Bonded Goods

Aston Martin’s first SUV, the dynamic DBX, puts the sport in sport utility

Aston Martin DBX driving front

There’ll come a time when Bond, James Bond, will hand back the Walther PPK, the MI6-issued Omega Seamaster, and the license to kill. He’ll get hitched, settle down, and no doubt have a couple of rug rats with Miss Moneypenny. The current 007, Daniel Craig, is 53, for goodness’ sake. Arthritis and AARP are just around the corner.

Of course, with matrimonial bliss will come spatial needs. It’s no good rushing around in a classic ’60s two-seater—even one with machine guns and ejector seats—when there are baby seats to fit and IKEA flat packs to lug home.

Aston Martin DBX side profile

Taking it as a given that Bond will always drive an Aston Martin, the company has thankfully seen his dilemma and come up with the perfect new Bondmobile: the 2021 DBX (an SUV, no less). But this is not your typical sport-ute. Here is arguably the sportiest, most agile, most dynamic load-hauling 4×4 out there—one sure to leave even 007 both shaken and stirred. It’s also arguably the most gorgeous SUV money, or even Moneypenny, can buy. With that trademark front grille, practically a carbon copy of the one on Bond’s much-loved 1964 DB5, it’s unmistakably an Aston. 

I love the swept-back windshield and swoopy roofline. I love that curvy, bulging hood which, I reckon, used Daniel Craig’s six-pack abs, showcased in Casino Royale, for
design inspiration. Plus, it’s comforting to know that much of the DBX’s key technology comes courtesy of Mercedes-Benz. (Heck, even Aston’s new CEO, Tobias Moers, was formerly boss of Mercedes-AMG.)

Aston Martin DBX dashboard and steering wheel

 

Pop that curvy hood to see the fruits of the Aston-Mercedes partnership: Powering this new DBX is a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 that does duty in a bevy of Benzes, along with the Aston DB11 and Vantage. It’s been massaged by Aston to better suit SUV duty, cranking out an impressive 542-horsepower and muscley 516 pound-feet of torque. Mated to a Mercedes-sourced nine-speed automatic and rear-wheel-biased all-wheel drive, the DBX can scoot from standstill to 60 in just 4.3 seconds. But instead of borrowing a 4×4 platform from Mercedes, the company developed an all-new one for the DBX—an I-beam-stiff concoction of glued and riveted aluminum.

And it drives like a dream. Naturally, it’s quick—dial up sport mode and it will
barrel away from a stoplight like a rock out of a catapult—but it’s not the hard-edged, blunt instrument it could have been. The snap, crackle, and pop exhaust is there, but it’s subdued, less vocal. In place of hard-riding sports suspension, the DBX features three-chamber air springs for a smoother, silkier ride. They can even do double-duty, raising the body to wade through waist-deep water.

Aston Martin DBX dashboard and gear shift area

Still, what will stagger you is the sheer agility when you start powering the DBX through curves. With an electronic antiroll system quelling just about any body roll, and the kind of precise, well weighted steering that feels hard-wired to your brain, it’s an SUV that thinks it’s a nimble sportscar. 

Inside, the Aston’s cabin is a joyous place to experience all this action. Most surfaces are slathered in buttery-soft Bridge of Weir leather with gorgeous double stitching. In here, there’s proper space for five adults plus their luggage, with rear-seat legroom being especially stretch-out comfy. And the full-length panoramic sunroof floods the
cabin with light.  

Aston Martin DBX rear

Pricewise, you’ll pay $176,900 for a base DBX—around the same as a V-8-powered Bentley Bentayga—though our extras-laden test car stickered at a lofty $205,086. Its only other real rival is the similarly priced 670-horsepower Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid Coupe.

As for 007, a DBX would definitely help ease him smoothly, and speedily, into
parenthood. Perhaps Q could even design him a couple of custom kiddie seats. Minus the ejectors, of course.

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