Five new Aston Martins are set to join the DB11 by 2020, including a Vantage successor, a crossover and an EV

Aston Martin will follow its recently unveiled DB11 with a minimum of five all-new models in the next four years. They will span three distinct model lines and form part of a plan to build 7000 cars per year by 2020.

The DB11, a GT, was revealed at the recent Geneva motor show and will be on sale in the summer. It will be joined next year by an all-new Vantage sports car heavily inspired by the DB10 created for the James Bond film Spectre and by a replacement for the Vanquish in 2018. Both models will be built on versions of the DB11’s all-new aluminium architecture in Aston’s core sports and GT model line.

By the end of the decade, Aston will also have on sale two models with no direct predecessors in new, separate model lines: the DBX crossover and an all-new Lagonda saloon.

These models will make up the core of the Aston Martin range, but every year Aston will also launch two ‘special’ cars. Previous examples include last year’s Vulcan hypercar and the potent Vantage GT12.

Another new arrival will be Aston’s first electric car - an all-electric version of the Rapide saloon, due in 2018.

The model plan is the brainchild of boss Andy Palmer, who joined the firm in 2014 after a stellar career at Nissan.

NEW VANTAGE

The DB11 is the first car in the new model plan and the second, the Vantage, will arrive next year. The new Vantage is tipped to be revealed in autumn 2017 and on sale by year’s end.

Palmer, speaking to Autocar at the Geneva show, said the design had been fixed and described its styling as the “love child of DB10 and DBX”. Palmer has told design chief Marek Reichman to make each Aston design more distinctive, to “create different personalities for the cars”. As a result, the Vantage will be made considerably sportier for its second generation.

“We’re not cookie cutting now,” he said. “The brief is to make each model look like an Aston, but next to each other my 77-year-old mother must be able to tell them apart. The DB11 is a GT. You do long distances in it and it has a comfortable ride. The Vantage is our race car. It’s the weekend warrior. It’s the track car - much edgier.”

Reichman said the Vantage would be “completely different from the DB11, with not a panel in common. In design terms, it owes more to 007’s DB10”. Indeed, the original design sketch the Bond producers were drawn to when discussing the DB10 was an early one of the new Vantage.

One Aston insider also said: “While the DB11 makes you want to stop and look at it, the Vantage’s shape is so sporting that it makes you just want to get in and drive.”

The new Vantage will be built at Aston’s Gaydon HQ on a shortened version of the DB11’s new bonded and riveted aluminium architecture. It’s likely to follow the template of the DB11 in being slightly longer, wider and lower than the model it replaces, with a longer wheelbase. Expect the DB11’s interior technology to carry over in a much sportier cabin.

The Vantage is expected to usher Mercedes-AMG-sourced turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engines into the Aston range. It’s likely to be offered in two states of tune: around 400bhp in the base model and 450bhp in the Vantage S, although these are conservative estimates. The DB11’s all-new twin-turbo 5.2-litre V12 should also make it into the Vantage to create a range-topping model.

There’s more of a question mark over the V8 being offered in the DB11, but this is likely to come for more CO2-conscious markets.

“The Vantage is the perfect car for the V8,” said Palmer. “The DB11 will be first introduced as a V12.”

So keen will Aston be to push the rear-wheel-drive Vantage as its sporty model that it could be sold with a six-speed manual gearbox only. The DB11 has an eight-speed automatic as an option. Palmer is not a fan of dual-clutch automatic gearboxes.

The Vantage will also be used to underpin Aston’s next Le Mans racer, expected around 2018-2019. 

NEW VANQUISH

Following the Vantage in 2018 will be an all-new Vanquish. Palmer is still deciding whether it should be a much-enhanced GT version of the DB11 or a full-blown supercar.

Whatever is decided, the next Vanquish is likely to offer a hugely more powerful version of the DB11’s new V12 engine. Ferrari F12tdf levels of power north of 750bhp are possible. However, outright power is not the chief target for the Vanquish and its ultimate potential could even be capped by the torque capabilities of the gearbox.

RAPIDE EV

Around the same time as the Vanquish, Aston will put its electric version of the Rapide, the RapidE, into production.

Aston has teamed up with Chinese technology firm Letv to develop the RapidE’s technology in-house, rather than buy it in from Mercedes or elsewhere.

“We’re doing it ourselves to learn about batteries and electric motors and it gives us the choice,” said Palmer.

The technology will be used to influence future hybrid Astons, which Palmer confirmed as being “inevitable” to meet future clean air regulations, particularly in California.

The Rapide sports saloon line-up will be electric-only in due course but still built on the old VH architecture. When RapidE production ends, the model will not be replaced. The role of an Aston saloon will be filled by the reborn Lagonda.

DBX CROSSOVER

Once Aston’s core range of GT and sports cars is in place - including convertible versions of the DB11, Vantage and Vanquish, which Palmer has confirmed - the firm will switch its attention to launching the DBX in 2018-2019. This will be built at a new facility in Wales and underpinned by a new Aston architecture derived from but not the same as the DB11’s. There had been speculation that Aston would source the DBX’s architecture from elsewhere due to its crossover bodystyle.

“We made a decision on the DBX to use the aluminium bonding technique,” said Palmer. “It’s not this platform [the DB11’s] but uses the same technology in the architecture. The DB11 and DBX are significant cars for the company. The DB11 is punch one for the sports cars and the DBX is punch two for the new models. Punch three is the Lagonda saloon.”

LAGONDA SALOON

Aston brought back the Lagonda name last year on the Taraf saloon. It is limited to 200 units and in production until the end of 2017 at the latest.

The Lagonda Taraf was originally due to be launched in the Middle East only, but Palmer made it a global model to reintroduce the Lagonda name to the market ahead of an all-new Lagonda saloon due in 2020, or 2021 at the latest.

It will also be built on a new DB11-derived architecture, giving Aston three distinct platforms. “It’s not a new kit for one [model],” said Palmer. “We can carry over and forward. It’s three platforms and two Meccano boxes.”

On the launch of the Taraf, Palmer said: “It’s seeding the brand in anticipation of 2020-2021, when we relaunch it. We want to define it. If Rolls-Royce makes the first-class cabin of a Boeing 777, we want to create Concorde. It will be a different car in the luxury segment, a substantial car.

“If I launched the next-gen car tomorrow, I’d have an awareness problem. We’re now planting that seed.”

The new factory in Wales is likely to build the Lagonda saloon as well as the DBX, Autocar understands.

DOUBLING THE VOLUME

With those six models, Aston plans to sell around 7000 cars a year, double its 2015 total. Palmer is wary of going any higher because he believes this would undermine the brand.

“In volume terms, we will remain a luxury, exclusive brand,” he said. “If a lot of people want it, there will be a long waiting list.

“You could add volume, but no one really knows what the limit is for too many: 9000, 10,000, 15,000? Make too many and you wake up one day making luxury premium cars rather than luxury luxury cars.”

As well as its core models, Aston will launch ‘specials’. “We will do two specials a year,” said Palmer. “We have signed off two for this year. Limited editions are what become collectable. The GT12 and Vulcan were last year’s.

“This year’s are both road cars, a mixture of old and new architecture. They will gradually [be derived from] the new architecture in the future.”

Our Verdict

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

The Aston Martin Vantage has an abundance of soul, and decent ability with it

Join the debate

Comments
3

8 April 2016
Look great & exciting. I can't wait to see them by that I be getting old. I hope 007 stick with an Aston Martin in his next mission

8 April 2016
TheSaintmobile wrote:

Look great & exciting. I can't wait to see them by that I be getting old. I hope 007 stick with an Aston Martin in his next mission

I also want to add that other shows & movies should have new Aston Martin on Screen well as the classic Astons.

8 April 2016
I have a V8 Vantage that I bought new, and I love it. For the new one: Make the Vantage stunning. DON'T do the silly roof strake thing -- it makes the DB11 (otherwise beautiful) look like they forgot to attach the roof to the body -- it completely breaks up the lines. One of the reasons the current Vantage and DB9 continue to look gorgeous is that their designs are clean, unfussy, and simply beautiful -- no gimmicks, no fussiness. Give the next Vantage real, physical instruments -- I HATE the screens, which look cheap and boring. Most importantly, don't use an off-the-shelf AMG (or anyone else's) engine. Make real mechanical changes to it, as was done with the current V8, to make it credibly an Aston engine. Just changing the exhaust and electronics to make it "like" and Aston engine would be a crying shame, and I'll have ZERO interest in buying one, no matter how good it might be. That the DB11's V12 is an Aston engine was absolutely the right thing to do -- it's ESSENTIAL to the credibility of the marque to have its own engines.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK