It’s happened - Aston Martin can be added to the ever-increasing roster of uber-premium brands that offer SUVs. The company’s effort is called the DBX, and if you really must do the whole high-riding all-wheel drive thing, this is a stylish way to do it.
Showing shades of Vantage at the rear and a bit of DB11 at the front, the body is slightly longer, wider and lower and a Porsche Cayman. The weight is similar to its arch-rival too, with the DBX’s 2245kg kerb figure being 10kg bulkier.
The power figure of 542bhp from the Mercedes-AMG twin-turbo V8 matches that of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, although the DBX is not as swift off the line, hitting 62mph from rest in 4.5 seconds compared to 3.9. Keep going, and it’ll run until 181mph.
To liberate the extra 39bhp from the 4.0-litre engine (the torque figure is unchanged from other V8 Aston models at 516lb ft), upgraded turbos and charge coolers have been added. The compression ratio is different too.
Power is sent to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic gearbox and an electronically-controlled centre transfer case. It generally splits torque 47/53 across the two axles, although if necessary, it can chuck up to 100 per cent to the rear axle. Speaking of which, torque is distributed between the rear-most wheels through an electronically-controlled limited-slip differential. Oh, and the propshaft is made from carbonfibre. Fancy.
The platform is completely new, and underpinned by three-chamber air suspension - an Aston Martin first. Working together with a 48-volt-powered electronic anti-roll bar system, Aston claims that when it comes to body roll, the way the DBX handles itself is “much more akin to that of a sports car than an SUV”.
It does have some off-road capability, with the approach, departure and breakover angles listed as 25.7, 27.1 and 18.8-degrees with the air suspension set to its highest setting. Unless you’re a mud-plugging enthusiast those numbers are likely to mean diddly squat to you, so for the sake of comparison, a Range Rover Sport SVR manages 29.2, 28 and 28-degrees, while the Porsche Cayenne’s off-road figures are 27.1, 24.1 and 21.1.
The wading depth of 500mm is a long way off the Range Rover’s 750mm capability, but closer to the Cayenne, which can plough through water up to 550mm deep. The maximum ground clearance of 235mm, meanwhile, isn’t drastically far away from the 278mm and 269mm offered by the Rangey and the Porsche respectively.
Aston Martin has come under some flack for its recent spate of interior designs, but the DBX’s cabin looks like a much more successful space. The dash looks less fussy than the DB11’s at first glance, and there are no awkward poking-out infotainment screens - the 10.25-inch central screen sits flush with the console.
Plus, the DBX doesn’t - unlike the Vantage/DBS/DB11 - have a hand-me-down infotainment system. It’s been given the latest version of technology partner Daimler AG’s software, meaning it should all look much more up-to-date. The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is new too.
The DBX is, unsurprisingly, the most practical vehicle Aston Martin has ever made. It has seating for five and a 632-litre boot, which can be expanded further by folding down the 40/20/40 split rear bench. There’s even a ‘pet package’ which is intended to “give animals their own space in the boot of the car, keeping them from roaming inquisitively about the cabin”. It includes protection for the rear bumper to stop pooch from butchering the paintwork when scrabbling into the back of the DBX.
The price, before you add any options like that, is £158,000. It’ll be built at a dedicated new factory in St Athan, Wales, and the first deliveries will take place during the second quarter of 2020.