Why the Aston Martin DBX SUV Looks the Way It Does
It turns out the team had a blank sheet of paper—in nearly every way.
Veteran British designer Marek Reichman has been in the industry for 29 years, the last 15 with Aston Martin Lagonda, and he has an imposing official title: chief creative officer. He has a distinguished résumé to support it, including being responsible for both Rolls-Royce and Land Rover brands when he was with BMW. He also turned out some truly impressive grand touring coupes and sedans with storied but usually troubled Aston Martin.
He seems to be, rightfully, particularly proud of the DBX, which has a spacious interior capable, as he put it, of "transporting a complete basketball team." Well, at least the starting five. Quite a tall man himself, Reichman can sit very comfortably behind the driver's seat when it is in his desired position. Those who have been seen the car in the metal note it is much bigger than it appears to be in images, or even upon seeing it at a distance. Only upon approaching it does its size manifest itself. The overall proportions are really good. This is in large part due to the atypically long wheelbase, made possible because there was no other platform involved in the program that might have restricted the design team too much.
"No fixed hard points, no dimensional restrictions," Reichman said. "We have little front or rear overhang, we were free to do what we thought best. The engine is behind the front wheels, the weight distribution is favorable, and the dynamic capability is exceptional because it's an Aston Martin." Of course.
Asked about aerodynamics, Reichman emphasized his team's concern for stability—this is a rather fast vehicle, after all. This encouraged serious testing to confirm its capabilities, including making use of computational fluid dynamics, a far cry from using tufts of yarn taped to an already-determined form. For a large vehicle, the weight is much less than some of its rivals, in part due to materials choices. The main structure is aluminum, but to avoid the high-stress, high-weight problems of a rear liftgate, the team made the entire frame for the rear opening out of composites, and made the lift panel composite, as well.
The interaction of various constraints led the team to eliminate the rear wiper, a heavy element, and to use the slot ahead of the overhanging rear roof fairing to direct clean air down the backlight. This keeps the glass clean, and the airstream behind the car clean, as well. Because it's an Aston Martin, of course.