The DBX is Aston Martin’s first SUV and it’s less scary than nice, which is exactly why it’s already so popular in Singapore
The DBX, more so than any other Aston Martin of the past three decades, is truly a car of its time. It’s Aston Martin’s first SUV, and it certainly does exactly what we expected: 1. Be a practical, comfortable and luxurious car, and 2. Boost the brand’s sales considerably and allow it to ‘pull a Cayenne’ and become the new cornerstone for sales.
Unlike the seven bankruptcies of its past and accompanying ownership changes, the DBX seems to presage a brighter future for the brand since it’s already managed to double the brand’s sales figures in Singapore last year, and is on track to sell out its allocation for 2021 too.
In the super-lux SUV context, the DBX is sportier than the Bentley, though less comfortable, with the opposite true in comparison to the Lambo.
There’s no mistaking the DBX’s provenance with the signature grille shape flanked by oval-ish headlights leaving little doubt, though it’s slightly alarming to see that grille fly so high above the tarmac for the first time.
The car’s cabin spacious, elegant and best described as an old-school bovine apocalypse: Almost every surface is slathered in leather.
There are lots of real buttons, the infotainment system is totally dial-based lifted directly from Mercedes-Benz’s previous COMAND iteration.
It’s not a wildly accomplished interior, but it’s one of the nicest cabins Aston has ever done, in our experience, with no creaks, gaps, or similar niggles that are out of place in a car costing close to a million bucks, all-in. But the aircon vents are, like on the Vantage, are good at pointing nowhere in particular.
With a roomy interior, this is probably the first Aston you can convince your spouse of being truly family friendly and that accounts for its relative popularity.
There’s rear climate control, five adults will fit, the boot is very large – 638-litres. Another SO-convincing feature is the fact that the car also has a full suite of active safety systems.
There are six drive modes and with the car’s adaptive air suspension, the experience varies considerably depending on the mode. ‘GT’ mode serves up comfortable daily driving and highlights the car’s excellent refinement and in-cabin quietude. The DBX is a large car, but it doesn’t feel enormous, and visibility is decent with the usual SUV foibles of fat A-pillars and small rear window.
Sport and Sport+ showcase the Mercedes-AMG-made drivetrain – it’s similar to the one on the AMG E 63 S, though with 550hp from the 4.0-litre V8, the same nine-speed auto gearbox and all-wheel drive system with torque vectoring, but tuned by Aston as it is with the Vantage V8.
With on-paper figures similar to the Bentayga V8, it’s not a performance monster, but it’s certainly quick and dramatic. The AMG V8 is an engine we know and love because of its throaty soundtrack and pleasingly visceral experience during hard acceleration, with the pleasing backfire after you lift off being the cherry on top. But when slowing down, you will feel the 2,245kg kerb weight, as the brakes could do with more outright stopping power.
It’s also a good handler, and feels like Aston purposefully went for a more analogue experience to the drive, there’s still some roll to clue in the driver, and it rides quite well.
In other words, it doesn’t feel like an ultra-capable mega-techy-SUV in the vein of the Audi RS Q8 or Porsche Cayenne Turbo, but it does have enough drama and sporting capability to please a driver. Our quibble was that this car feels expensive for what it is, and especially in comparison to those cars just mentioned. But it’s perhaps an irrelevant point already, as DBX buyers have already shown.
|Engine||3,982cc, V8, biturbo|
|Power||542hp at 6500rpm|
|Torque||700Nm at 2200-5000rpm|
|VES Band / modifier||C2 / +S$25,000|
|Price||S788,000 without COE/options|
|Verdict||A super-lux SUV for those that already know what they want anyway|