The DBX makes a strong statement while standing still and on the move.
It's no secret that I've been lusting after a test drive of the Aston Martin DBX since 2019, and with good reason. You know the saying "better late than never"? Yup. That opportunity has finally arrived in 2023.
The world of uber luxury Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) is an interesting and varied one. For those who crave the last word in luxury and opulence, there's the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. For those who want to mix lots of luxury with performance, there's the Bentley Bentayga. The Lamborghini Urus is all about shouty "LOOK-A AT-A ME!!!" Italian flamboyance and eye-watering grunt.
Then there's the Aston Martin DBX, for the dapper, debonair gentle-person racer of few words who prefers to let their distinguished, dignified presence speak for itself.
Taking the outline of a grand touring sports coupe and translating that to the bodywork of an SUV is a tricky exercise, but one that Aston Martin has executed beautifully. There's no mistaking the DBX's front end for anything other than an Aston, complete with signature Darth Vader-esque grille.
This is one wiiiiide SUV, and its musculature is hewn smoothly into its flowing body lines rather than appearing tacked on. Adding to that musculature is the test vehicle's mahoosive optional 22-inch Sport Gloss Black Diamond Turned multi-spoke rims wearing A8A-marked 285/40ZR22 and 325/35ZR22 Pirelli P ZERO tyres front and rear respectively.
Smooth, flowing lines carry on down the sides where flush door handles ensure that nothing is visually interrupted. The roofline tapers toward the rear similar to how it would in a DB9 or DB11, but executed perfectly for SUV-practicality.
Which then brings us to that bulbous rear end with the signature sleek taillight bar running the entire width of the DBX. Add to that the twin tailpipes in the lower valence, underlined by the lower trim that kicks upward in the middle to round out that gorgeous rump, and there's no doubting that this is an Aston Martin.
Other drivers on the roads and highways literally pull up behind or alongside to gawk. So do pedestrians. That's how fist-bitingly alluring and magnetic the DBX is.
No surprise, then, that the paint of the review vehicle is called Magnetic Silver. There's no flying under the radar here folks - you WILL be noticed. Dress for the occasion.
The electric bootlid swings skywards to reveal 638-litres of cargo capacity and the first hint of opulent material choices used inside the DBX. Carpet that feels more like felt lines the trunk space, and Sahara Tan leather with contrasting Obsidian Black stitching wraps the boot lid trim and parcel shelf, as if to say, "the good stuff is yet to come sir/ma'am".
bottom, left & right: buttons to raise and lower the air suspension for easier loading, and for the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seatbacks
From there on, apart from the black Alcantara headlining, pretty much EVERYTHING is wrapped in Sahara Tan leather. With contrasting Obsidian Black stitching of course.
And you know what? It looks brilliant and feels satisfyingly exquisite to the touch. There's more than enough room in the back for two full-size adults to ride comfortably, with the middle seat reserved for emergency situations.
Lifting the airiness within is the fixed panoramic sunroof, which actually plays well against the black Alcantara headliner to let sufficient natural light into the cabin without things getting too toasty, with the three-zone climate control keeping things nice and cool at the back.
lots of leg and head room, panoramic sunroof lets in natural light
In front, 12-way comfort seats hold the driver and front passenger in snugly, and are easy to electrically set to one's preferred seating position.
The steering column is also electrically adjustable for reach and rake and falls nicely to hand. A 12.3-inch digital instrument screen sits behind the steering wheel, is clear and easy to read, and can be configured somewhat to one's preference.
Gear-select and engine start/stop buttons sit above the infotainment screen. While this is a hark back to the tradition of DB9 and DB11 interiors, the size of the DBX means that accessing these buttons can be a bit of a stretch, even for the longer-limb'd like yours truly.
The 10.25-inch infotainment screen is of the non-touchscreen variety and needs to be controlled by the rotary knob in the centre console. Most would groan at this older system, which also has some input lag, but you know what? I prefer it to the touchscreens of today.
Fingerprint smudges can be kept off the infotainment screen, which is hugely welcome, and operating the infotainment is satisfyingly and reassuringly physical and tactile.
clockwise from top left: gear selector buttons, non-touchscreen infotainment screen, physical climate controls, infotainment rotary knob, buttons for other functions
Oh, and while we're at it, as marvellous as the Sahara Tan leather (with contrast Obsidian Black stitching) is for the interior, lighter colours like it just don't work on the dashboard uppers especially on sunny days where one needs to look through a tan hue while looking out the windscreen.
Stick to black for the uppers. Trust me, it just works better.
So, what's the DBX like to drive? Well, the first thing one needs to know is its 2.6-turns lock-to-lock steering. It can come across as twitchy at first, and needs some getting used to, but keeps with the sporty heritage of Aston Martin and lets the driver point the nose of the DBX quickly and effectively as intended.
The next is its wideness. One needs to be more careful in tighter turns, carparks and driveways to avoid pranging those expensive rims and fenders, and judicious use of the 360-degree camera system is highly encouraged to this end, as it is during parking.
Otherwise, it is LOVELY to drive. The standard air suspension is tuned noticeably on the firm side while cruising, in another nod to Aston Martin's sportiness, but things never become uncomfortable. Larger humps, bumps and ruts are smoothed out with aplomb and the DBX effortlessly glides forward courtesy of its four-litre twin-turbo V8 engine that's mated to a nine-speed automatic gearbox.
There's a distinct and distant exhaust warble coming from the rear as one gently moves off from a standstill, with the gearbox slurring smoothly through its cogs. Smash the loud pedal to the floorboard though, and you need to be prepared for what comes next.
With an angry wail from its V8, 550hp and 700Nm of torque are unleashed via all four wheels to hurl this massive uber-SUV down the road. If its looks didn't already turn enough heads, it's bark and bite definitely will. Use those large paddle shifters to bang up and down through the gears and you'll be wearing a large grin on your face by the end of it.
I was even able to get the electronically-controlled rear differential to activate at a piddling 40km/h while turning quickly and smartly into a 120-degree bend, and the rear end came around beautifully and predictably to help point the nose in the intended direction of travel. The DBX handles very well in both slower and faster corners and regularly surprises other vehicles in the process.
Going faster also involves stopping faster. Considering the DBX's over 2.2-ton kerb weight, all of that inertia needs to be scrubbed off in a hurry to either bring this massive SUV to a stop or slow down and set up for the next corner. Six-piston monoblock aluminium fixed callipers clamp down on enormous 410mm-diameter grooved and ventilated brake discs up front, while single-piston sliding callipers grip slightly smaller 390mm-diameter discs in the rear. They're wholly up to the task, as I discovered especially during one emergency braking situation involving a suicidal stray dog, two dump trucks and a dirt-stained road.
As expected, that V8 is thirsty. Not that it would matter at the DBX's price-point, since owners will likely be invested in the energy sector as part of their portfolio, and I imagine that returns on investments will pay for its thirst.
Anyway, I managed to average 13.1-litres/100km or 7.6km/litre over a test-driven 514.2km against Aston Martin's claimed 12.4-litres/100km or 8.1km/litre. An interesting thought exercise for sure. As usual, your mileage may vary.
clockwise from top left: general commute #1, Tour de Singapour, general commute #2, mostly highway, pure street
It's dapper. It's debonair. It's a looker. It's a head-turner. Yet, it never shouts its cred. It merely needs to turn up and be present for everyone to know that it is something special. That's the Aston Martin DBX in a nutshell. It is every bit what I've been expecting since 2019.
Most orders will likely be for the newer, more powerful and improved DBX 707, but if someone particularly wants the DBX V8, it can still be purchased. Enquire for more details at the showroom.
Photo Credits: Sean Loo (@auto.driven)
Aston Martin DBX V8
Engine: 3,982cc twin-turbocharged V8
Transmission: 9-speed automatic
Driveline: Electronically-controlled all-wheel drive
Power: 550hp @ 6,500rpm
Torque: 700Nm @ 2,000-5,000rpm
0-100km/h: 4.5 seconds (claimed)
Top Speed: 291km/h (claimed)
Fuel Economy:12.4-litres/100km or 8.1km/litre (claimed)
Kerb Weight: 2,245kg
Cost: Price On Application
Contact: Aston Martin Singapore