2021 Aston Martin DBX
- Starts at $189,900
- Summer 2020
What to expect
- All-wheel-drive SUV with seating for five
- Turbocharged V8 boasts 542 horsepower
- Adaptive air suspension promises luxe ride or lofty ground clearance
- All-new model and the first SUV in Aston Martin's history
What is it?
The DBX is the first-ever SUV from Aston Martin. Worry not about it being some sort of bland mall-crawler. The DBX delivers the type of performance most people expect from this storied sports car brand. An updated version of the turbocharged V8 that's in the Vantage and DB11 supercars powers the DBX. The engine produces 542 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque and can blast the DBX from 0 to 60 mph in a claimed 4.3 seconds — not too shabby for a five-seat SUV. A nine-speed automatic transmission is standard.
How much "U" is in SUV?
All-terrain fun is not out of the question. The DBX has all-wheel drive, an active center differential and a limited-slip rear differential. These help send torque to the appropriate wheel in low-traction situations, whether front to back or left rear to right rear. Of the vehicle's six drive modes, two of them are for off-road scenarios. And the DBX has an adaptive air suspension that can raise the ride height up to 9.25 inches of ground clearance if necessary. For what it's worth, the DBX has a maximum towing capacity of 5,940 pounds.
What's the interior like?
All the right materials are present inside the DBX, with wood, metal, leather and available faux-suede trim throughout the cabin. A 12.3-inch driver information display, sourced from partner Daimler AG, presents a high-definition digital instrument cluster. The dashboard is highlighted by a 10.25-inch screen controlled by a dial in the center console. Standard features include Apple CarPlay, a 360-degree surround view, and ambient lighting available in 64 colors.
Aston Martin says it tapped its experience in packaging tight sports cars to create vast space in the DBX cabin. The company claims class-leading legroom in both the front and rear seats. There's also more knee room and foot space in the back row, the carmaker says, compared to with typical SUVs. Aston Martin designed the driver's seat and steering wheel to offer a wide range of adjustability. The company also promises a clear view over the hood for tight maneuvering.
Why does it matter?
Ultra-luxe SUVs appear to be the vehicle du jour for high-net-worth customers of late, and Aston Martin was potentially missing out on big sales numbers without one in the lineup. The brand definitely has the cachet to pull off the high-wire act of satisfying performance customers looking for both style and utility. If all goes well, the DBX can do wonders for Aston's bottom line the way the Cayenne did for Porsche.
What does it compete with?
The DBX is aimed squarely at the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus and Porsche Cayenne Turbo. These models are defined by their exceptional build quality, powerful engines and, in some cases, surprising utility. The trouble these super SUVs sometimes run into is packing the performance expected of their badges into a bulky, upright package. We're curious to see whether the DBX will circumvent those pitfalls or fall prey to them.
Though the styling needs to grow on us, the Aston Martin DBX appears to hit all the necessary marks for what has become a growing segment. Whether that adds up to an engaging driving experience is another thing altogether, but it's likely not to matter to those looking for a comfortable ride from gala to gala.