The super-SUV segment is one that thrives on excess. Consider the 642bhp Lamborghini Urus, or the 626bhp, twin-turbo W12-powered Bentley Bentayga. These are two vehicles Aston Martin is aiming at with its new DBX, so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the company’s 5.2-litre, twin-turbo V12 appearing under the bonnet eventually.
However, when speaking to Car Throttle at a DBX prototype drive event in Oman, Aston Martin chief engineer Matt Becker poured cold water on the idea. “The problem is we haven’t intended to fit the V12 in it because of the driveline,” he said, adding, “The transmission and the active centre diff… they all have torque capacity limits.”
Even if it would be feasible, a V12 option would require a substantial amount of further work - not the easiest business case to make given the limited scope for such a derivative outside of markets like the Middle East. If you want an Aston with 12 cylinders, it’s going to have to be a DB11 or a DBS Superleggera for the foreseeable future.
Becker also spoke about the vehicle’s bespoke platform, and why Aston decided to go its own way rather than sourcing a platform from technology partner and AM shareholder Daimler, or any other party.
“Right at the start of the project when we did all the benchmarking and target setting, Marek [Reichman, Aston’s Chief Creative Officer] and the design team were very clear that had they carried over a platform, so many points on the car would have been fixed and that would have really restricted the design,” He said.
Ultimately, Becker views the lack of platform sharing as a good thing. “We’re at an advantage because we can do our own stuff. We haven’t got to tune the car within bandwidths that perhaps competitors have to because they have a platform they have to carry over,” he added. Aston Martin had a lot more freedom than most competitors - four of its rival cars all sit on the same VW MLB platform, for example.
The downside is cost. Developing a whole new vehicle architecture isn’t cheap, and that means it’s highly likely the platform will be used for more than just the DBX. Becker hinted: “You wouldn’t invest that amount of money and leave it where it’s at. You could consider all sorts of options for the future.”
A Porsche Panamera rival from Aston Martin, perhaps? Becker wouldn’t confirm either way, but we’re already dreaming up renders.
The full report on our prototype drive will be out on 15 January.