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Geneva show: Aston crosses over with DBX

Diversification: The DBX is in-the-metal proof that Aston Martin is looking to reach out to a more diverse global audience.

Aston Martin reinterprets the luxury GT with all-electric AWD DBX crossover concept

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Aston Martin logo4 Mar 2015

By TERRY MARTIN

ASTON Martin is preparing to branch out from its traditional high-end sports-luxury coterie, unveiling an all-electric four-wheel-drive crossover concept dubbed DBX at the Geneva motor show overnight.

The hallowed British marque claims the DBX “redefines the luxury GT segment for the 21st century” and was created to broaden the brand’s appeal and to “reach out to a more diverse global audience than ever before”.

This is clearly one of the first directives from chief executive Andy Palmer, the former Nissan heavyweight who left the Japanese brand last September after more than two decades of service and promptly set about leading Aston Martin “in its next phase of technology and product creation”.

Enter the DBX, a vehicle that Mr Palmer describes as “a challenge to the existing status quo in the high luxury GT segment”.

“It envisages a world, perhaps a world not too far away, when luxury GT travel is not only stylish and luxurious but also more practical, more family-friendly and more environmentally responsible,” he said.

“I asked my team at Aston Martin to expand their thinking beyond conventions, to explore what the future of luxury GT motoring would look like in years ahead, and the DBX concept you see before you is the result.”

He said it was “more than a thought starter for us” but with the caveat: “This is, clearly, not a production-ready sports GT car, but it is a piece of fresh, bold thinking about what Aston Martin GT customers around the world could request of us in the future.”

Overseen by chief creative officer Marek Reichman, the DBX was created at Aston’s global headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire, to also represent a “major evolution” of the brand’s design language.

The exterior design is meant to emphasise the use of authentic materials, with the ‘bright work’ crafted from machined billet aluminium with visible milling lines, for example.

A unique ‘Black Pearl Chromium’ paint finish was created to mimic the look of a genuine black pearl, and comprises a micro-fine layer of chrome “to deliver a level of reflectivity that cannot be obtained through normal paint”.

Inside, the cabin is deliberately swathed in “non-automotive standard materials” such as velvet-like Nubuck leather, which contrasts with the “hard, hi-tech equipment” onboard.

Some of the practical elements inherent in the concept include spacious accommodation for four adults and a large luggage capacity “by virtue of the fact that its rear trunk and forward load bay can both accept passengers’ belongings”.

There are few technical details provided, with Aston simply highlighting that no engine compartment is required due to the use of electric in-wheel motors powered by lithium sulphur cells.

The only other examples given of technology in the vehicle are the employment of drive-by-wire electric steering, auto-dimming ‘smart glass’, active LED exterior lights, carbon ceramic brakes with a kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS), rear-view cameras in place of conventional mirrors, and bespoke driver and passenger head-up displays.

“A concept car such as this should, in my view, challenge conventional thinking and explore the art of the possible,” Mr Palmer said.

“In the DBX concept, I believe we have created a new type of luxury car that can not only broaden the appeal of Aston Martin to a whole new generation of customers, but sit with pride alongside the rest of our range.”

As GoAuto reported last year, Aston Martin was reportedly in talks with Mercedes-Benz to build an SUV as a way to expand its existing line-up and boost global sales.

It had previously shown a Mercedes GL-based SUV concept it called the Lagonda at the 2009 Geneva motor show, but subsequently shelved the program.

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