Aston Martin’s first SUV won’t get an electric powertrain after all

Aston Martin DBX conceptAston Martin has nixed plans to offer an all-electric powertrain in its first production SUV. The model was previewed by the all-electric DBX concept, which debuted at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. But in an interview with Automotive News, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer said the SUV will be offered with gasoline engines only, ruling out diesel and plug-in hybrid versions as well.

While fellow British automaker Bentley offers a diesel version of its Bentayga SUV in Europe, Palmer said he believes “diesel’s life is limited.” He said plug-in hybrid powertrains are a “convenient stepping stone,” but the extra weight and cost make them undesirable for Aston. A conventional hybrid powertrain may be a possibility for the SUV, though, as Palmer has discussed offering an electrified variant of every Aston model.

The SUV is expected to enter production in 2019. It will be built at a new factory in Wales, which occupies the site of a former military base. With an all-electric option off the table, Aston will likely stick its 5.2-liter twin-turbocharged V8 or the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 it borrows from Mercedes-AMG under the SUV’s hood. When it arrives, the Aston will compete against a growing crop of high-end SUVs, including the Bentayga, Rolls-Royce’s upcoming Cullinan, and the Lamborghini Urus.

The all-electric powertrain may not be the only element of the DBX concept that won’t make it to production. Instead of DBX, the production model may be named Varekai, in keeping with Aston’s habit of using names that begin with “V” for most models. The “DB” prefix (the initials of postwar Aston patron David Brown) is usually reserved for the automaker’s core sports-car model, currently the DB11.

Aston isn’t giving up on electric cars. The automaker still plans to build an all-electric version of the Rapide — called RapidE — in limited numbers. It will follow that up with an electric car for its Lagonda sub-brand. Aston unveiled a Lagonda sedan concept called the Vision at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, as well as a scale model of a possible Lagonda SUV. Lagonda started out as a separate company but was merged with Aston Martin in 1947. Aston has applied the Lagonda name sporadically to big luxury sedans.

Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.

The go kart-like Mini Cooper will soon add zero emissions to its resume

Mini is in the final stages of developing an electric version of the Cooper. The 2020 Cooper SE will receive powertrain components from the BMW i3, including a 181-horsepower electric motor and battery technology.

Tesla ends scheduled servicing because electric cars need less maintenance

Tesla will longer offer scheduled maintenance plans, switching to an "as needed" model. This reflects the fact that electric cars need less regular maintenance than gasoline or diesel cars.

Fossil is working on a smartwatch with BMW, and it’s coming next year

Fossil, the watch company that makes smartwatches under its own name and partners with other major brands too, intends to launch a smartwatch with car manufacturer BMW in the future.

Fiat wants to transform the cheeky 500 city car into an urban Tesla

Fiat is finally preparing a new 500. Scheduled to make its debut in early 2020, the retro-chic city car will go electric in part to comply with looming emissions regulations.

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.

Formula 1 is putting data in the driver’s seat, and not all racers are happy

After a single weekend of racing, a Formula 1 pit crew typically pulls around 2TB of data from the car. Everything, from tire pressure to the temperature of the track, is recorded and analyzed in the name of boosting performance -- and not…

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.

Tesla revives its referral program with chances to win a Roadster

Tesla has revived its referral program that ended in February because of cost pressures. This time around the perks aren't quite as diverse, though it does offer regular chances to win a Roadster or Model Y.
Product Review

By adding features, tech, and all-wheel drive, Mazda puts the 3 in a class of one

Since its introduction in 2003, Mazda’s compact Mazda3 has been a mainstay of the brand’s driver-oriented strategy. Mazda now plans to move upmarket, and the all-new 2019 Mazda3 offers some clues about how that’s going to work.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!

Tesla Model 3 vulnerability exposed at Pwn2Own; hackers take home the car

A Tesla Model 3 vulnerability was exposed at the Pwn2Own hacking competition. The hackers, who were able to display a message on the electric vehicle's internet browser, won $35,000 and took home the car.

Is this electric car startup the next Tesla, or will it go the way of Coda?

The electric car startup formerly known as EVelozcity has changed its name to Canoo. It also announced a lineup of four cars including a commuter-friendly model and a lifestyle-oriented car. Its first electric vehicles will begin to appear…

Ford’s born-again Bronco off-roader will soothe your 1990s nostalgia

Ford confirmed it will bring the Bronco back to American showrooms in 2020. We haven't seen the truck yet, but dealers who got a preview of it during a private event say it's a true off-roader aimed directly at the Jeep Wrangler.