Aston Martin unveils a $190,000 SUV
(CNN) -- Aston Martin unveiled its first SUV Tuesday in Los Angeles and at a simultaneous event in Beijing. The British sports car company joins a long list of brands, including Lamborghini, Bentley and Rolls-Royce, for which an SUV would have once been unthinkable, but is now a reality.
With the DBX, Aston Martin hopes to extend the appeal of its brand beyond sports car fans who are willing to sacrifice practicality for style and performance.
"I can't emphasize enough how incredibly exciting and significant DBX is for Aston Martin," CEO Andy Palmer said in a statement. "Through its development alone, this beautiful SUV has already taken the company into new territories and in inspiring directions."
In the United States, prices for the DBX will start at about $190,000, or about $40,000 more than the automaker's least expensive model, the Vantage. Sticker prices for some other Aston Martin cars exceed $300,000.
In designing the DBX, Aston Martin relied partly on the input of a female advisory board made up of female Aston Martin owners.
"They've been brought in to the process of design really far in advance to make sure that the car, not just from a design standpoint but from functionality, size and space perspectives, works for, not just men but women, as well," said Laura Schwab, president of Aston America of the Americas.
The design of the armrests, the glove compartment and various control systems were partly guided by the female advisory board, according to Aston Martin.
Besides being Aston Martin's first SUV, the DBX is also the first vehicle from the luxury auto maker to offer five adult-sized seats. Most other Aston Martins either have two tiny seats in the back, comfortable perhaps for small children, or no backseat at all.
Besides being tested on racetracks like Germany's Nürburgring, a normal testing environment for Aston Martins, DBX prototypes were also driven on off-road rally courses and other rugged terrain, the company said.
"It has all of the dynamic capabilities of our sports cars, and some of that off-road capability as well," creative director Marek Reichman said at the Los Angeles unveiling.
The body of the DBX has a slope-backed profile, classic Aston Martin proportions and the brand's famous catfish-mouth grill. In fact, it has the biggest grill Aston Martin has ever put on a vehicle, Reichman said.
It's powered by a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine built by Mercedes' AMG division in Germany. It's a slightly modified version of the engines used in some Aston Martin DB11 and Vantage sports cars. In the DBX, it produces up to 542 horsepower.
Schwab would not say how many DBXs Aston Martin expects to sell, only that the figure is likely to be limited more by Aston Martin’s slow production processes rather than by demand. The company is building a new factory in Wales to assemble the SUV. It will be available outside North America in the second quarter of 2020 and in North America later that year.
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