2021 Aston Martin DBX
A very stylish crossover with terrific performance
PORSCHE SEEMINGLY PAVED THE WAY TO THE exotic/performance SUV arena with their 2003 Cayenne, accompanied by much hand wringing and prognostication among the brand’s faithful that to have a Porsche nameplate on an SUV—a family car!—was tantamount to blasphemy. However, early naysayers were terribly wrong, as Porsche has made a big success of its SUVs and virtually every other exotic/performance car company has joined the caravan. Aston Martin apparently didn’t see the light until more recently, though they still beat Ferrari, whose Purosange SUV is due out in another year or so. But while Aston is somewhat late to the party for this automotive segment, they took the time to be sure that they got it right. Based on the opinions of many auto writers and even more customers, right it is.
First off, they were able to preserve and even highlight some important styling cues that identify the DBX as an Aston Martin, both when viewed from the front and from the rear. The grill has the long-term Aston look, which the company’s chief creative officer once called “a box pushing out of an organic oval shape, with smoothed corners.” Okay, then, so be it. The tail also has an Aston signature, though a more recent one: it’s wavy, with the high part in the center, mirroring the tail of the Aston Vantage, and unlike the rear lights of the other SUVs now on the road.
The interior is as supple and lush as the finest English cars can be: beautiful woods, terrific leathers, the whole nine yards. To drive the DBX is to command a ship wrought from the finest materials brought together to offer the typical Aston finery. It wasn’t that many years ago that words like “leather” and “utility vehicle” were not used on the same car, but Aston has brought them together in a terrific way: luxurious without being too frou-frou, especially when coupled to a twin-turbo V8 with an athletic exhaust note. Pumping out over 540 horsepower and an equally impressive torque twist of over 515 foot-pounds, you can pull a tree stump from your yard early in the day, spend some time at the track, then go out for a night on the town and have the perfect vehicle for each part of that day.
“My” DBX was liveried in “Lunar White” with an “Obsidian Black Leather” interior, so it was rather understated, especially when compared with some of the neon colors favored by other marques. I call it “quiet elegance” as, being an Aston, it immediately had a great presence, but didn’t scream about it. When called on, it can rip off 0 to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and continue up to a top speed of over 180 mph. When the selector is set to the performance mode, it can do that with a great soundtrack, to boot. With all-wheel drive, air-ride suspension at all four corners, and active roll control, you’re guaranteed to go those places where no sedan would dare, all the while coddling the driver and occupants in a smooth and comfortable ride and cornering with alacrity.
The DBX is so well-appointed that the option list was fairly modest. The top-cost choices were the three collections which Aston calls “Packs”—the “Black Pack” at $6,100, the “DB Elegance Pack” at $4,600, and the “Indulgence Pack” at $3,100. Those three add special appearance items to the car, like more carbon fiber as well as other blacked-out trim and additional visual upgrades. The various options added to the $176,900 base price and brought the sticker to $206,286.
Like other Astons, the DBX seems destined to remain a special car not often seen on the road. Their limited production numbers help to create that rarity which some people appreciate, as they don’t want to see “their” car drive by several times a day or (horrors!) in their neighbor’s driveway.
I’ve driven many Astons and even owned a handful, so I am very familiar with the brand. I immediately felt comfortable with the DBX and was actually very much “at home” with the car. I did not think that any aspect of the DBX was passé or otherwise short of the Aston standard. Now appearing at dealers, check it out.
Note: At press time, Aston announced a new, high-performance variant of the DBX, the 707 edition. It differs in a few ways from the standard DBX. Its twin-turbo V-8 motor generates about 700 horsepower, making it the world’s most powerful luxury SUV. Other stats: 665 pound-feet of torque, 0 to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds, and a top speed of 193 mph. Pricing is expected to start at about $230,000. Please watch for a future article on this variant that Aston calls “The Seat of Power.”