Aston Martin DBX review

Category: Sports SUV

Sports SUV is luxurious, spacious and more fun to drive than price rivals

Aston Martin DBX front cornering
  • Aston Martin DBX front cornering
  • Aston Martin DBX rear cornering
  • Aston Martin DBX interior dashboard
  • Aston Martin DBX interior back seats
  • Aston Martin DBX interior infotainment
  • Aston Martin DBX right driving
  • Aston Martin DBX front cornering
  • Aston Martin DBX rear cornering
  • Aston Martin DBX front left driving
  • Aston Martin DBX left static boot open
  • Aston Martin DBX rear static boot open
  • Aston Martin DBX bonnet badge
  • Aston Martin DBX headlights detail
  • Aston Martin DBX side detail
  • Aston Martin DBX rear badge
  • Aston Martin DBX interior front seats
  • Aston Martin DBX interior steering wheel
  • Aston Martin DBX interior detail
  • Aston Martin DBX interior detail
  • Aston Martin DBX interior detail
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  • Aston Martin DBX kickplate detail
  • Aston Martin DBX boot open
  • Aston Martin DBX front cornering
  • Aston Martin DBX rear cornering
  • Aston Martin DBX interior dashboard
  • Aston Martin DBX interior back seats
  • Aston Martin DBX interior infotainment
  • Aston Martin DBX right driving
  • Aston Martin DBX front cornering
  • Aston Martin DBX rear cornering
  • Aston Martin DBX front left driving
  • Aston Martin DBX left static boot open
  • Aston Martin DBX rear static boot open
  • Aston Martin DBX bonnet badge
  • Aston Martin DBX headlights detail
  • Aston Martin DBX side detail
  • Aston Martin DBX rear badge
  • Aston Martin DBX interior front seats
  • Aston Martin DBX interior steering wheel
  • Aston Martin DBX interior detail
  • Aston Martin DBX interior detail
  • Aston Martin DBX interior detail
  • Aston Martin DBX interior detail
  • Aston Martin DBX kickplate detail
  • Aston Martin DBX boot open
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Introduction

What Car? says...

With a high-end model like the Aston Martin DBX, image is everything, and few car makers can claim to have an image as strong as Aston Martin’s.

Not only is it consistently voted one of the coolest brands in the world, but it also has James Bond on its client list. Enough said. The DBX, though, is different to the two-door sports cars that make up the rest of the Aston Martin line-up – it’s a sports SUV.

The ‘standard’ DBX is powered by the 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 sourced from Mercedes-AMG, but it's not quite the same as the one in the Aston Martin DB11 and Aston Martin Vantage.

It’s effectively the engine used in the Mercedes-AMG E63 S super saloon (or estate), and comes with the same ‘active’ four-wheel drive and torque-vectoring rear differential.

There’s also an even higher performance version – the 697bhp DBX707, which competes with the likes of the Ferrari Purosangue and Urus Performante – and a plug-in hybrid DBX is expected later down the line.

So, can an SUV really ‘feel’ and behave like a true Aston Martin? That's what we'll be exploring over the next few pages of this DBX review. We'll tell you what the performance and handling are like, whether the interior lives up to expectations, how much it will cost to run and how it compares with the main rivals.

If your interest is piqued but you can't quite stretch to the Aston Martin DBX, you can find out how much you could save on many other cars and SUVs by using our free What Car? New Car Deals pages. It can help you track down the best new sports SUV deals.

Overview

The DBX's price puts it in competition with the Bentley Bentayga and perhaps even the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, but it's a far sportier SUV. The V8 sound and playful handling make it more enjoyable to drive than many sports SUVs and it can mix it with the best of them – especially in DBX707 guise. It's big inside but you have to put up with a firm ride around town, a poor infotainment system and dubious fit and finish.

  • The engine has character
  • The handling is entertaining
  • It's quick – especially the DBX707
  • The ride is lumpy on rough roads
  • Interior quality is disappointing
  • The infotainment system is old
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine you’ll find under the Aston Martin DBX’s vast bonnet produces 542bhp and 516 lb ft of shove, which is enough to propel 2.2 tonnes of DBX from a standstill to 62mph in just 4.5sec. It’ll carry on to 181mph if you can find a long enough stretch of (private) road.

In the real world, those numbers translate to a level of performance that you could fairly describe as 'plenty quick enough'. But considering the price, you might be disappointed to learn that even a humble VW Golf R accelerates more quickly (in our tests, the hot hatchback managed to sprint from 0-60mph in just 4.3sec).

The nine-speed automatic gearbox is smooth enough around town, but when you want to make rapid progress, it doesn’t respond to manual paddle shifts anywhere near as immediately as the PDK automatic gearbox in the Porsche Cayenne.

Aston Martin DBX image
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That's where the DBX707 version comes in. With better cooling and larger turbochargers, power jumps up to a mighty 697bhp (or 707PS) and torque to 663 lb ft, which drags the 0-62mph time down to a startling, supercar-like 3.3sec.

It has a faster-shifting nine-speed gearbox and a launch control system, for an extraordinary, but controlled, take-off speed. It’ll out-sprint any Bentley Bentayga or Cayenne, and only the vastly more expensive Ferrari Purosangue or the Lamborghini Urus Performante can match its official 0-62mph time.

A sports SUV is about more than just stats – it’s about having fun too. Happily, the DBX’s V8 is one of the most characterful, giggle-inducing engines on the market. For one thing, it makes a hell of a noise. If you don’t want to upset the neighbours, perhaps think about the quieter Bentayga instead, because even small accelerator inputs have the DBX gurgling, snarling and crackling from its twin exhaust pipes. 

And what about the handling? Well, even the regular DBX benefits from naturally-weighted, linear steering that offers you the confidence to place the car exactly where you want to on the road.

The 707's sportier set-up is even better. Not only is it more immediate when you turn into a corner, but it also provides you with a greater sense of connection with the front tyres. We'd stop short of calling the handling sports car like, but it does a reasonable impression of one.

The DBX707's body control is superb (it handles undulating roads with aplomb), but it's no more comfortable than the standard car. It's less settled than the Audi SQ8, the Bentayga V8 S and the Cayenne Turbo, especially on tatty town roads, where potholes and sunken drain covers have the suspension clunking noisily. 

At 70mph on a motorway, the ride, while still on the firm side, is acceptable, although you do hear quite a lot of road and wind noise, despite Aston Martin fitting acoustic glass side windows. For long road trips, the Bentayga V8 S is a better bet. 

So what's the DBX like as an off-road vehicle? Well, along with varied on-road driving modes, there are two off-road modes. They raise the air suspension and transform the car into a surprisingly capable mud-plugger. It has enough ground clearance for rough country trails and can wade through half-a-metre deep water.

The four-wheel-drive system and all-season tyres (winter tyres and performance tyres are also available) provide easily enough traction on steep muddy climbs, and the hill-descent control gets you back down again in a controlled fashion.

Aston Martin DBX rear cornering

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Despite its sporting nature, the Aston Martin DBX treats you to a lofty driving position that feels on a par with the Bentley Bentayga. You feel a bit more enclosed than you do in the Bentayga and the Audi SQ7 due to its heavily raked windscreen, comparatively thick pillars and narrow side windows, but you can still see the corners of the bonnet when manoeuvring.

Reversing is trickier due to the aggressively tapered rear window-line and chunky rear pillars. Still, with all-round parking sensors and a 360-degree parking camera fitted as standard, it’s not a massive headache.

The driver’s seat is awesome. It’s like a big leather baseball glove that swaddles you, locks you in place through high-speed bends and cossets you on long journeys. It’s electrically adjustable in 16 directions, which includes adjustable lumbar support and side bolster, plus there’s a memory function.

If you go for the more powerful DBX707, you get upgraded sports seats which are supportive but not overly tight. Other than those and a swathe of carbon fibre on the centre console, that version is not much different inside.

The steering column is electrically adjustable, and has plenty of reach extension. Thankfully, the pedals line up with the seat and steering wheel, which sounds like an obvious thing but isn’t the case in the Aston Martin Vantage.

When it comes to infotainment, the DBX uses a Mercedes sourced system from the previous decade. The software feels sluggish at times, the screen is far from HD and it lacks modern kit, including Android Auto smartphone mirroring. It does at least have Apple CarPlay connectivity, but in a market where buyers are hungry for the latest, most advanced systems, it's very disappointing.

That said, the screen is a reasonable size at 10.3in and we like the rotary controller you use to operate it, because it’s less distracting while you’re driving than most touchscreens (you can have a touchpad controller if you tick the option box).

The 14-speaker 800W stereo sounds okay, although it’s beaten by the system you can get with the Bentayga. The DBX is miles behind the Bentayga for interior quality too. Yes, it has acres of leather and a lovely Alcantara roof lining, but it’s not up to Bentley material standards and it’s even further behind for solidity.

The piano-black centre console trim (on non-707 cars) looks like cheap moulded plastic, the leather is supple but has ugly creases, and bits rattle. None of the switches have the precision click of the Bentayga’s, or those in the much cheaper SQ7. On the plus side, Aston Martin gives you lots of personalisation options.

Aston Martin DBX interior dashboard

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

The Aston Martin DBX is five metres long and nearly two metres wide, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it offers plenty of interior space.

Even with the standard-fit panoramic sunroof, front head room is really impressive and the front seats slide a long way back on their runners. There's plenty of elbow room, and there are numerous storage spaces dotted around the interior – including a usefully large tray underneath the centre console. 

In the rear, things are just as impressive. The rear doors open wide and the sills are low, so it’s easy to climb in without getting your trousers dirty. Two six-footers will have leg room to spare, even when the front seats are slid back, and there's more than enough foot space under the front seats.

Head room is truly generous and much better than it is in the Lamborghini Urus. The DBX's head room – according to Aston Martin – is class-leading, but we’ve yet to confirm that.

The boot doesn't let the side down. It’s a good square shape with a wide aperture that makes it easy to pack a variety of luggage. In terms of ultimate capacity, at 638 litres it’s much bigger than the one in the Bentley Bentayga (484 litres) but is pipped by the Porsche Cayenne (772 litres).

Adding to its practicality are the 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats. When you fold them down using the buttons by the rear headrests, they leave you with an almost flat extended load bay right up to the front seats.

There’s a range of options that mean you can tailor your car to your lifestyle. For example, you can add the Pet Package – which includes a portable washer for cleaning muddy dogs – or the Snow Package, with boot warmers to make winter holidays in the Alps more palatable.

Aston Martin DBX interior back seats

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

For the same price as the Aston Martin DBX, you could have a Range Rover Sport Dynamic SE on your drive, and still have change left over to buy a well-specced Range Rover Evoque.

That's a little hard to swallow for those of us with more modest means, but in the elevated company of the Bentley Bentayga, the Lamborghini Urus and the Rolls-Royce Cullinan the ‘standard’ DBX is, dare we say it, not ridiculously priced. The DBX707 is significantly more expensive, but still doesn’t cost as much as the Urus Performante or the extraordinarily expensive Ferrari Purosangue

Mercifully, the DBX is far from sparsely equipped. As standard, it comes with 22in alloy wheels, heated front and rear seats, rear climate control, keyless entry, a powered tailgate, 64-colour ambient lighting and power-folding door mirrors. That's on top of the electric seats, panoramic sunroof, and leather and Alcantara interior trim. Finally, if you're exceptionally well-heeled, Aston Martin lets you create your own bespoke, money-no-object specification.

In terms of running costs, the official fuel economy figure suggests a meagre 23mpg is possible, which in real-world driving easily drops into the low teens. Unsurprisingly, with a 4.0-litre V8 engine under the bonnet, the CO2 emissions are on the high side, placing it in the top 37% bracket for company car tax. As you might expect, the more powerful DBX707 version lowers the fuel economy (to just 19mpg) and increases the CO2 emissions.

The closest rivals have similar thirsts, and all have reasonably strong residual values as well. The DBX is predicted to experience depreciation at a similar rate to the Bentayga and Urus, but all lose their value far quicker than the Porsche Cayenne and the Cullinan. 

Euro NCAP hasn’t safety-tested the DBX, but it gets plenty of kit to help prevent you from getting into an accident in the first place. That includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking (AEB), a forward collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, rear cross-traffic warning, traffic-sign recognition and blind-spot warning. There are also two Isofix child-seat attachments on the rear outer seats.

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Aston Martin DBX interior infotainment

FAQs

  • The standard DBX costs around £160,000 at the time of writing, while the DBX707 costs a lot more. You can see the latest prices on our New Car Deals pages.

  • If you like the look of the standard DBX, you might also want to consider the Bentley Bentayga, the Lamborghini Urus, the Porsche Cayenne or the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. If you want something like the performance-focused DBX707 you’ll want the Ferrari Purosangue or the Urus Performante.

  • The official miles per gallon figures are low: the standard DBX promises 23mpg, but we expect that will be in the teens when driving in the real world. The DBX707 will officially achieve just 19mpg. You can check economy figures using our True MPG calculator.

  • It depends which version you go for. The standard DBX’s top speed is 181mph, while the DBX707 increases that to 193mph. That's pretty astonishing for a sports SUV.

At a glance
New car deals
Target Price from £197,160
Swipe to see used car deals
Nearly new deals
From £154,895
RRP price range £197,160 - £197,160
Number of trims (see all)1
Number of engines (see all)1
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol
MPG range across all versions 19.9 - 19.9
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / No mileage cap
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £14,393 / £14,393
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £28,786 / £28,786
Available colours