Ed Coles experiences a faster than usual feed run in the luxury marque’s new model, which is a five-star foray into the SUV market
Renowned for producing high-end sports cars for secret agents and wealthy connoisseurs, Aston Martin is the latest to add an SUV to its range with the all-new DBX. Gimmick or serious off-roader? I assumed the role of 003.5 to find out.
Excited would be an understatement and, as the DBX was unloaded from the trailer, I couldn’t shake the ridiculous smile from my face. The grin only grew as it was fired up. The DBX is a thing of beauty. The not-very-practical white stone bodywork is set off nicely by the black satin 22in wheels and contrasting trims. It definitely looks like an Aston Martin — and boy does it have style.
Squeezed into the engine bay is a Mercedes-AMG four-litre V8 twin turbo, producing 542bhp and 700Nm of torque. With zirconium alloy cylinder heads and a magnesium alloy nine-speed automatic gearbox, the German power plant is at the cutting edge of mechanical technology.
Crouching down with a trusty feed bag, you can’t see too much underneath at the front. However, there’s proper witchcraft going on with the all-wheel drive system. Torque vectoring applies power independently to ensure the appropriate drive for any situation.
The adaptive triple-chamber air suspension lowers and rises depending on the driver mode. Its lowest setting is 190mm of clearance, which is adequate for some off-road action. The highest setting jacks up the Aston to 235mm, which is proper pickup territory.
At the back, we can see a fair bit of the independent suspension and the electronic active anti-roll control system. The other thing that stands out is the width of the rear Pirelli P Zero tyres, with a lot of surface area and, hopefully, plenty of grip.
There’s an impressive amount of boot space for at least nine full bags of wheat — plenty of room for kit or four-legged friends. Aston offers a pet pack, which includes a washing system to keep muddy paws at bay. There’s also a fieldsports pack available, including a gun cabinet and shooting stick. Auto-opening and closing makes it easy for loading and unloading. (Read how to look after your dog after a shoot day.)
The DBX is loaded with all the usual gadgets, driver aids and entertainment. The interior is handcrafted to an exceptional level. It’s opulent with understated elegance, so the muddy spaniel won’t be riding shotgun. The leather seats are comfortable and stylish, and that theme continues with a hand-stitched leather dash.
The driving settings are user-friendly and there’s a few to choose from. Each one adjusts the suspension and engine settings accordingly. There’s two sports modes, but I refrained from using Sport 2 as I needed all the traction control measures available. There are also different off-road modes, while Terrain 1 and 2 raise the suspension to its highest point. GT mode turns off the variable valve timing for quieter, smoother driving. There’s paddle shifters if you fancy taking manual control of the gearbox.
The DBX cruises with ease and a quick blip of the throttle launches us into penalty points territory. That’s without putting it in Sport mode. On roads with heavy lorry ruts, it feels light on the steering, but that’s probably due to the width of the tyres.
On twisty country roads, it is as if you’re running on rails. The handling is precise and feels like a proper sports car rather than an SUV. The performance shows how well the chassis and suspension are engineered. The sound from the engine makes the hairs on your neck stand up. The ride is smooth and it glides over bumps as if they’re not there.
Selecting off-road mode, it’s time to see how it performs off-piste. With the suspension raised, the handling is positive and precise over the bumps. The power delivery is smooth and you can feel the all-wheel drive system adjust to keep it in line.
Stubble and grass are effortless. For a proper stress test, I drove off to the wet wood. Nimble through the wood and adjusting to the change of wet and dry surfaces, the Aston proved as capable as most pickups, but it was a rather stressful experience. It was definitely the quickest feed run I’ve done in a long time.
The DBX is an absolute weapon of mass enjoyment. It’s versatile and capable, whether you are popping to the shops, going on a long journey, to a track day or on a morning feed run. You may want to pour a stiff drink and sit down for this next bit. Being an Aston Martin, it comes at a premium. The DBX starts off at £160,000. Add in all the goodies fitted to this one and it comes out at £181,020. It is quite stressful driving a £180,000 vehicle through a muddy wood, but the feeling you get on the open road is worth every penny.
I can’t fault it, so it’s a full five out of five, despite the price. The final question is, how do I hide £180,000 in the wheat bill?
Need to know
- Manufacturer Aston Martin
- Model DBX
- Top speed 181mph
- 0-60mph 4.3 seconds
- Power 542bhp, 700Nm of torque
- Emissions CO2 323g/km
- Towing weight 2,700kg
- Fuel economy combined 19.8mpg
- Ground clearance 190mm to 235mm
- Wading depth 500mm
I can’t fault it