Aston Martin DBX 707 review: 697bhp prototype SUV tested Reviews 2022
Ah, the world’s strongest* SUV…
Right, assuming that by your asterisk we’re leaving out such US heavy-hitters because the Hellcat-engined Dodge Durango SRT and Jeep’s Trackhawk. Each of these produce over 700bhp, whereas the DBX 707 really develops 697bhp (707 refers to its metric horsepower output). However this can be a very completely different kind of automobile. Not least as a result of it’s nonetheless technically a prototype. You may inform by the stripes which can be no type of disguise by any means.
You drove it on a observe?
Sure, Aston’s Stowe improvement circuit at Silverstone. It didn’t begin that nicely. Now this may be over-sharing, nevertheless it tells you one thing about Aston Martin. I requested Tobias Moers if he’d been concerned within the sign-off for the brand new DBX 707. He shoots me a disbelieving look. I believe perhaps he’s misunderstood me, so I ask once more: “You understand, have been you concerned in improvement driving the automobile earlier than it was signed-off?” A pause, then: “That is my automobile. I did it”.
Tobias Moers, for reference, is Aston Martin’s CEO. Not its engineering director or chassis guru. The buck-stops-here boss. Leaving apart the query of why he sees automobile improvement as his job, it does at the least imply he’s palms on.
What’s the end result?
A really completely different kind of DBX. Tougher, angrier. Virtually a brand new kind of Aston Martin, the truth is, whenever you look throughout the present mannequin vary. Aston’s tagline for the DBS Superleggera is “a brute in a swimsuit”. It’s nonetheless cultured, nonetheless a GT, only a extra ready and fascinating one. It is a notch up from that when it comes to aggression, extra aligned with the Vantage F1 Version. And it’s an SUV.
Maybe it’s indicative of the place the model is heading in its new mid-engined future. We’re promised that may begin with the Valkyrie – lastly – later this 12 months. This gloves off aggression is extra aligned with the Lamborghini Urus and most fearsome Porsche Cayennes. However this doesn’t essentially imply it’s actively uncomfortable. It’s the noise, the manner, the pace and the potential that ship many of the aggression – it’s there in case you go searching for it in different phrases. Within the Lambo it’s tough to cover from it.
Aston has simply fitted greater turbos although, hasn’t it?
That’s the headline, for the reason that beefier blowers have boosted the present twin turbo V8 by 155bhp and 148lb ft. In fact that units off an engineering chain response that features a greater grille for extra cooling, a brand new moist clutch model of the nine-speed gearbox pinched from a Merc-AMG E63 S, 23-inch wheels and big 420mm carbon ceramic brakes as commonplace (dropping the all-round unsprung weight by 40kg), observe widths elevated by 60mm, launch management, uprated suspension (55 per cent stiffer entrance damper high mounts, truth followers!) and a rear diffuser that appears such as you’ve trapped Daffy Duck beneath.
The gearing is shorter to spice up sprinting, there’s launch management to assist ship 0-60mph in simply 3.3secs and that 193mph high finish.
Can the DBX chassis address that stage of efficiency?
Surprisingly simply. The chassis is just not the weak hyperlink right here – it might, considerably ridiculously – deal with extra energy. The facility supply isn’t as pressing as within the Urus, these huge turbos take a little bit of spooling up, so there’s a barely tender response whereas they get going, after which on the high of the rev vary you run right into a tender limiter simply earlier than 7,000rpm quite than a tough minimize. In between, you’re compelled again laborious, and have attractive gargling V8 noise urging you on.
The gearchanges aren’t as sharp as within the Lamborghini, aren’t fired by as immediately, however then an Aston Martin isn’t a Lamborghini. It must have a broader use case. The Urus corners flat and laborious, inflexible management as a substitute of finesse. The Aston has a little bit of roll so that you’re extra conscious of the boundaries approaching.
What occurs past the boundaries?
Leisure. In Sport+ mode (there’s a useful new rotary controller on the console to modify between modes), the 707 sends 95 per cent of torque to the again axle. Be assured and prod the throttle laborious as you flip in and the factor skids about like an MX-5. Typically 4WD automobiles really feel complicated at this level, however though the DBX does shuffle energy forwards, it stays predictable and steady. It’s a hoot. Solely irrelevant, however nonetheless a hoot.
However when not yobbing in regards to the 707 nonetheless will get out of corners engagingly. Moderately than ploughing on nostril first, it exits neutrally, all 4 wheels working nicely. I’m most impressed by the again axle which feels calm and managed. Heading into corners the entrance often hops below laborious strain. Admirable resistance to understeer, however the steering wants extra weight to precisely talk the forces concerned.
On the entire although, this factor rips round a observe with a precision and skill approach past what you’d think about from an Aston Martin SUV. It’s this capability at and past the restrict that makes the DBX 707 really feel new and completely different to what’s gone earlier than. Physique management is superior, the stability and adjustability was uncanny, it feels nicely tied down (until you select to be an utter hooligan), and scoots spherical a circuit as ably (and doubtless speedily) as any super-saloon you care to say. In truth the most important disadvantage to driving it quick was the seats.
What’s incorrect with the seats?
Too slippery and never closely bolstered sufficient. Particularly the seat base. My physique was moderately nicely held, however my thighs sloshed round everywhere. The engineers say that speccing the Alcantara seat centres actually helps. Take observe, in case you’re planning on monitoring your 707.
Actually no-one goes to do this. What’s it like at decrease speeds?
Clearly I didn’t drive it on street, nevertheless it didn’t really feel like that had been compromised an excessive amount of. Trip consolation was good, so too refinement. You’ll do distance with the household on board and so they’re unlikely to complain. In my expertise they do in an Urus. The modifications made to the entrance subframe (additional bracing) have ensured the entrance wheel is held in place higher, permitting the suspension to work extra progressively. Hopefully these are modifications that make it again to the usual DBX.
The powertrain is completely happy simply shuffling round in GT mode, noise a distant rumble. That is how folks will principally drive and benefit from the DBX. And it’s rewarding – it’s solely on the restrict I’d need extra grippy seats, extra steering weight and a entrance finish as progressive and managed because the rear.
How are the brakes?
Essential one given the speeds the 707 can dial up and the actual fact it weighs over 2.2 tonnes. Outright stopping energy is sweet however not excellent, however resistance to fade is downright excellent. The pedal stays agency, distances don’t enhance, you may have confidence.
What about the best way it seems to be?
I don’t assume it’s gone far sufficient. It’s too elegant. Plainly consumers of automobiles like this need them to look as imposing as attainable. Sure, this will get greater wheels and a extra gaping entrance finish, nevertheless it doesn’t look as aggressively sporting because it really is to drive. As an example Aston has labored to make it seem that it rides decrease, however not really dropped the experience top. Shout out to the Satin Titanium Gray paint although – that’s beautiful.
Will folks purchase it?
Completely. Whether or not they need to these days is a matter for his or her conscience. Don’t neglect Europe is approach forward of the environmental curve and way more delicate to social considerations than the markets in Asia, American and the Center East that may lap this up.
There are drawbacks that may irritate consumers in every single place although. Not the £189,000 sticker value (£30k up on commonplace) – that simply helps guarantee completely. There’s nonetheless no touchscreen. And what in regards to the headline pace and energy figures that Aston is putting a lot inventory in and that we all know nonetheless have huge pull for consumers? 707bhp, 3.3-to-60 and 193mph. They’re not huge shifts within the SUV-sphere.
193mph is a few mph quicker than a Bentley Bentayga W12 Pace or Lamborghini Urus (each 190mph), whereas the Porsche Cayenne GT is already a faster sprinter (0-62mph in 3.1secs). Hearsay has it we’ll see a quicker Urus this 12 months too, one that may most likely goal 200mph and a sub-3.0sec dash – benchmarks the DBX 707 fails to hit. Let’s hope the DBX’s inherent sophistication and desirability permit it to do the enterprise. Plus, presumably, a quick lap of the ‘Ring.