The Aston Martin DBX is getting a new entry-level powertrain, but it’s set to be exclusive to the Chinese market.
Aston Martin says the DBX Straight Six will be offered only in China, and there are currently no plans to expand availability to other markets.
It’s powered by a turbocharged 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder engine with a 48V mild-hybrid system.
Matched with a nine-speed automatic transmission, the Mercedes-AMG-sourced six pumps out 324kW of power and 520Nm of torque.
Those outputs are essentially unchanged from models like the Mercedes-AMG E53, and Aston Martin claims a 0-100km/h time of 5.4 seconds and a combined cycle fuel economy figure of 10.5L/100km on the WLTP test cycle.
For context, the 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8-powered DBX has a 0-100km/h time of 4.5 seconds, puts out 405kW and 700Nm, and has a WLTP fuel economy figure of 13L/100km.
There’s little in the way of cosmetic differences between the Straight-Six and the regular V8, with changes limited to details like badging.
Adaptive air suspension is available, as it is on the V8, while wheels measure 21- or 22-inches.
Although it hasn’t fitted a six-cylinder engine since 1999, Aston Martin is no stranger to six-pot performance. The legendary DB5 was powered by a 4.0-litre inline-six, for example.
The Straight-Six allows Aston Martin to offer a DBX variant in China that attracts less in the way of import taxes.
The DBX reportedly accounts for around 70 per cent of Aston Martin’s Chinese sales. Globally, the DBX is expected to account for around 50 per cent of Aston Martin’s sales in 2021, or around 3000 units.
The AMG 53 powertrain is step one in a plan to expand the range of DBX models beyond the current twin-turbo, 4.0-litre V8-only line-up.
CEO Tobias Moers told Autocar a plug-in hybrid is coming and is “more or less linked now to the facelift of the DBX”. The facelift is due in 2024.
Moers confirmed a higher-performance DBX variant will be introduced in spring 2022 (our autumn) and offered in all markets.
What appears to be a DBX S has repeatedly been snapped testing, and this hotter DBX could borrow the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 4-Door Coupe’s 470kW/900Nm twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8.
Less likely is the chance of Aston Martin putting its own V12 engine under the bonnet.
Under the agreement, Aston Martin will get access to the latest electric and plug-in hybrid technology from Mercedes-Benz.