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Aston Martin DBX: First Drive Review | Carfection 4K

The Aston Martin DBX is coming out in 2020 and we got early access to drive the prototype.

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My time with the car was only enough for cursory glance at what the final car will be like to drive but I can with a high degree of certainty say this - The DBX is unremarkable.

That’s not say that it’s not good. Far from it. The DBX is excellent, succeeding on pretty much every front; space, comfort, luxury, performance and capability. What’s unremarkable about it is that we have seen it all before. The DBX does not re-invent the performance SUV, rather it has carefully selected a slot in the market place - in this case right in between the Bentley Bentayga and the Lamborghini Urus - and made a car that fits right in that gap.

It has comparable levels of luxury and performance as both and competes on the practicalities such as space and efficiency. It’s not as soft and plush as the Betayga nor as track focussed and unhinged as the Urus, rather sampling a little from both.

DBX will undoubtedly be an excellent addition to the ever growing collection of these kinds of rides but it’s not the fastest or the most luxurious. It might turn out to be the best handling, but until we’ve driving it the final version on our own terms it’s difficult to say.

But it certainly will be able to hold its head up amongst the usual suspects, all offering their version of the same product and if history repeats itself - which it is inclined to do - the DBX could be a runaway success. There was nothing about my brief time with he car that made me think it would do anything less.

It better be too because if it’s not Aston Martin may once again need to be rescued by an individual with some money in the bank who might then lend their initials to the next generation of Astons. LS perhaps?

The DBX has the same turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 out of the Vantage but with some new features including cylinder shut-off technology to suit those more sedate driving situations. There is still 542 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque available though, so don’t for a moment think this car is anything less than fast. Despite the nearly 5000-pound kerb weight the DBX can get to 60mph in 4.3 seconds and will take you all the way up to 181mph if you let it.

The suspension, which has double wishbones at the front and multi-link at the rear as well as active dampers combined with a 48-volt anti-roll system gives Aston Martin an astonishing breadth of possibilities when it comes to ride and handling with the DBX. Although the exact final production settings of all of these was still being dialled in, the possibilities range from ultra stiff to sea-faring vessel.

The range on offer in the driving modes I had access to - and undoubtedly what the final result will have - were pretty much in the sweet spot for both comfort at speed and yet communicative and lively when being thrown around. In the firmest Sports Plus mode the body roll is no more than you’d expect from an Aston Martin sports car. Which isn’t to say none, there is still a modicum of roll which is actually both welcome and beneficial to help feel the weight of the car moving around under load.

In the standard driving mode the DBX handles open roads as well as gravel tracks perfectly well soaking up bumps while keeping composed under in corners. I certainly had no concern pushing the car to the limits of my driving ability on and off-road.

Unlike in most other modern Astons the driving modes are fixed. Rather than dealing in the engine and transmission with one button and the suspension with another, prescribed modes are now selectable alongside an individual mode which allows for some, but not complete customisation.

The DBX is aimed at a far wider, perhaps less tech savvy audience and these simplified driving modes are evidence of that. In addition the DBX is the first Aston to have been developed with help from a female advisory group that made key recommendations to ensure that the car appealed to woman as well as men. Although it was made explicitly clear to me that this not the “ladies’ Aston”, merely that the DBX is considering the widest possible customer base.

The acceleration on offer belies the weight of the DBX and the large steel brakes are more than up to the task of scrubbing all that speed off again. The all-weather tyres this prototype had fitted had no problem with tackling loose gravel and even with the traction control fully on there was more than enough opportunity to play around with the limits of grip.

My time with the car was only enough for cursory glance at what the final car will be like to drive but I can with a high degree of certainty say this - The DBX is unremarkable.

Credits Carfection
added on 15 Jan. 2020

Make: Aston Martin


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