This is the new Aston Martin DBX SUV

20th November 2019
Bob Murray

Aston Martin has gone bankrupt seven times in the past 106 years, and the car to ensure it doesn’t happen for an eighth time is unveiled today, five years after CEO Andy Palmer first stepped through the door at Gaydon and immediately put it top of the new-model agenda: the Aston Martin DBX.

As other sports car companies have found, the golden ticket is an SUV. 


We first saw Aston’s luxury crossover as a concept at the Geneva Motor Show in 2016. It was called DBX then and that is the name it has kept, along with elements of the concept’s design, the work of Aston’s creative maestro Marek Reichman

After an extensive pre-launch build-up, the world is familiar with the DBX’s general shape but now with the first pictures of undisguised cars we can see the nuances, design cues and craftsmanship that aim to transform a stereotypical SUV lump – 5m long, 2m wide and 1.7m tall – into that most atypical thing: a real Aston Martin SUV. 

Successfully so? Judge for yourselves but we reckon three things. Number one, that it has a definite Aston identity, from its signature front end to its Vantage-style “flip” tail spoiler; Two, that the profile is sleek enough to avoid the SUV giant taxi look; and three, the design makes you want to drive it. And that, ultimately, will be where the DBX faces its biggest test. 


From all the information we now have about the DBX, and knowing the track record of the people behind it, this is a car set to deliver in spades, and crucially not just for traditional Aston owners. 

This is the Aston designed as much, perhaps more, for non-Aston owners. It is a car over which children have had a say in what it’s like in the back and where practical considerations like luggage and towing have ranked highly. It’s an Aston aimed at the school run and the ski run, for people from dog owners and boat owners to surfers and adventurers.

“The DBX will give many people their first experience of Aston Martin ownership,” confirms Andy Palmer. “As such it needed to be true to the core values established in our sports cars, while also providing the lifestyle versatility expected of a luxury SUV.”

We love the idea that towing duties during development included hauling a trailer with a DB6 on it, while female preferences were the result of input from the Female Advisory Board – not forgetting of course that for a year now AML has had its first female chairperson. Aston may not have focused on women buyers in the past but with its first SUV it is definitely trying to change. Along with blokes up to 6ft 4in (99th percentile), the driving position has been designed equally for 5ft tall women (5th percentile), and there are other examples as well of its all-embracing nature, including a more intuitive control layout.


The Aston DBX is about more than just 0-60 times then, but a good set of figures never hurts and the DBX has them: 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 181mph. Both numbers line up the DBX alongside its most natural rival, the V8 Bentley Bentayga – which costs around £20,000 less than the new Aston. 

Like the Bentley the Aston has 550PS (542bhp) from a twin-turbo, 4.0-litre V8, the familiar Mercedes-AMG-sourced engine already used to such good and noisy effect in the Vantage and DB11. If you don’t want to disturb the neighbours there’s a quiet-start mode that closes exhaust valves and avoids Aston’s traditional engine start blare. 

There are no great mechanical surprises with the drivetrain. The engine is hooked up to a nine-speed automatic transmission, a torque convertor type rather than dual-clutch but still with paddle-shift for manual mode. Its 700Nm (516lb ft) of torque is distributed to all four wheels by an active centre diff, while at the rear there’s an electronic limited-slip diff whose braking function on individual wheels provides cross-axle torque vectoring. 


Suspension is by double wishbones at the front and a multi-link rear set-up, with springing provided by triple-chamber air springs. The dampers are adaptive, and body roll in the corners – the curse of any high-riding vehicle – is tamed by a 48-volt electronic eARC system that Aston says is the secret behind the big SUV’s sports car-like grip and handling. In its most aggressive setting, eARC can reduce body roll to levels comparable with a DB11, says the firm, while in GT mode the claim is that it offers plenty of bump absorption for a smooth on-road ride. 

The electric steering has 2.6 turns between locks and Matt Becker, Aston’s ace dynamics guru, says it is communicative and quick enough to enhance the dynamic sports car feel. There should be no problems with braking – the six-piston calipers and vented and grooved steel discs are said to provide retardation on a par with the DBS Superleggera. The wheels are 22-inchers shod with Pirellis: options are P-Zeros for those in warm climes, Scorpion Zeros for all-season use, or Scorpion Winter tyres for more extreme wintry conditions. 

The air springs mean ride height can be raised up to 45mm or lowered by 50mm for the benefit of on-road handling, off-road exploring and aiding corner entry and exit. The ride height is adjusted automatically, via whichever drive mode is selected, or manually, including by a button in the boot to lower the body to help with luggage loading. There is 632 litres of boot space and the rear seats fold down in the usual 40-20-40 split. 


There are six drive modes that tailor the DBX to different situations by adjusting the exhaust noise, differentials, air suspension, anti-roll control and stability and anti-rollover systems. Four of the modes are on-road, including Sport and Sport+, and two are for off-road: Terrain and Terrain+. 

Really, an Aston Martin off-roader? “Highly capable in a range of challenging off-road environments” is the official line. It’s probably best to think horsebox (or DB6!) towing, boat launching and muddy fields more than mountain climbing, although the DBX does come with hill descent control, the first Aston to have the feature. That, plus the adjustable ride height, adjustable anti-roll control for maximum wheel articulation and a wading depth of 500mm should ensure it can go places no Aston has ever gone before. 

All this sits inside a bonded aluminium monocoque on a new SUV platform put together on brand new tools in a brand new purpose-built factory in St Athan, South Wales. Aston makes much of the DBX’s clean-sheet creation, with the dedicated SUV platform the only way to achieve the design parameters of stiffness, light weight, cabin room and reduced NVH (noise, vibration and harshness). At 2,245kg it’s lighter than the Bentayga but then it should be for it is also a little shorter and lower. Despite this, Aston claims the DBX offers class-leading spaciousness, with 1,016mm of rear headroom and 1,060mm of rear legroom. 


As well as space the cabin promises to be very light, with a standard full-length glass roof, complete with an Alcantara electric roof blind, and frameless door windows. The front seats are derived from those in the DB11 and Aston says it has worked hard to incorporate lots of cabin stowage areas. 

While the dash layout looks traditional it promises a more user-friendly approach to ergonomics and connectivity. Infotainment, displayed on the centre screen, is an Aston-ised version of that used in Mercedes models with all that means in terms of easy access to its extensive functionality. 

Along with the connectivity tech you get luxury and craftsmanship. Metal, glass and wood are materials of choice in the cabin, along with Bridge of Weir full grain leather plus a more sustainable wool-rich blend of trim material. Trim options embrace trad wooden finishes to a bronze mesh to a flax composite alternative to carbon fibre.


Standard spec is what you’d expect and includes all available safety systems, but shouldn’t a heated steering wheel be included for your £158,000? Like all luxury SUVs though, the DBX’s list price is very much an academic starting point. Options Aston is putting forward to tempt you include masses of extra kit, 11 separate lifestyle accessory packages and the Q bespoking business to fulfil more individual whims. 

We never thought we’d say it, but here is an Aston Martin you can order with a… dog shower. It seems they have thought of everything – at least Andy Palmer and his team will be hoping so. Going bust seven times is enough for anyone…


The Aston Martin DBX by numbers 

How much will the DBX cost? £158,000 is the starting price in UK including tax, with deliveries from April 2020

How much does the DBX weigh? 2,245kg (kerb weight), with a max towing weight of 2,700kg

What engine does the DBX have? A 4.0-litre, twin-turbo, AMG-derived V8, the same as the Vantage

How much power does the DBX have? 550 PS (542bhp) at 6,500rpm and 700 Nm (516lb ft) of torque from 2,200rpm

How fast is the DBX? 0-62mph takes 4.5 seconds and the top speed is 181mph

How big is the boot in the DBX? There’s 632 litres of boot space 

How economical is the DBX? It manages 19.73mpg on the WLTP combined fuel consumption test and 269g/km of CO2 on the NEDC Combined cycle


Other interesting facts

Sound system: 800 watt

500mm wading depth 

235mm maximum ride height 

200 hours of cabin hand-stitching and finishing

64 colour, dual-zone ambient lighting

48 volt electronic anti-roll control 

  • Aston Martin

  • DBX

  • DB11

  • Vantage

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