Aston Martin DBX

Aston Martin DBX

In their 106-history, this is almost certainly the most important car that Aston Martin has ever created.

Why? Because Aston Martin need to sell more cars more profitably, and the SUV-route is a tried and tested method of increasing sales when you are a sports/ luxury car manufacturer – just ask Porsche, whose biggest selling vehicle is the Cayenne. With pre-tax losses of £92.3 million in the first nine months of 2019 (Source: Forbes), we’re betting that no-one at Gaydon would argue with that. But let’s not let that detract from the main focus here – the new DBX.

DBX will be looking to seduce the owners of Porsche Cayenne Turbos, supercharged Range Rovers, the Bentley Bentayga, G63 and Lamborghini Urus – as well as other luxury four and five seaters – but Aston Martin are keen to point out that their new car has been built with current Aston owners in mind.

The DBX development program has been running since 2015, and boy has it felt like a long time coming. Aston Martin has been teasing us with camouflaged development cars going sideways around Welsh rally stages for months, and finally the finished car is here. But is this the car that will deliver Aston Martin from its share price slump?

The Aston Martin DBX in numbers

  • 4.5 seconds to 60
  • 5 seats (full size)
  • 181 mph
  • 542 bhp
  • 632 litres of boot space
  • 700 NM of torque
  • 2,245 kg
  • Recommended Retail Price from £158,000* with three years servicing

Design

The DBX is a fastback built on a new, dedicated SUV platform designed by Aston Martin. No platform sharing – no compromises. They have built the car they wanted to build for their customers rather than sharing an existing platform as the Bentley Bentayga does with the Audi Q7. That’s refreshing – Aston has had a clean sheet of paper to work with.

Utilising bonded aluminium – a construction method Aston has refined through the development of its sports cars – they claim the body is both light and incredibly stiff. They also claim that DBX offers class-leading spaciousness for front and rear occupants.

DBX is unquestionably the best-looking luxury SUV on the market. We were lucky enough to see it in the flesh at the launch event on Wednesday, and on looks alone, Aston Martin has got every SUV in the market at any price point licked. The Aston design team have managed to carry over the beauty of their sports cars to an SUV, with standard-fit 22″ wheels, frameless door glass, flush-fit door handles and a wiperless, self-cleaning rear screen all completing a very elegant and beautifully finished package.

It doesn’t look big, but DBX is the same size as a standard Range Rover. It has the longest wheelbase of all its rivals, which means more legroom both front and rear, partly due to the space-efficient front sports seats (standard) which were derived from those in the DB11. Despite its low roofline, it also has more rear headroom than its competitors and a boot that is considerably bigger than that in a Bentayga but not quite as big as a Cayenne.

The interior is beautifully appointed, with tons of space, superb sports seats in the front and a very modern cockpit. The door sills are cutaway to improve access and reduce the risk of getting mud on the back of your trousers.

Performance

The engine is a massaged version of the familiar Mercedes-AMG 4.0 litre twin-turbo unit used in the Vantage, producing 542 bhp, so virtually identical to the Bentayga V8 and Cayenne Turbo in terms of power output.

DBX rides on adaptive “triple volume” air-suspension with an electric anti-roll control system (eARC) which Aston Martin says can reduce body roll to levels comparable with a DB11. Aston Martin has been keen to stress the DBX’s sportscar-like dynamic abilities and prototypes are said to have posted sub-8 minute Nurburgring times – so it’s quick around a track. By comparison, the Lamborghini Urus, which is considerably more powerful, is alleged to have managed it in 7:47. Braking performance on the steel discs is “on par with the mighty DBS Superleggera”.

Off-road, the specifications lead us to believe that it will be in the same ballpark of capability as a Land Rover Discovery Sport – so more than enough for 95% of 4×4 owners.

As a luxury SUV the new Aston Martin DBX has been developed to deliver supreme confidence whatever the terrain it is tackling.

Aston Martin

Technology

There isn’t anything brand new in the DBX specifications that really stands out. An active exhaust system will make it sound like a Vantage when you want it to but avoid waking up the rest of Chelsea when you don’t. The engine features cylinder deactivation to reduce fuel consumption and the 9-speed torque converter gearbox doesn’t sound particularly sexy but will no doubt do a good job of shifting cogs. An active centre differential and eDiff (LSD) on the rear axle will make handling appropriately lively when asked and also handle any off-road traction issues. There is no low-range gearbox, but DBX does have the venerable but effective Hill Descent Control in its absence.

There are six driving modes – four on-road and two for when you leave the tarmac which modify throttle response, traction and suspension settings.

Specification

Aston Martin has been keen to point out that the DBX is well specified for the price. It has 22″ alloys and a panoramic glass sunroof as standard which all sounds great and all the tech you would hope for at this price level. In reality, you could have similarly specced Range Rover or Cayenne Turbo for less, a V8 Bentayga for about the same and a Urus for a lot more, despite the fact that the list price is only a few thousand more than the DBX.

Suffice to say that you could probably get away with ordering a fairly standard DBX without feeling you had been too hard on yourself, but clearly the options list will coming calling for most new owners. (See full specifications below).

Verdict

It’s a shame that Aston Martin’s share price has been as a much a feature of the DBX’s launch as the car itself.

Aston Martin has built a brand new car from the ground up and they have done a great job. Well priced, well-specified and dare we say it – beautiful. We’ll have to wait until the spring to see just how good it is to drive and how it compares to the competition. What we can tell you is that it looks very desirable – let’s hope sales prove that to be the case, for the sake of the marque.

At the launch event, we spoke with a DB11 owner who also runs a Tesla Model X who had come to the realisation that the DBX was a neat solution to reducing the number of cars on his driveway.

With the DBX, Aston Martin has filled – or created – a niche in the market that he – and we – didn’t know existed.

While some pundits might scoff at the introduction of yet another luxury SUV into the market place, Aston Martin’s share prices rallied yesterday and Bentley coordinated a press release announcing the Bentayga as the “world’s most desirable SUV”. Someone is taking DBX seriously.

Aston share prices rallied after the DBX reveal.

Standard specification

  • 22” alloy wheels
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
  • Speed limiter Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
  • Lane Keep Assist (LKA)
  • Lane Change Warning (LCW)
  • Rear Cross Traffic warning (RCT)
  • Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR)
  • Blind Spot Warning (BSW)
  • Full grain ‘Caithness’ leather interior trim*
  • Alcantara headlining & panoramic roof blind*
  • Piano Black wood veneer trim (centre console)
  • Front seats – 12-way electric adjustment Front seats & door mirrors – 3-position memory function
  • Rear seats – 3 seat, 40:20:40 split-folding
  • Heated seats (front & rear)
  • Keyless entry
  • Keyless start/stop button
  • Automatic 3-zone climate control
  • Ambient lighting (64 colours, dual zone)
  • Front and rear parking sensors with visual indicator 360° camera system with deploying rear camera
  • Bi-LED headlights Automatic headlights with Auto High Beam (AHB)
  • LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
  • LED tail lights
  • 12.3” TFT driver information display
  • 10.25” TFT central display
  • Aston Martin Premium Audio System (800 watts, 14 speakers)*
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Voice control
  • Satellite navigation system

All images courtesy of Aston Martin Lagonda