Of late Aston Martin has been enveloped in a dramatic corporate saga. But while its financial woes have come to an end, the product line-up is not quite matching up to the ferocious pace of Ferrari or McLaren. However, we should give one of the greatest names in the sports car world some leeway as it recovers its mojo.
We all know Aston Martin for making knee-tremblingly gorgeous sports cars with a hint of mischief. No doubt that’s been helped by being endorsed by the world’s most famous secret agent.
However a sports car or super car will only fill the coffers up-to a certain point. And in developed markets the thirst for high-end 4X4s is insatiable as demonstrated by sales figures of the Lamborghini Urus, Bentley Bentayga and the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. To the purist, an Aston Martin SUV is too much of a brand extension, but for the bean counters, having an SUV is a must.
Svelte exterior lines
So we have the DBX, which took its own sweet time to come. But Aston Martin went back to the drawing board and did its best to make an SUV which is a fair representation of the brand. The DBX is also the most crucial product and it even gets a purpose-built manufacturing facility in St Athan, Wales. Failure is not an option here.
Fortunately for Aston Martin, the DBX is just about the right mix of ingredients. It does not feel like it is just a 4×4 with an Aston badge on the nose. It looks like an Aston Martin to start with. The svelte lines do hide its massive proportions very well and it is a beautiful design no doubt.
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In front of the brutal Lamborghini Urus, the DBX is softer and is endowed with a lot of curves. The styling is rather delicate, but it is not over-styled. The massive grille is big. But it is an Aston Martin grille all right, while the rounded off rear with those Vantage like tail-lamps is indeed a sight for sore eyes.
It is voluptuous and it isn’t shy about declaring its pretentions of being a luxury GT at first, rather than a mud covered 4×4, which is fine. Of course with those beautiful 22-inch wheels, you’d rather not kerb them, forget off-roading.
Suffice to say, we did not indulge ourselves with any off-roading with the DBX. Instead we just took it for a drive as its owners would. The view inside though is even better. The interior is a fine amalgamation of traditional Aston Martin craftsmanship and Mercedes tech.
Of course, leather is liberally used everywhere as even the speaker grilles are covered in natural leather. The craftsmanship is also exquisite with extensive broguing, perforation and quilting patterns being used here.
Enough talk and once you push the engine start button, the 4-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 wakes up with a characteristic woofle. Taken from Mercedes, the V8 has less of the typical AMG bark while the sound has been tuned for a more bellow sound track.
There are six driving modes while with 550 HP and 700 NM (516 lb-ft) of torque. It is fast no matter what gear you are in or what mode you driving with. Zero to 62 mph in just 4.5 seconds, and a top speed of 181 mph. Those are statement-makers. The V8 also has cylinder deactivaton but the DBX is slightly less frugal than rivals. No plug-in hybrid or an electric version is on the horizon.
Sports car feel meets SUV
That said, there is joy in giving the V8 a bit of a workout as the DBX feels more like a super car on stilts rather than a tall 4×4. The driving position is low and you are cocooned inside the leather clad cabin. The new aluminum architecture is also impressive in giving the DBX an agile feel as it turns enthusiastically while the delightful steering also weighs up in a perfect fashion.
So while the DBX isn’t a Range Rover, it has air suspension. Because of that, it can be raised or lowered while its off-road centric modes also help you navigate through places you normally would never think of taking an Aston Martin. For us, the pleasing driving manners scored higher marks and a busy ride aside, the DBX can be classified a comfortable mile-muncher too.
With a starting price of $218,400, the DBX is not bursting with value and nor is it a Tesla-style EV technology marvel. Instead, the DBX is an Aston Martin and that is refreshingly honest. While a plug-in hybrid and a less-cluttered cabin would have made it a more appealing proposition, the DBX is easily the best-looking SUV on sale. It is also blessed with an infectious personality. An Aston Martin that you can drive every day? What’s not to like?
DBX at night: Click on image to enlarge and view the gallery