The DBX is built on a new all-aluminum body structure engineered and developed in-house at Aston Martin. It's a big car; at 198.4 inches it's 4.5 inches longer overall than a Cayenne, with a 120.5-inch wheelbase that's a hefty 6.6 inches longer than the Porsche's. But Aston claims the DBX's lightweight construction means it weighs 4,940 pounds.
Daimler, which owns just over four percent of Aston Martin Lagonda, is supplying the DBX's powertrain. Launch engine will be a 542-hp, 516 lb-ft version of the ubiquitous 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 that powers sundry Mercedes-AMG models as well as versions of Aston's own DB11 and Vantage sports cars. It's hooked up to Daimler's smooth nine-speed automatic and a performance version of the company's 4Matic all-wheel drive system with an active center differential and rear e-diff. Normal front to rear torque split is 47/53, but the system can send almost 100 percent of the twist action to the rear axle if required.
Standard wheels are 22-inch alloys, shod with 285/40 front and 325/35 rear tires, the decision to go with wider rears made after Aston Martin vehicle attribute engineering chief Matt Becker's team selected the current Cayenne to be the dynamic benchmark for the DBX's chassis development. "The lateral grip numbers that we have seen on tarmac have been genuinely incredible," Becker says. A Pirelli P Zero summer tire will be the default fitment, but Pirelli Scorpion Zero all-season and Scorpion Winter tires will also available. The brakes are steel, with giant 16.1-inch rotors up front and 15.4-inch items at the rear, enough to reportedly give the DBX braking performance on par with the blisteringly quick 715-hp DBS Superleggera.
Aston claims the DBX will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds en route to its 181mph top speed. That seems conservative, given we've recorded a 3.2-second 0-60 time in our testing of the 177-mph Cayenne Turbo, which has the same horsepower and weighs more. But the Porsche's own 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 has 567 lb-ft of torque, 51 lb-ft more, on tap from just 1,960 rpm, which undoubtedly promotes a quicker launch. The DBX's performance is not just all about speed, however: Aston claims it will tow-yes, it's an Aston Martin designed to take a tow hitch-almost 6,000 pounds.
The DBX's front graphic, dominated by a supersized version of the iconic Aston Martin grille is superb, giving the SUV a muscular yet sporty road presence. The sculpted bodyside features fenders teased out over the wheels, and a strong, artfully tensioned line that runs back from the top of the front fenders; in conjunction with a roofline that drops as it runs rearwards from the windshield, it gives the DBX the athletic gesture of a sports car. The rear end is polarizing. The light graphic arching across a pronounced ducktail spoiler is an obvious nod to the Vantage coupe. But its thin section means that, from the base of the rear bumper to the lower edge of the rear backlight, you're looking at an awful lot of painted metal and plastic. The black-painted lower fascia helps take away some of the visual mass on the red car shown here, but that trick won't work on a DBX painted black.