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Aston Martin DBX

ASTON'S SUV-IP (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

Aston Martin entered a fresh era with its first SUV, the DBX. Is it good enough to save the company? Jonathan Crouch drives it.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 86

The DBX is a last throw of the dice for Aston Martin. This super-luxury SUV simply has to succeed for the brand and it certainly has wider appeal than anything the company has produced in its entire history. Virtually all the basic chassis technology and handling development here is Aston's own, though the rest of the engineering is Mercedes-sourced. And the brand has delivered a whole new standard of cabin quality. If this car doesn't work for Aston, then it's hard to see what else will.

Backgroundword count: 164

Today, every luxury car maker depends to a very great extent on SUV models for its profitability. And for the first two decades of the 21st century, Aston Martin couldn't offer such a thing. If you want an explanation for the company's current financial woes, that's a primary one right there. In some ways, this unfortunate position is to be respected. Years ago, Aston could have borrowed a design from its Mercedes shareholder and simply repackaged it. But former CEO Andy Palmer was determined to do the job properly - and did so with the DBX, the car on which the future of the company now depends. Which was brave given the huge investment needed to create not only an all-new aluminium platform chassis but also the necessary all-new factory (in St Athan, South Wales) necessary to build this car. It's a six figure super-SUV of course, so forget Cayennes and Q8s; think instead of rivals like the Lamborghini Urus and the Bentley Bentayga.

Driving Experienceword count: 449

Under the bonnet lies a 4.0-litre petrol V8 borrowed from the Mercedes-AMG E 63 - which makes it a slightly different unit from the one used in Aston's Vantage and DB11 models, in the standard DBX V8 developing 550PS and 700Nm of torque. The faster DBX707 ups that to 707PS. Either way, there's an active four wheel drive system and a torque vectoring rear differential - those are borrowed from an E 63 too. Transmission choice you'd expect to be either the 7-speed auto used by the E 63 or the 8-speed ZF auto that features in Aston's other models but in the event it's neither, a 9-speed DCT auto decided upon so that the engineers could provide for the kind of decent towing capacity that the brand knew some DBX owners might want - it's rated at 2.7-tonnes. That choice of gearbox slightly limits ultimate torque and therefore performance but it's still pretty rapid, even in the standard V8 version where 62mph from rest is achievable in 4.5s en route to 181mph. If you want to go faster than that in an SUV, there's something wrong with you. But Aston will cater for you anyway with that DBX707 model, which improves the stats to 3.3s and 193mph. This gets a tougher 'wet clutch' version of the transmission, a strengthened 'e-diff' and carbon ceramic brakes, as well as extensive chassis tuning. Whatever your choice of DBX, as usual with any luxury sporting car (and any Aston) there are lots of driving modes, the ones on offer here likely to be familiar to Aston regulars. 'GT' will be your default pick, but if you want to get the emotively-tuned sports exhaust crackling, there's also 'Sport' or 'Sport+' options, plus an 'Individual' menu allowing you make the most of all the new engineering tech (much of it never previously used by the brand). This includes four-chamber air suspension, adaptive Bilstein dampers and a 48-volt 'eARC' ('electric Anti Roll Control' system) with roll-cancelling active anti-roll bars. Interestingly though, Aston chassis expert Matt Becker decided against using the kind of 4-wheel steering tech that features on obvious rivals, believing that it corrupts the 'purity' of the car's steering feel. As for those drive modes, well as with other models from the company, we reckon the 'Individual' menu settings sweet spot is likely to see power (or throttle response) set to 'Sport', exhaust on 'Sport+' and chassis on 'GT'. There are also off road setting options (yes, the DBX will properly go off road: in fact it can wade through water up to 500mm deep). The 4x4 rough surface settings are 'Terrain' (where the air suspension lifts the car higher) and 'Terrain+' (higher still).

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Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s

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This is an excerpt from our full review.
To access the full content library please contact us on 0330 0020 227 or click here

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