In the automotive world, trends seem to roll out like so many vehicles off the assembly line.
Sport utility vehicles, once a trend, now are the family hauler of choice. Such success, inevitably, has led us to all manner of SUVs, including posh performance models from brands like Bentley, Maserati and Lamborghini.
Now into this niche of “super SUVs” comes another storied marque: Aston Martin.
The brand preferred by Mr. Bond introduced its sleek DBX as a 2021 model, proclaiming it would combine versatility and indulgence with the performance of cars made famous by 007.
And like those Astons, the DBX certainly draws attention.
While parking the DBX on a lunch outing, we were asked: “Is that an Aston Martin you’re driving?” Our fellow diner said he was from an area of Florida where ultra-luxury SUVs are as common as tourists, but our Satin Lunar White DBX was a first for him.
The SUV is also a first for the brand, which it hopes will entice a new segment of buyers to Aston Martin ownership.
To that end, the British manufacturer took a clean-sheet approach to the DBX. The result is evident in the design, where a long wheelbase and low roof line create a sleek profile that allowed our DBX to stand out even in a parking-lot row of white SUVs. The look is all Aston Martin, from the homage to the brand’s heritage in the form of a side strake above the front wheels to a long nose whose curvaceous hood ends in the familiar iconic grille.
Still, the sleek look of the midsize DBX can be deceiving, as the cabin is surprisingly roomy in both the front and rear seats. Those seats are swathed in fine leather — long an Aston strength — that can be complemented by your choice of luxury trim, from metal to wood to carbon fiber.
But if the DBX invokes the luxury of an Aston Martin, does it also perform like one? Its twin-turbo V-8, an updated version of the one from Mercedes-AMG that the DBX shares with its DB11 and Vantage siblings, does not disappoint. The 542-horsepower V-8 is mated to a nine-speed transmission and provides fierce acceleration with an exhaust note to match — especially when driven in Sport+ mode. And here’s a sentence that sounds jarring to the ear: This Aston’s six driving modes include Terrain and Terrain+ should your wanderings take you to the country club or the backcountry. This off-pavement ability is facilitated by the standard all-wheel drive and adaptive air suspension that allow the driver to adjust ride height. Oh, and the DBX has a towing capacity of nearly 6,000 pounds.
Still, all that power would be squandered if the DBX didn’t have composed road manners. It’s surprisingly nimble in the corners: We were forced to make an abrupt lane change at highway speeds — did someone lose a mattress on I-75? — and the SUV’s grip never wavered.
When not revealing its driving dynamics, the DBX can also nimbly adapt to your lifestyle. Among the available accessory options: a package for pet owners that includes a portable washer to keep furry friends and the SUV’s interior clean. Then there’s an Events package that mounts rear-facing seats in the cargo area and comes with food and dining storage — including a chilled compartment — for the discerning spectator. Cheers! The price starts below $200,000 but of course it can quickly increase with a host of interior and exterior options.
Yet the DBX brings a new choice to the luxury market — the practicality of an SUV and the cachet of an Aston Martin. One might say it’s a trend-setter.