The wild woods of Wales are hosting a very different beastie as Aston Martin begins testing of its first SUV, the DBX.
Prototypes of the high-powered family hauler are being run over well-known rally stages in the to accelerate development of the DBX, which is not scheduled for an official launch until late next year with Australian deliveries in 2020.
Aston promises the gruelling test program for the DBX will take the car to “some of the world’s harshest environments”, starting from the Welsh test close to Aston Martin’s home in the British midlands and including the arctic, the Middle East and autobahns in Germany. Inevitably, there will be high-speed laps at the Nurburgring.
Early driving is in the hands of the company’s chief engineer, Matt Becker, who is unsurprisingly enthusiastic about the early Welsh results.
“DBX is a very different kind of Aston Martin, but we will be testing it in all conditions and across all terrains to ensure it delivers a driving experience worthy of the wings badge,” says Becker.
“We have already developed and tuned DBX in the driving simulator, which has enabled us to make excellent progress in advance of the first physical prototype cars being available. Still, it’s always a big day when you get to put the first actual miles on an early prototype and I’m delighted with the near perfect correlation between the simulator and this prototype.
“As an engineer, it’s genuinely exciting to get a feel for the car you’re working to create.”
The DBX will be up against a growing number of high-priced and high-performance SUVs, including the Maserati Levante and Lamborghini Urus.
Power for the DBX has not been revealed, with most speculation around a high-powered V8 flagship with petrol-electric hybrid to follow, although it will be built at Aston Martin’s all-new St Athan factory which will be the company’s centre for electrification.