Motoring and Property Editor
10:09 PM 10th February 2021
Super Stylish SUV From Aston Martin – DBX On Test
It is always an absolute delight to spend some time with an Aston Martin, to me the very epitome of British sports car excellence. I am a big fan, no small part to my childhood love of James Bond films. My last drive was in the latest DB11, a comfortable and luxurious GT coupe that could metamorphosise into a sizzling supercar on the press of a couple of buttons.
On test here is a somewhat different proposition, the DBX being Aston’s first foray into the world of the luxury SUV. So why enter this market and risk diluting the brand? The business model undoubtedly makes sense as up until now, a typical Aston Martin owner looking for more everyday transport for family duties etc has had to look elsewhere.
A Bentley Bentayga, Maserati Levante, Lamborghini Urus or Range Rover are the likely candidates. In fact, a neighbour of mine is a seasoned Aston Martin owner, and the local Land Rover Dealer gets his custom for his more workaday wheels.
Huge investment has been made to bring the DBX to production with the creation of a brand new factory in South Wales and in these challenging times, many are saying that the DBX is a make or break model for the brand. Volume sales are needed.
With my little understanding of car design, I can imagine the challenge of producing an SUV that still looks like an Aston Martin. I think they have succeeded and during my time with the car, most seem to know what it was without introduction and were generally complimentary.
Under the sculptured bonnet sits a 542bhp 4.0-litre V8 power plant, sourced from Mercedes-Benz’s AMG division. It channels all that power through a nine-speed automatic gearbox and with 700Nm of torque, a mere twitch of the right foot is all that is necessary to see the DBX sprint towards the horizon. It sounds good too, especially when you are pressing on.
Against the stopwatch, the DBX has been timed from rest to 60mph in 4.3 seconds, impressive stuff from a 2.2 tonne SUV. The academic top speed is a tad over 180mph and certainly at road legal speeds the DBX is never found wanting.
Aston Martin has developed its first air suspension system with trick electronic dampers and an electric anti-roll system for the DBX. I do not really understand such witchcraft, but I can report that it almost eliminates body roll whilst offering a mostly smooth ride. I say mostly as at lower speeds the supersize alloy wheels do thump a tad when encountering a deep pothole or the like.
The adaptive drivetrain boasts 4 on-road settings, with 2 two more for when you venture off the beaten track. GT mode is the default setting and I found it worked best on the UK’s less than smooth roads. The ride in Sport proved to be a little brittle unless the tarmac was billiard table smooth.
There is an individual mode whereby you can tailor the chassis, steering and engine responses to suit. More importantly you can turn the exhaust to its most tuneful setting… lovely!
I was able to try the DBX on most of my challenging local test routes and I am pleased to report that it is surprisingly nimble for one so large, almost light on its feet. It changes direction with ease and feels hugely composed and agile.
Economy was never going to be a priority when developing a car like this and on paper the 19.7mpg for the combined cycle sounds fair. From my experience that figure is attainable on a gentle motorway cruise but have a little fun and this will likely drop to 13/14mpg. CO2 emissions of 323g/km won’t endear you to environmentalists either.
If you like the DBX from the outside, then the interior will really delight. Acres of the very finest leather clad almost every surface and the options list is quite exhaustive, allowing the lucky buyer to personalize the car to the nth degree. This will come at a price, with the test car’s list price of £161,500 bumped up to closer to £200,000.
On the dashboard, I was pleased to note that not all functions are accessed through the touchscreen and after a short time with the car, I felt relaxed and quite at home.
I spent a little time on a rainy day trying to find the rear wiper button, only to remember that one is not fitted. Airflow once in motion does a decent job of keeping the rear screen clean.
There is a raft of standard kit, such as 3-zone climate-controlled air conditioning, heated seats front and rear and LED headlights.
The seats are supremely comfortable and four large adults will have room aplenty to spread out and enjoy the journey. The panoramic glass roof bathes the cabin in natural light, always a lovely feature. There’s ample boot space (632-litres), so no travelling light required. And for those who indulge in outdoorsy hobbies, the DBX can tow a substantial trailer weighing up to 2,700kg. An Airsteam caravan, a speedboat perhaps, all should be a simple pull.
I covered some 400 or so miles during my brief spell with the DBX. I enjoyed each and every one and revelled not only in its refinement and practicality but more in the sense of occasion that each turn behind the wheel brought. It was as happy cruising gently on the motorway as charging across great expanses of Yorkshire moorland. It even coped admirably with a little light off-roading.
It is perhaps unfair to compare it to the DB11, though in many ways it is good enough to merit comparison. Of greater importance is how it fares against its rivals. Ultimately the Lamborghini Urus is a tad more a driver’s car (in a rather shouty, look at me manner), the Bentley Bentayga a little more opulent and the Rolls-Royce Cullinan just too damn expensive.
The Aston hits the sweet spot and will appeal both to the keen driver and the owner looking for refined luxury. It gets my vote and I like to think that should 007 have ever settled down and raised a family, then the DBX would have been his choice of vehicle. Well I certainly bonded with it and my Aston owning neighbours loved it too!
Aston Martin DBX
List price £161,500
542bhp 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine
Nine-speed automatic gearbox
0-60mph in 4.3 seconds
Top speed 181mph
Combined economy 19.73mog
Emissions 323g/km CO2
Photography by Will Larmour. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org