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No pressure, but on these high-rise shoulders rests the very future of one of the most historic British brands.
And that should be read with only a hint of hyperbole. This much-lauded DBX is already playing catch-up, because even Lamborghini has beaten Gaydon/St Athan to market (and is reaping the rewards on the bottom line) and only Ferrari is yet to come. A third of Maserati’s range is SUVs, too.
We have Porsche to thank for sports car marques entering the SUV market after the runaway success of its questionable-looking Cayenne of 2002, a car that it now classifies as a classic.
Yet here we are, two decades on, and the Cayenne is little closer to this magazine’s pages than it was when new. Come 2040, though, will the DBX be in line? Probably,yes.
If you can ignore the Ford Kuga jibes, reception for the model has been universally positive. After all, it looks like an Aston Martin, it sounds like a (modern, Mercedes-Benz-powered) Aston and it has the same aura.
It still has the exclusivity. And the price-tag.
Step up and on to the flat floor and you won’t be greeted with the same luxury as in a Bentley; step on the throttle and you won’t have the ferocity of the Urus from Sant’Agata.
Here you have a mix of both worlds, which in many ways should be the point of this type of tank: it needs to be big enough to cope with a family, comfortably,and carry them quickly.
You will have to deal with an ageing infotainment system, without a touchscreen, and you’ll have to stretch to press start and select ‘D’ on the top of the dash.
But your effort is rewarded by a warm bark, an angry tickover (at least in Sport mode) and an engaging drive.
In ‘GT’ – a much more Aston-sounding mode than ‘Comfort’ – it’s more socially acceptable but barely any less promising.
On kickdown, with a surprisingly unrefined jolt from the Merc-based nine-speed gearbox, the bark returns and the twin-turbo 4-litre V8 sends the nose skywards.
It can be sluggish on the downchange, but only punishing you for unsubtle use of the throttle. It glides effortlessly and quietly, lifted by the standard full-length panoramic roof.
Flick back into Sport and you can feel the car squat down, tighten up and hug the inside of sweepers even better than it already did.
Scroll the other way through the highly customisable modes and you can raise the suspension – probably not to scale mountains, but certainly to bound across grassy fields.
We all have something invested in this car, if we want Aston to continue making sports cars, to return to racing properly and to survive its latest wobble – and so far it’s working, with a 224% rise in sales in 2020.
This should be the luxury SUV of choice, because it ticks so many of the boxes.
Images: John Bradshaw
- Engine 3982cc twin-turbo V8; 542bhp @ 6500rpm; 516lb ft @ 2200-5000rpm
- Transmission nine-speed automatic, 4WD
- 0-62mph 4.3 secs
- Top speed 191mph
- Mpg 19.8
- Price £158,000