Aston Martin has begun testing its upcoming SUV on Welsh rally stages, as the production of the British luxury sports car maker's first high-rider draws nearer.

Despite speculation suggesting that the car could be called the Varekai, Aston Martin has in fact confirmed that the car will retain the name of the concept and be called the DBX.

Aston Martin DBX testing in Wales

Aston Martin's Chief Engineer, Matt Becker kicked off the extensive testing programme for the car on the famous Welsh Rally stages used for Britain's round of the World Rally Championship. The choice of the Welsh rally stages was a nod to the production facility that will manufacture the DBX – the SUV will be built at an all-new facility in the Vale of Glamorgan.

"Seeing a DBX development prototype in action is a momentous chapter in the story of our first SUV, for it is the moment it really comes alive," said 
Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Andy Palmer. "DBX is so much more than 'just' an SUV; it will be the first model built at our brand-new facility in St Athan. As such, it is very much the start of a bold new era in the company’s long history."

Aston Martin DBX testing in Wales

The car has already undergone simulation testing, but the first prototype drive in Wales marks the beginning of so-called 'real world' testing. As well as Wales, the DBX will also be put through its paces in the Arctic, the Middle East, high Alpine passes, and of course the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

With the DBX being Aston Martin's first-ever SUV, the company has had to develop a whole new testing regime for the car, different to what it employs when developing its grand tourers. Naturally that means working on the car's multi-terrain and towing capabilities to ensure it works in all scenarios.

Aston Martin DBX testing in Wales

"We have already developed and tuned DBX in the driving simulator, which has enabled us to make excellent progress in advance of the first physical prototype cars being available," said Becker. "Still, it’s always a big day when you get to put the first actual miles on an early prototype and I’m delighted with the near perfect correlation between the simulator and this prototype."

"As an engineer, it’s genuinely exciting to get a feel for the car you’re working to create," he continued. "DBX is a very different kind of Aston Martin, but we will be testing it in all conditions and across all terrains to ensure it delivers a driving experience worthy of the wings badge."

Aston Martin DBX testing in Wales

The production version of the DBX is set to be unveiled in the final quarter of 2019.

Gallery: Aston Martin DBX testing in Wales