New Land Rover Defender to star in 25th James Bond film

Land Rover has confirmed that the new Defender will have a starring role in the next James Bond film. 

The latest instalment in the iconic secret agent series, No Time to Die, will be released in the UK on April 3 2020, and will feature the reborn off-roader taking part in a traditional car chase sequence. 

The exact nature of the Defender’s role is yet to be confirmed, but Land Rover claims the production’s stunt team have driven it in “the most extreme off-road conditions, demonstrating its unstoppable nature”. 

A video clip released by the firm shows a group of Defenders being driven at speed on challenging off-road terrain and jumping high into the air, with one clip showing the car seemingly rolling onto its side. 

The Defender selected for the film is the mid-sized 110 variant, which will arrive in UK dealerships ahead of the shorter 90 and longer 130. It has been specified in range-topping X trim, and equipped with optional equipment including darkened skid plans, 20in black alloy wheels and heavy-duty off-road tyres. 


Aston Martin Vantage Volante Spied Looking Dark On A Foggy Day

It’s not a good day to open the roof.

The Aston Martin Vantage Volante is getting ready to open its roof, but the top stays closed in these spy shots that catch the car driving on a foggy day. As the doors and hood proclaim the production version of this roadster arrives in spring 2020.

Gallery: Aston Martin Vantage Volante Spy Photos

There isn’t any camouflage on this Vantage Volante. The styling largely identical to the coupe, except for the fabric roof and revised rear deck. When the top is open, there’s a transparent panel between the seats that acts as a wind deflector when in place. Other than this tiny change, the cabin should be identical to the hardtop model. 

Aston says the Vantage Volante packs the Mercedes-AMG-sourced 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 making 503 horsepower (375 kilowatts) and 505 pound-feet (685 Newton-meters) of torque that runs through an eight-speed automatic. The roof mechanism and body stiffening will likely add some weight to the coupe’s 3,373-pound (1,530-kilogram) weight. This will likely mean a few ticks more than hardtop’s 3.5 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour).

It’s not yet clear whether Aston intends to offer an AMR version of the Volante. If it follows the coupe version, the driver-focused model would get a seven-speed manual with a dog-leg first gear. The weight falls by 209 pounds (95 kilograms) on the hardtop thanks in part to carbon-ceramic brakes, and there are adaptive dampers with Sport, Sport +, and Track modes.

Don’t get your hopes up for a V12-powered version of the Vantage Volante. Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman previously said that he thought the bigger mill would be “too much” for the car.

Look for the Vantage Volante to sell for a premium over the $149,995 coupe. However, the figure should be quite a bit less than the $216,495 DB11 Volante to keep space between them in the lineup.




Aston Martin DBX Lights Up The Night In New Teaser

Are you ready for the first Aston Martin SUV?

The upcoming Aston Martin DBX SUV is almost here, but before it debuts on November 20th of 2019 we have a new teaser trailer to analyze. So without further waiting let’s figure out what’s happening in this video.

Gallery: Aston Martin DBX Lights Up The Night In New Teaser

The scene opens, night time, Head on My Shoulders sung by Benedic Lamdin and Riaan Vosloo plays in the background. The Aston Martin DBX drives down a winding country backroad LED high beams cut through the pitch-black darkness. Cut as we enter a city at night, traffic lights reflect off the SUV. Cutaway shots of leather, low profile tires, and the Aston Martin badge flash across the screen. Finally, the DBX slips into the darkness of the night sporting tail lights very similar to the latest Vantage. 

Aston Martin recently confirmed that the upcoming DBX will start at $192,086 which is very similar to the Lamborghini Urus SUV. Power will come from a Mercedes AMG based twin-turbo V8 which produces 542 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission. This is a familiar combination seen on Mercedes AMG products which have proven to be very effective.

To keep all of this power in check, Aston Martin confirmed the DBX will use an adjustable suspension and electronic anti-roll bars. The DBX is said to be based on the DB11 coupe and features an aluminum bonded structure to help keep weight down. SUVs like the Bentley Betayga and Mercedes GLS use similar systems with great results. 

Based on the teaser we can see similar modern Aston Martin design cues from the DB11 and Vantage. Even with the quick shots in a dark setting, this SUV is unmistakably an Aston Martin. With the debut right around the corner, we’re very excited to finally see the DBX sans camouflage and report how it drives.


Fresh Aston Martin losses blamed on lower Vantage demand

Aston Martin has announced a quarterly loss as it continues to struggle following its listing on the London Stock Exchange last year.

The car maker announced a third quarter pre-tax loss of £13.5 million. That compares unfavourably with a profit of £3.1m in the same period last year, and follows a £79m loss in the second quarter of 2019. Overall pre-tax losses for 2019 stand at £92.3m.

Shares rose by around 8% this morning as the results have beaten initial expectations and keep Aston’s profit guidance for 2019 intact. However, they have since dropped back to previous levels and gone even further, hitting a new all-time low of 402.30 this lunchtime. 

The news is blamed on lower-than-expected demand for the Vantage. Just 878 have been registered in the first nine months of 2019 in Europe – less than half the number of 911s that Porsche registered in September alone.

CEO Andy Palmer told the Financial Times: “The segment of the market in which Vantage competes is declining, and, notwithstanding a growing market share, Vantage demand remains weaker than our original plans. As a consequence, total wholesale volumes are down year-on-year as we balance growth, brand positioning and dealer inventories”.

Aston has a lot riding on its upcoming DBX SUV, which will be revealed on November 20 before customer deliveries begin in the second quarter of next year.


First ride: 2020 Aston Martin DBX prototype

New Aston Martin Vantage Roadster: first images released

Aston Martin DBS GT Zagato: 760bhp special revealed


New Hyundai i20 Spied With Digital Instrument Cluster

The rev counter spins counterclockwise like in an Aston Martin.

After revealing the pint-sized i10 a few months ago in Frankfurt, Hyundai has been spotted putting the finishing touches on its bigger brother, the next-generation i20. Likely too small to ever reach North America, the supermini is still stubbornly carrying an extensive amount of camouflage to conceal its exterior design, but our spies have managed to take a quick look inside the cabin.

Right from the start, we’re noticing the analog instrument cluster has been removed to make room for an all-digital setup. It’s too soon to say whether the big screen will replace the physical needles and dials even on the base model or it’s going to be offered only on the more expensive i20 variants. Whatever the case may be, it seems like the digital rev counter will spin counterclockwise akin to some Aston Martin models.

The image at the top also gives us an opportunity to check out the subcompact hatchback’s rear end design where the taillights seem to continue on the tailgate where there’s a wide light strip, unless we’re looking at a giant piece of trim. The graphic showing the i20’s derrière came up on the digital dash as part of the Lane Departure Warning system the prototype featured. It was a relatively new test vehicle, with only 2,269 kilometers (1,409 miles) on the clock.

Gallery: 2020 Hyundai i20 new spy photos

To the right of the driver’s display is the infotainment system shaped like a tablet as it’s becoming the norm nowadays on new cars. The reason why everything is in German probably has to do with the fact the i20 is being partially developed in at Hyundai’s Europe Technical Center located in Rüsselsheim. The fairly generous size of the touchscreen hasn’t eliminated physical controls as there’s still a row of conventional buttons right below the display, along with a dial also incorporating the power button.

Look down on the center console and you’ll see the climate control settings with a dedicated screen, along with a couple of USB ports to hook up and recharge your smartphone or other mobile devices. The layout of the controls on the steering wheel is similar to what you’re going to find in the current i20, but the placement of some functions has changed.

Previous spy shots have revealed Hyundai is preparing a fully fledged N hot hatch model to take on the Ford Fiesta ST and the Volkswagen Polo GTI. The test mule carrying a modified body of the current i20 had dual exhaust tips and wider fenders, but the engine’s identity remained a mystery. It could get a turbocharged 1.6-liter good for 174 hp as seen in the Kona or even 200 hp available in the Kia Ceed GT.

Look for an official premiere of the regular Hyundai i20 sometime next year, with the N version likely not too far behind.




Aston Martin DBX: pricing confirmed from £158,000

Previously only a single image teasing the interior had been officially released, showing a portion of the car not clad in its now-familiar prototype camouflage and revealing that a chunky black plastic rear bumper will be available. Bootspace was then confirmed as well, with the DBX’s 632-litre rear loadspace giving it a significant practicality advantage over its Bentley Bentayga rival. 

The new range of accessories, available from the model’s launch, includes a number of separate options packs to suit the owner’s hobbies and pastimes. The Snow Pack, for example, contains a boot warmer, ski bag, roof-mounted ski rack and set of snow chains. The Pet Pack, meanwhile, brings a bumper protector, a portable washer and a cabin divider, while the more conventional Touring Pack comprises a tailored luggage set with first aid kit and under-seat locker.  

Additional packages include the Essentials Pack, Event Pack, Interior Protection Pack and Expression Pack. Aston Martin says it has “worked with its trusted brand partners to ensure that it is offering the best solutions to customers, whatever the usage, journey or destination”. 

Ahead of launch the DBX was papped without any disguise during what looks like a promotional shoot by Spanish site Autopista. As expected, the design has significantly moved on from the concept, with a front-end inspired by the DB11 and details such as a tail-lights that curve up and across the tailgate. 

Although the car in these images appears to be pink, the DBX in these photos is most likely red, and the effect is simply due to low quality photography. 

Aston Martin DBX SUV gets 542bhp V8

First orders for the high-riding Aston were taken at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and it made its UK public dynamic debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July. A video released on Twitter by Aston CEO Andy Palmer gives a very quick glimpse of the car’s front end without any camouflage.

Aston Martin Lagonda’s most recent financial update revealed more details on the development timeline of the DBX, which is set to rival models such as the Bentley Bentayga Speed and Lamborghini Urus. 

Aston started building pre-production versions of the new model at its new St Athan plant earlier this year, ahead of it going on sale in the first half of 2020. The company said it remains on track to begin series production at St Athan in the second quarter of 2020, which suggests first customer deliveries will follow in the second half of next year.

The new 90-acre factory in Wales, built on a former Ministry of Defence site, has been under development since 2016 and will be the sole production facility for the DBX. The electric models of the revived Lagonda brand will also be built there.


First ride: 2020 Aston Martin DBX prototype

There’s a slight, 54:46 front biased weight distribution to the 2245kg off-roader. Aston values vehicle handling highly and, as a result, the DBX has a raft of dynamics systems “without which you couldn’t do it”, according to Becker.

There is double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, triple-chamber air springs at each corner, adaptive Bilstein dampers and 48V active anti-roll bars, which, Aston says, are specced to provide 1033lb ft of roll resistance, more torque than in any rival. Overall, the DBX has less body roll than a Vantage. Aston could have made it roll not at all, but apparently that “feels weird”, said Becker.

Aston has benchmarked heavily ahead of launching a car in a new segment. It says it has tried nearly all of its rivals but has particularly targeted the BMW X6 M, Range Rover Sport SVR and Porsche Cayenne Turbo. This car is as large a leap for Aston as the Cayenne was for Porsche. “You have to change your test procedures because sports car procedures don’t work,” said Becker.

The targets are challenging because the remit of an SUV is so broad. “Working on this makes you a fan of SUVs,” admitted Becker.

The DBX has a centre differential that can place up to 47% of power to the front wheels or leave 100% going to the rear, where there’s an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. On a damp Stowe circuit at Silverstone, which Aston recently adopted as its test track, it was possible to slide the car around – not something customers will ever do, but evidence that Aston takes handling seriously, even in this market sector.

Different drive modes can drop the ride height by up to 30mm for on-road dynamism or raise it by 45mm off road, where, with a 500mm wade depth and anti-roll bars that are effectively disengaged. The DBX can pull 2.7 tonnes and have 100kg mounted on its roof. It is available with regular, all-season or winter tyres, all bespoke Pirellis.

The DBX seemed extremely capable off road, although pulling a horse box across wet grass is “the metric” customer demand, said Becker.

On the Aston’s roll bars, the motors can’t be disconnected and will drag, so sometimes, rather than putting torque in to reduce roll, power is applied to them to increase articulation and make the car ride with more flow.

This, you suspect, is the hardest part of getting a car to feel right: the endless hours, days, weeks of tuning everything in the hope that when you eventually try it, it feels natural to you, the customer. There’s no active rear-steer for that reason.


Aston Martin DBX Spied Performing Final Testing Rounds Ahead Of Reveal

It has a tow hitch.

Aston Martin may be ready to show us the interior of the DBX, its first SUV, but final testing isn’t done yet. New video shows the DBX tearing around the Nurburgring still covered in camouflage less than a month ahead of its reveal, which will happen in Beijing on November 20. Aston first previewed the DBX in concept form in 2015, over four years ago. It’s been everything but a secret. 

The video has little new information about the offering; however, if you look closely, the test mule does have a tow hitch hanging off the back. The DBX is an SUV, and those who buy it will probably want to tow things with it. We don’t know the towing capacity, and probably won’t until the reveal. 

However, while Aston still has plenty to reveal about its DBX, we do know quite a bit about it. Under the hood will be AMG’s twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 that also powers the Vantage and the DB11. In the DBX it will make 542 horsepower (404 kilowatts) and 516 pound-feet (700 Newton-meters) of torque. Later, Aston will introduce its own twin-turbo 5.2-liter V12 that’s also available in the DB11. In the hotter AMR version, the mill makes 630 hp (469 kW) and 516 lb-ft (700 Nm) of torque. A hybrid version will also come at some point. 

We also have had a peek inside, which shows off the DBX’s well-appointed and luxurious interior. Specifics about interior features, options, and amenities are still elusive, but Aston has said that it spent a lot of time on interior ergonomics – six months on the driver seat position alone.

Gallery: Aston Martin DBX, last tests

The DBX’s long gestation period makes sense. This is a crucial product for the brand, which is missing out on the current crossover and SUV boom. Aston needs its first SUV to be a success because it’s spent a lot of time and money taking the DBX from concept to production. We’ll get our first good look at the SUV later this month. Then, hopefully, we can drive it and see how it compares to the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and BMW X6 M, the two vehicles Aston used to benchmark the DBX.


Aston Martin DBX Interior Unveiled Along With Starting Price

It starts at $189,900 in the U.S.

The Aston Martin DBX will debut later this month. However, that hasn’t stopped the British automaker from dropping a few nuggets of information early, as it’s been doing. Today, Aston Martin has not only revealed the interior, but the company also announced the SUV’s starting price – $189,900 in the grand ol’ U.S. of A.

That is a lot of money for a crossover, though it appears like it could be money well spent. The interior looks gorgeous and draped in high-quality materials, as you’d expect from the luxury automaker. While we do get to see a lot of the interior for the first time, we don’t have a ton of new information outside of some flowery PR prose. 

Aston says it spent six months alone refining the driver’s position within the vehicle to ensure the best visibility inside and out. That level of thoughtfulness was used in other parts of the interior – though maybe it didn’t take six months. Laying out the interior buttons required “external counsel, including the brand’s Female Advisory Board, and multiple customer clinics with HNWIs [high-net-woth individuals] of mixed demographic.”

In the press release, Aston calls attention to the DBX’s bridged center console, something not shown in the lone interior photo. According to the company, it’s “an elegant, floating aesthetic that offers storage space below for larger items.” Think handbag or 1.5-liter water bottles. 

Gallery: Aston Martin DBX Interior

For rear-seat passengers, Aston went to those who spend a lot of time in backseats – kids. In a “new exercise” for the automaker, Aston invited a group of children to test rear-seat ergonomics. Aston doesn’t say how this influenced the interior design; however, it did say it did consider the needs of children. 

Thankfully, we should get the full rundown of specs, features, and options on November 20 when Aston reveals the DBX in Beijing. Until then, enjoy the lush interior pic. Or, go gander at this undisguised pink DBX. 


Aston Martin

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Wednesday 6 November, Gaydon: With the global unveil of the company’s first SUV set for Wednesday 20 November 2019 in Beijing, China, the luxury British marque has today released the first image showcasing the finely crafted cabin of the Aston Martin DBX. Furthermore, the landmark model’s Recommended Retail Price has been confirmed at £155,500 in the UK, €193,500 in Germany, ¥ 2,378,000.00 in China, JPY 22,995,000 in Japan and $189,900 in the USA.

Combining the results of intensive customer research and Aston Martin’s expertise in hand-crafted interiors, DBX has been designed inside out to ensure owners feel instantly at home from the moment they enter the spacious cabin. Matching class-leading materials with carefully considered ergonomics, DBX has been created to meet the needs of the 99th percentile male to the 5th percentile female; an incredibly broad set of requirements.

The decision to use a bespoke chassis allowed Aston Martin’s design team – led by Executive Vice President & Chief Creative Officer, Marek Reichman – to tailor the interior space to the specific needs of DBX’s customers. The length between the wheels allowed the design team to optimise cabin space while maintaining a sleek, low roofline.

Over six months were spent solely focused on defining the position of the driver within the vehicle, with enough movement in the driver’s seat and steering column to allow clear visibility of all controls, screens and through windows. Crucially, the seating position also delivers a clear view of the bonnet to give confidence when in tight proximity to other cars.

Superior visibility is key to an SUV when inspiring driving confidence and DBX fulfils this demand with an enhanced feeling of sitting within the car, bringing a greater sense of safety and a familiar Aston Martin sporting feel. Fundamentally, DBX offers a cabin that gives the driver an instant and relaxed confidence, yet offers the promise of dynamic performance to reward the most discerning driver.

While the driver has been placed at the forefront of DBX’s interior philosophy, key details throughout have been carefully considered to ensure the model delivers on all elements of the design team’s initial brief.

The dashboard accentuates the feeling of space and luxury in DBX. Each button and dial has been carefully positioned following extensive testing from external counsel, including the brand’s Female Advisory Board and multiple customer clinics with HNWIs of mixed demographic, ensuring the cabin develops a feeling of instant familiarity. Into this broad sweep of dash-board the new TFT screens are integrated seamlessly, so that, despite their impressive size, the technology doesn’t interrupt the elegant overall flow of the interior design. Cabin storage, a necessity in an SUV, can also be difficult to incorporate harmoniously, but in DBX, Aston Martin’s designers have managed to create one of the interior’s standout features – a bridged centre console – creating an elegant, floating aesthetic that offers storage space below for larger items such as a handbag or large 1.5-litre water bottles. This feature keeps valuables close to hand while not occupying the passenger seat and away from dirt on the car’s floor mats.

The rear passengers were central to the design process. The design team wanted an inclusive feeling for those in the rear of the car, but without the sense that the rear occupants were leaning over those in the front of the vehicle, which can sometimes be the result of so-called ‘stadium’ seating arrangements. The needs of children were also considered extensively and, in a new exercise for Aston Martin, a group of children were invited to share their experience of ingress and egress and sitting in an ergonomic assessment model at the company’s design studio.

The result of all this research and development has ensured class-leading front & rear legroom and a fantastic feeling of airiness thanks to the full-length panoramic glass roof and expansive side windows. Sports car packaging methodologies and technical solutions have enabled significant benefits to DBX. The approaches learned through extensive experience of making space efficient sports car interiors means there is more knee and foot space for rear passengers than is typically found in rival SUVs. Wherever you sit in DBX, there is a sense of space and lightness with encapsulating views of the world you’re exploring.

With the model set to be unveiled on Wednesday 20 November, order books will open from this date onwards.


How we’d design our dream car

I’d like lots of mechanically driven, analogue dials, but accept for reasons of weight and packaging that a simple, scrollable TFT screen will do the job wildly better. The car will be engineered for air conditioning and cruise control, but navigation and entertainment will come via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto alone. An adjustable bracket designed to accommodate a wide range of hand-held devices would be fitted. There will also be plenty of storage space on board.

And that’s about it. This would be a car that recognises that fun is far more important than fast, and that the more you can use the car, the more fun you will have. Of course I understand that such a car will never be built, although almost all the ingredients are out there. Indeed, if all you did was take the best bits of an Alpine A110 and Porsche Cayman GT4 and added a bit of flat-eight loveliness, you’d be pretty much there. Shame it’s never going to happen.

Steve Cropley’s ideal car

That my favourite car is front-engined and rear-driven goes without saying – I’m from that generation. And it’s a coupé, because I never met an open car that wasn’t a little bit compromised on rigidity.

I’m probably okay with a 2+2 but would prefer a two-seater with a low H-point and a fairly high cowl height: I enjoy the sensation of sighting corners down the bonnet, which incidentally needs to be a sculptural confection of bumps and bulges, though not for no reason.

It must be shrink-wrapped around the engine, perhaps a mildly hybridised supercharged V8 – say, 3.0 litres and 450bhp all up – driving through a McLaren-level seven or eight-speed paddle-shift gearbox.

Other stuff? Perfect, quick-geared steering and powerful brakes. A unique exhaust note, only intrusive when you’re trying. Above all, it must have reasonable ground clearance and short overhangs because I’ll need the near-impossible combo of great body control and ride suppleness. Oh, yes, and low road noise. Shouldn’t be difficult, should it?

Matt Saunders’ ideal car

Since Frankel’s idea amounts to little more than a supersized Porsche Cayman, I don’t feel too bad about part-plagiarising another one.

I’d make it a front-engined, rear-driven super-GT coupé with a sweet-sounding, naturally aspirated but eminently drivable V12 engine, as well as a taut but supple sporting chassis tune, and a really belting manual gearbox. The kind of car that neither Ferrari nor Aston Martin quite makes any more, albeit for different reasons. Aluminium monocoque construction, lightweight alloy bodywork, but not so light that the cabin wouldn’t be comfy or inviting.