterated that a concept vehicle like the DBX Concept should challenger conventional thinking of what the public expects form a brand, and explore the boundaries of what is possible. Both believe that the DBX Concept would appeal to not only exiting Aston Marin customers, but a a whole new base of buyers.
Despite the almost certain rise in volume that an SUV would achieve, Palmer was adamant that sales would be capped at 7000 globally per annum to ensure the brand maintained its sense of exclusivity.