Luxury and sport car manufacturers have been adding sport utility vehicles to their portfolios for more than a decade, the Porsche Cayenne being the first. So, the thought of a high-performance SUV no longer seems unusual, like the Aston Martin DBX.
The DBX, which debuted for the 2021 model year, is the brand’s first SUV, and already a remarkable performer. Aston Martin was able to retain the brand’s sports car DNA to a remarkable degree, despite its 6.9 inches of ground clearance as well as its four doors. Of course, its cabin is extravagantly trimmed, and its upgraded driveline and chassis prove to be a paragon of power.
Yet the company has gone and turned up the performance wick of its already-athletic SUV with the introduction of the DBX707. The new model’s number refers to its metric horsepower, which converted to imperial measure turns out to be 697 horsepower. But somehow, DBX697 doesn’t have the same ring. That said, you could be excused for thinking that DBX707 is a typo, given the brand’s long association with the fictional secret agent 007.
According to Aston Martin CEO Tobias Moers, with the DBX707, the automaker sought "to create a car which sets new standards of performance and desirability."
After an initial drive, that’s not hyperbole. This is the among fastest SUVs in the world, a rapid ride of the first order. The numbers: 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds, 0-100 mph in 7.4 seconds, with a top speed of 193 mph. That these numbers are achieved by an SUV that weighs nearly 5,000 pounds is remarkable.
The DBX707 broadcasts its performance mojo with its larger front grille, new air intakes and brake cooling ducts, and a new front splitter profile. Darkened chrome trims the side windows, while a new a new lip spoiler has been added to the roof wing to reduce lift and increase high speed stability.
But it’s the engineering upgrades that make the biggest impact.
Engineers tweaked the DBX’s 4.0-liter twin turbocharged V8 sourced from Mercedes-AMG by adding ball bearing turbochargers, revising its breathing and ECU. It’s mated to a new wet-clutch nine-speed automatic transmission, which delivers far faster shifts.
Given the massive amount of power the engine produces, it’s no surprise that the DBX707 wears carbon ceramic brakes the size of trash can lids – 16.5 inches in diameter in front, 15.4 in back. All that power is fed to standard 22-inch wheels, although 23-inchers are available. They’re shod with custom Pirelli P Zero tires made specifically for Aston Martin.
Enhancing its ride and handling is an air suspension that adeptly balances the demands of ride comfort and precise handling. Engineers also employed new damper valving and recalibrated the springs in the suspension and improved the feel of the electronic power steering system.
What results is an SUV that drives like a car.
Nothing will prepare you for the intensity of the DBX707’s unyielding forward momentum, although it’s delivered in a smooth, linear fashion. But there’s so much power, it’s best to leave the gearbox to its own devices. Odds are you won’t be able to shift quickly enough.
This is one super-SUV that feels every bit as quick as it is. And while its speed is extremely impressive, its handling is even more so. There’s little heave, pitch, or body roll as the air suspension tightly controls the vehicle’s behavior. It accentuates the DBX707’s precision and responsiveness as well as its succinct feedback that makes for an intoxicatingly fun drive. Its remarkably light feel belies its weight, something that can’t be said of some of its equally pricey competition.
All of this happens while you’re ensconced in an interior that feels properly bespoke and British. Sport seats are standard, although buyers can opt for comfort seats, as well as a number of trim options. Beyond its looks, the cabin is notably spacious, offering plenty of head and legroom in both rows. The seats are perfectly designed for aggressive driving, yet prove to be comfortable during long trips in the saddle.
Even in the most aggressive cornering maneuvers, the DBX707 delivered a surprisingly amount of compliance and comfort over some gnarly, twisty roads. And the audio system is one of the best I’ve heard in 25 years of reviewing cars. But the infotainment interface – an older Mercedes-Benz COMAND system – is far from state of the art given this car’s price.
It adds up to a truly handsome, high-performance automobile in the finest Aston Martin fashion, a four-wheeled, four-door, four-wheel drive thrill ride. It’s not an overstatement to say that the 2023 Aston Martin DBX707 sets a new benchmark among high-performance SUVs, as well as a truly engaging Aston Martin.
2023 Aston Martin DBX707
Base price: $236,000
Engine: 4.0-liter twin turbocharged V8
Horsepower/Torque: 697/663 pound-feet
EPA fuel economy (city/highway): Not rated
Fuel required: Premium
Length/Width/Height: 198.4/78.7/66.1 inches
Ground clearance: 6.9 inches
Wading depth: 19.4 inches
Cargo capacity: 22.3 cubic feet
Towing capacity: 4,940 pounds©2022 Tribune Content Agency, LLC