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Now boarding: Aston Martin DBX


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The British luxury brand’s first-ever SUV finally lands

UNDOUBTEDLY, Aston Martin surely received, well, a shot in the arm with its highly publicized return into the world of Formula 1 racing — with no less than four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel leading the charge.

But it doesn’t stop there. The marque’s very visible reappearance in the highest echelon of motorsport is further underscored by the involvement of two of its vehicle models in the actual races. This season, Aston Martin shares safety car and medical car honors with Mercedes-Benz. The Aston Martin Vantage alternates with the Mercedes AMG GT R as official safety car, while the Aston Martin DBX and C63 S Estate take charge as medical cars.

That’s a whole lot of eyeballs the British brand is going to get over the course of the racing season, and the DBX in particular should be served well by the attention.

After all, this is the very first sport utility vehicle for James Bond’s automotive brand of choice.

Now, the DBX finally touches down in the Philippines. “Since its global release in 2019, the Philippines has been anticipating its arrival and DBPhils Motorsports, Inc., under the Tagle Group of Companies, is finally marking its territory with the local launch of this most-awaited luxury sports utility vehicle,” said the distributor in a release.

Aston Martin Manila Chairman and President Marc Louie Y. Tagle added, “We are confident that this move of Aston Martin will be warmly embraced by the Filipino market. Admittedly, we are an SUV nation — we love to cruise with our adventurous spirit, and bring family, friends, and loved ones along for the ride. Aston Martin captures this passion and adds its trademark luxury and beauty for the ultimate driving experience.”

Mr. Tagle said during a virtual press conference ahead of the DBX launch last Friday that since Aston Martin set up shop in Manila in 2015, less than 100 total units have been sold, which speaks to “exclusivity of owning an Aston Martin.”

So, even with the enthusiasm surrounding the local release of the DBX, the executive expects to sell at least five units for the rest of the year. And that’s actually good.

Consider that the Aston Martin DBX is priced in the neighborhood of P24.5 million — no chump change, and you get not only the vaunted Aston Martin exclusivity, but a whole lot of vehicle.

Under the hood growls a new version of the company’s 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8 — also found in the DB11 and Vantage. Tuned for the DBX, it delivers 550ps and 700Nm. To temper its thirst, the V8 has cylinder deactivation to enhance fuel economy. Still it can slingshot the DBX from standstill to 100kph in 4.5 seconds — onto a top speed of around 290kph.

The lucky driver can access the performance promises through a nine-speed torque converter automatic gearbox, connected to an all-wheel drive system with active differentials featuring an active central differential and an electronic rear limited slip differential (eDiff). This means torque can be managed between the front and rear wheels, and even across the two rears. “When combined with the bespoke steering system that has been tuned to deliver feel and sports car-like response, DBX imbues the driver with an overriding sense of control, whatever the conditions,” said Aston Martin.

Aston Martin Director of Operations for Asia-Pacific Patrik Nilsson shared that in countries that have started taking deliveries of the DBX, the model is already carving out its share of the niche in luxury market. “We’re proud to have particularly strong market share right here in Asia-Pacific,” he averred.

Meanwhile, Aston Martin Manila Marketing Head Fiel Tan said, “Aston Martin owners are those who love cars that are not just jaw-dropping to look at, but also thrilling to drive, and the DBX lives up to these qualities. This is a pivotal moment for the brand, and we could not have been more excited to showcase this to the Philippine market.”

Replying to a question from “Velocity,” Mr. Tagle said that there is a lot of excitement surrounding the DBX, which is a very important model for the brand indeed. “The company invested in a brand-new factory just for the DBX,” he shared. Commensurately, as soon as word got out about the SUV, local fans of the brand “lined up.”

Quipped Mr. Tagle, “We had more than 100 leads!”

Obviously though, not all will have the wherewithal for a vehicle such as the DBX, and those who do will be welcomed into a (rightfully so) luxuriously handcrafted interior. Aston Martin also reports that the “DBX has been designed to provide equal space and comfort whether sitting in the front or rear of the car. Class-leading headroom and legroom combines with a full-length glass panoramic roof and frameless door glass to offer a fantastically light and spacious cabin environment.”

Front sports car seats not only provide adequate bolstering for dynamic driving, but has the additional benefit of ensuring knee and footwell clearance for those sitting in the second row. Other accoutrements include separate central armrests, glovebox, and the ergonomic positioning of the car’s key control systems, “have been guided carefully by the input of the brand’s Female Advisory Board, dealership feedback and a variety of private focus groups held worldwide.” The company said that the guidance, not limited to this area, “has been key to the success of DBX’s overall design.”

Full-grain leather sourced from longtime partner Bridge of Weir covers the seats; the headlining and electric roof blind are available in Alcantara finish. Metal, glass, and wood are tastefully used elsewhere — leading to “authenticity.” The personalization service, Q by Aston Martin, is also available for even greater levels of customization.

Mr. Tagle concluded by inviting people to take a look at the DBX in the sheet metal. “It looks much better in person than in photos,” he promised with smile.

The Aston Martin Manila Showroom is located at W Fifth Building, 5th Avenue Cor. 32nd St., Taguig. For more information, call (02) 8771-0007.