Lifestyle

Review – British-built Aston Martin DBX is as good an SUV as it sounds


With the arrival of the Aston Martin DBX, the only supercar giant with no SUV is Ferrari – and the Italian marque plans to launch one next year.

In the past I’ve considered an Aston Martin to be an expensive way of buying a less good Jaguar.

But the DBX is the most rounded Aston I’ve ever driven and is without doubt a quality piece of kit. It is new from the ground up and a factory in South Wales was built to produce it.

The body is made from cast and extruded aluminium that is bonded together to form a lightweight and rigid structure, while under the bonnet is the same 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine you’ll find powering numerous hot Mercedes.

The same but with lower compression and revised turbochargers, but still with an impressive 542bhp.

Mercedes, which has a 20 per cent stake in Aston, also provides the nine-speed auto gearbox and much of the kit inside the car, including the ­infotainment system.



There’s a lot riding on this car

It’s an almost impossible task to make a big SUV look as sexy and stylish as a GT car but the DBX looks as svelte as a 2.3-tonne 4×4 can.

Step inside, once you’ve managed your way past the fiddly pop-out door handle, and you’ll see the final resting place of many cows. Or their skins at least.

It looks really special, especially in our test car’s tan colour. Even the door bins are trimmed in leather.

The roof lining is Alcantara to add to the luxurious feeling.

If you own a Mercedes-Benz, even an entry level A-Class, you will recognise some of the DBX’s switches and stalks. No matter for they are good quality.



Thankfully they have got a lot right


There is an accent on svelte

As mentioned, the infotainment system is from Mercedes but is several generations old and the 10.25-inch display isn’t a touchscreen.

You control the functions through a rotary dial and touchpad, and when you’re using Apple Carplay or Android Auto, not being able to tap the screen to select say, Spotify or Google Maps, is a pain.

Shame too there’s no wireless tethering so you have to use an ugly cable.

The problem with many luxury motors is that their development time is so long, their tech is often out of date by the time the cars are in the showroom, leaving your £200k luxury motor less well equipped than a £12,000 Kia.

However, that’s all the negative stuff out the way.



The ride is very comfortable with accurate steering


Generous leg room in the front and back

Fire up the V8 motor, press the D button above the infotainment screen, and off you rumble. The default driving mode is GT, with Sport available if you want more noise and stiffer suspension.

Even in GT the engine sounds fantastic with an occasional pop from the exhaust.

Compared to its rivals the DBX is not that quick with 0-62mph in 4.5sec, but performance is not just about raw numbers and the Aston feels exciting.

All DBXs have air suspension with adjustable anti-roll bars. And although the ride and handling is sporty, the car is very comfortable with accurate steering.

Aston Martin’s last four-seater was the Rapide but in practice the rear seats were next to useless.



You could take it off road but who would want to?


There’s the option of all-season tyres

The DBX, as you’d hope, has more than adequate space for four adults (it sits five) with generous legroom for both rows of seats.

The boot is big too, and practically shaped with useful tie downs, and if you want to pull a horse box or speed boat the towing capacity is 2,700kg.

Braver folk than me have taken the DBX off-road but I wasn’t going to risk it in this £158,000 motor.

I doubt very many owners will either but Aston has taken care of those who might by engineering a generous ride height, and the option of all-season tyres and an actively locking rear differential for better traction.

The DBX is crucial to Aston Martin’s future so it’s great news that the car is so good and capable. However, the job’s not done yet because this motor is old school – in other words the range is lacking a hybrid or ­electrified powertrain.

These versions are surely on the drawing board and can’t come soon enough.

THE FACTS

Aston Martin DBX



Aston Martin DBX SUV Price: £158,00 NEWSPRESS HANDOUT- FREE TO USE

Price: £158,000

Engine: 4.0-litre eight-cylinder petrol, 542bhp 0-62mph: 4.5sec

Fuel consumption: 19.8mpg

Co2: 323g/km

THE RIVALS

Bentley Bentayga



The Bentayga will set you back £146,700

Very fast, very comfortable and very refined – and very ugly with it.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan



The Cullinan is an extraordinary £306,935

Lovely to ride in but, again, it’s hideously ugly and horrendously expensive.

Lamborghini Urus



The Urus is a cool £167,000

As extrovert as a Lambo should be. If high performance is all that matters then this is
your choice.





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