Aston Martin DBX 707 Is a Guilty Pleasure

  • Standard DBX already outsells all of Aston Martin’s more traditional sports cars, and the 707 variant aims to be the worlds fastest SUV, priced at $239,086.
  • The AMG twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 boosts output to 697 hp.
  • The DBX’s cabin—especially the user interface—is feeling surprisingly old for a car that has been on sale for less than two years.

    Aston Martin’s well-documented problems over the last few years nearly caused it to collapse, and led to many of the English company’s ambitious plans being put on hold or canceled. Among these was what was the proposed release of the Lagonda brand and the development of a bespoke EV architecture—Aston now opting to use Mercedes technology for all of its future electric models.

    It also means the plug-in hybrid version of the DBX won’t arrive until the car gets a heavy facelift. But while we have to wait for that greener future, Aston has doubled down on the qualities it is best known for with the new DBX 707: big power, huge performance, and muscular design.

    The existing DBX wasn’t short of any of those traits, yet Aston has decided to amplify them all for the new 707. The regular DBX is already outselling all of Aston’s more traditional sports cars—a clear indication of wider trends at the top of the market. The fact it wasn’t the fastest or most muscular offering in its ludicrously fast segment, however, clearly rankled the automaker, especially after AMG boss Tobias Moers became Aston CEO in 2020.

    Work on what would become the DBX 707 had already begun before Moers arrived, but he pushed the project forward around a clear target: to make it the quickest production SUV in the world. The plan is to prove that by setting a lap record at the 12.9-mile Nürburgring Nordschliefe in Germany, breaking the 7:39 pace set by the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT. Before that, we got to drive the new car in the far more relaxed environment of the beautiful Italian island of Sicily.

    This was a far more relevant test than a racetrack will be. At least as many performance cars have been compromised by the desire to post Nürburgring times as have been improved by it, and Aston is keen to prove the 707’s everyday credentials haven’t been harmed.

    No question, the DBX 707 is ludicrously fast. Its name refers to its power output in metric horsepower (707 PS in the European measure), which translates to a slightly less impressive 697 hp for the American market. For a measure of how the sands have shifted at the top of the car market, consider that Aston’s claimed 7.4-sec 0-100 mph time is just one tenth shy of the figure once set by the Jaguar XJ220, the fastest supercar in the world 30 years ago

    The increase in power comes from a revised version of the 4.0-liter AMG twin-turbo V8 from the regular DBX, this getting new ball-bearing turbochargers and a revised induction and exhaust system. It also now sends drive through AMG’s wet-clutch nine-speed transmission, allowing faster launches and quicker changes than a conventional torque-converter gearbox.

    Chassis revisions might seem less significant (new suspension top mounts at the front, stiffened kinematics and revised settings for the array of active systems) but Aston insiders say that more consideration has been given to them, ensuring the 707 doesn’t feel harsh or compromised next to the regular car. Although positioned above the existing DBX in pricing, the 707 isn’t meant to be a limited halo model; Moers says he hopes most buyers worldwide will opt for the 707, something which raises an obvious question over the standard car’s medium-term survival.

    Performance feels unsurprisingly muscular. Pushed hard, the 707 becomes monstrous, the engine developing a hard-edged exhaust note and with accelerative forces hard enough to border on being uncomfortable. It’s certainly hard to imagine owners wanting to use launch control on a regular basis, perhaps to regularly match the claimed 3.1-sec 0-60 mph time.

    More impressive is the sort of part-throttle muscularity that Aston’s larger engines have always been so good at summoning. The AMG V8 has a slight hesitancy at lower revs as boost pressures build, but soon the 707 gathers pace without apparent effort. I spent much of the week before I drove the DBX 707 in a Lamborghini Urus, which by comparison sounds loud and seems to lack urgency.

    At Moers’ insistence, chassis settings are still pliant, especially in the gentlest GT dynamic mode. The DBX’s dynamic hardware includes air springs, adaptive dampers, and a 48-Volt antiroll system using torque from an electric motor to counteract lean under cornering loads. Although all of these have been reprogrammed from the settings of the regular DBX, no additional harshness seems to have been introduced, with the quick reactions of the active sway bars allowing for soft spring rates to absorb bumps—and the DBX’s SUV-generous wheel articulation also allowing it to fill dips.

    The resulting ride quality isn’t quite a magic carpet, but the 707 feels remarkably pliant for something so large and heavy. Selecting the more aggressive dynamic mode brings firmer chassis settings, but even Sport Plus doesn’t feel too harsh for road use over some of Sardinia’s more rugged mountain passes.

    Despite the marketing hype, it’s no sports car. Aston says the DBX 707 weighs 4950 pounds, and that heft feels immediately obvious when changing direction in tight turns. The vast Pirelli P-Zero tires can generate massive grip and the steering is direct and accurate, but the 707 needs to be persuaded into corner before its huge power can be pushing without the front wide. Once the exit of a turn is spied, the punchier dynamic modes do make it feel very rear-driven, though. And the standard carbon-ceramic brakes are happy to take enormous thermal loadings without protest.

    The DBX’s cabin is feeling surprisingly old for a car that has been on sale for less than two years. Aston’s decision to use shapes and designs similar to those of its sports cars helped link the SUV to the more traditional models—much of what drivers see and touch is shared with the Vantage and DBS.

    The bulbous form language of the center console, however, doesn’t really suit an SUV, this being a part of the market where dashboards are usually taller and more upright. There is also the continuing frustration that the 10.2-inch display screen is still running a version of Mercedes’ old Star UI, so it doesn’t support touch control—a detail that feels very old-fashioned in a world where that is close to standard. Aston insiders say the company is rushing to develop a new user interface.

    While customer demand has led to the creation of the DBX 707, Aston knows it will only have a limited amount of sunshine for making hay in this part of the market. Tougher emissions standards in many parts of the world are going to make it hard to bring cars like this (and the forthcoming Vantage V12) to market in Europe and parts of Asia.

    Aston acknowledges its next-generation models will need to become both cleaner and greener, with the V12 approaching retirement and a wave of hybrid and then full EV models approaching. Yet the DBX 707 is a reminder that excess continues to suit Aston Martin better than almost any other brand. This is a car with too much of everything, yet which still feels like a compellingly guilty pleasure.

    Specifications

    Aston Martin DBX 707

    Engine: 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8

    Transmission: Nine-speed auto, all-wheel drive

    Power: 697 hp @ 6000 rpm

    Torque: 663 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm

    0-60mph: 3.1 sec

    Top speed: 193 mph

    Weight: 4950 lbs

    Price: $239,086

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