It lives! Aston Martin DBX breaks cover – here's everything you need to know
Aston Martin’s first SUV has finally arrived – here’s what to expect from the DBX
Alex Goy is a freelance motoring journalist who writes for the likes of Motor1, Carfection, CNET and DriveTribe.
The camo is off and the ‘prototype’ stickers have been thrown in the bin – the Aston Martin DBX is finally here. So what makes it special then? For one it’s Aston Martin’s first ever SUV. For… two it’s got a thwacking great V8. And that’s just the start of it.
You’re likely here for the headline figures first and foremost, so we’ll indulge you. The DBX packs a tweaked version of the Vantage’s 4.0-litre turbocharged V8. This time round it produces 542bhp and 516lb ft. In other words, lots. Thanks to a nine-speed torque converter ‘box and four driven wheels, the DBX’s motor will fire its 2,245kg heft from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds and up to 181mph.
If you’re one for fuel economy, Aston is expecting it to manage 19.7mpg on the combined cycle, while emitting 269g/km CO2. Aston says it sounds suitably fruity, and it even comes with cylinder deactivation to up fuel economy.
There are a few drivetrain and handling modes to play with – the four on-road modes include Sport for noise and fun, and Sport+ for when the world can only be righted with the liberal application of V8 noise. Terrain and Terrain+ let the DBX go exploring off road. It’ll even wade through 500mm of water if you get REALLY lost. Don’t worry about getting mud on your trousers when you get out though, it’s been designed to keep road gunk as far from your legs as possible.
Those who only care about big numbers should be satisfied, which means we can move on to what actually makes the DBX tick. Yes, it’s an Aston Martin, so it needs to be mega quick, but it’s an SUV for people who might actually use them on their vast country estates and thus actually needs to work off road as well. Oh, and while it does that it needs to work for all shapes and sizes of people.
To solve the ‘everyone can drive it’ issue, Aston has ensured that everyone from a 99th percentile male to a fifth percentile female can fit in it and drive it properly. And when it comes to stuff there’s plenty of space – 632-litres of boot space should be ample for most, though a 40:20:40 folding rear seat means more can be added if needs be.
Access in all situations can be an issue for SUVs – either they’re too tall to fit in urban garages, or can be a bit low to properly tackle rough and tumble terrain in the wild. Thankfully, the DBX gets trick air suspension that can lower the car by 50mm, or raise it by 45mm depending on what you need it to do. The eARC anti-roll control system, designed to keep body roll in check (no mean feat when the centre of gravity is so high off the ground), combined with air springs and smart dampers gives, according to Aston, a more sportscar-like drive.
Sporty drive or not, it comes with some off-road cred, and Aston reckons it can hack the rough stuff as well as anything out there. 542bhp should be enough to fire it over most hills anyway, but DBX’s all-wheel drive system, various differentials and eDiff mean torque can be moved from wheel to wheel when needed. Torque vectoring by braking is also available to get ‘er round corners briskly.
As far as tech goes, it’s all been laid out with ergonomics in mind, so the various controls are easy to use. Infotainment is provided by a system co-developed with Mercedes-AMG, and it’s one we’ve already used in other models throughout the line up, so we know what to expect there. Apple CarPlay and DAB come as standard, so you’ll never be wanting for entertainment. If you’re worried about parking it, a 360 degree camera system comes as standard, which is pretty pimp.
Being an Aston Martin, the DBX isn’t only about what it can do. It’s about how it looks. The front three quarters are STUNNING. A muted front end featuring the traditional Aston Martin grille and a pair of front wheel well pressure relieving air vents surrounded by DRLs is a blinding start.
Its side profile is pretty special, too. There’s a lot of glass there – and it serves to keep the interior bright and airy. The rear though... there’s a big ‘ol spoiler to reduce lift, and a rear light bar inspired by the Vantage. It’s going to polarise people – there’s a lot of metal there and it looks a smidge top heavy. More brutalist than elegant…
That wing, and various other aero tricks employed around the car are no joke – the smoother the DBX cuts through the air, the faster (and further) it can go on less fuel. In order to get that right, Aston’s engineers used CFD to see how air flows over the car. One CFD model had a DBX towing a trailer with a DB6 on board. As ludicrous as that sounds, it’s actually a pretty likely occurrence. Good to know they thought of everything, right?
Inside is a treasure trove of leather, curves, and general prettiness. There are hidden cubby holes to hide your water bottles and… stuff, and techniques used to make its smaller sports cars feel roomy are employed to make as much space as possible. It’s all very Aston Martin.
Naturally, there are plenty of options to choose from, and even more if you hand your car to Aston's Q division. However, there are options packs to make your DBX suited to whatever you want it to – shooting, skiing, pets, you name it.
The first 500 DBX will get the 1913 Package – a build book, an invite to a swanky cocktail party, personal inspection and endorsement from CEO Andy Palmer, unique badging, and a special inspection plaque.
Want in? The new Aston Martin DBX is yours from £158,000.