The Aston Martin DBX Lets You Play Bond On- and Off-Road

To say a lot is riding on the Aston Martin DBX is arguably an understatement. The British automaker needs its SUV (technically a crossover) to succeed, or the company risks financial ruin. And the COVID-19-related setbacks certainly haven’t helped. Now that the full reviews are in, though, it’s clear the Aston Martin DBX delivers.

2021 Aston Martin DBX: specs and features

The side view of a red 2021 Aston Martin DBX as it descends a rocky trail
2021 Aston Martin DBX side | Aston Martin

The 2021 Aston Martin DBX starts at just under $193,000. That’s quite a lot of money to spend on any vehicle, SUV, or otherwise. But then, the DBX does have quite a lot to offer.

The Aston Martin DBX is powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8, which is found in several other Aston Martins and Mercedes-AMGs, Motor Trend reports. In the DBX, it develops 542 hp and 516 lb-ft, sent to an all-wheel-drive system, and a 9-speed automatic. That’s good for a 0-60 time of 4.3 seconds, Road & Track reports. Plus, it lets the DBX tow up to 5940 pounds, Car and Driver reports—it’s the first tow-rated Aston Martin.

Besides the AWD system, Aston Martin’s SUV comes standard with a limited-slip rear differential, an active center differential, active anti-roll bars, and adjustable air suspension. Those air springs are tied into the multiple driving modes, along with the steering, transmission, sway bars, exhaust, and throttle.

Normally, the Aston Martin DBX has 7.5” of ground clearance. But in its off-road mode, that increases to 9.3”. The off-road mode also gives the DBX a 19.7” wading depth. In contrast, the sportiest mode drops it down to 6.3”, while stiffening the suspension and sway bars.

The light-brown-leather-and-wood-trim interior of the 2021 Aston Martin DBX
2021 Aston Martin DBX interior | Aston Martin

Given its price tag, the Aston Martin DBX is also suitably luxurious inside. The interior can be specced in leather, wool, or a flax composite, with wood, carbon-fiber, or bronze-mesh trim. Heated and cooled seats are standard, as is Apple CarPlay, a 360° camera system, navigation, and a 12.3” center screen.

2021 Aston Martin DBX with Dog Pack
2021 Aston Martin DBX with Dog Pack | Aston Martin

The DBX also offers numerous equipment packages. Beyond the towing equipment, you can equip it with a portable bike washer, a ski boot warming bag, and a dog-friendly rear partition.

How does Aston Martin’s SUV behave on- and off-road?

Regardless of how you spec the interior, it takes over 200 hours to make. You can quite literally feel the commitment. R&T reports that “[e]ach touch point [sic] is a treat to hold.” Plus, the Aston Martin DBX’s cabin is extremely roomy. That’s expected, given that it’s longer than a Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic.

Steel-gray 2019 Land Rover Range Rover Velar SV Autobiography in front of mountain range
2019 Land Rover Range Rover Velar SV Autobiography | Land Rover

And yet, the Aston Martin SUV is 850 pounds lighter. Which means, despite being down on power, its 0-60 time is 0.6 seconds faster than the Range Rover’s. No, the DBX isn’t a sports car like the DBS, Car and Driver reports. But it drives like a smaller and lighter car, R&T reports.

Thanks to the active anti-roll bars and air suspension, the DBX’s handling isn’t too far off of Aston Martin’s other cars. There’s no body roll on back roads, MT reports, but the ride is never punishing, even in the sportiest mode. The steering is light, but it’s fairly communicative, MT reports. And when you’re just cruising, the cabin is impressively quiet.

Speaking of the Range Rover, the Aston Martin DBX can also venture farther off-road than many owners will likely experience. It doesn’t technically have disconnecting sway bars like a Wrangler Rubicon. But its anti-roll bars can ‘decouple,’ MT reports, to improve articulation. And it comes standard with hill-descent control, Car and Driver reports. Though if you do want to wander into the mud, you’ll want to order it with all-season tires.

What still needs work?

Overall, the Aston Martin DBX is an impressive effort for the automaker’s first SUV/crossover. But it’s not quite perfect. Firstly, despite being a brand-new, almost $200k vehicle, some of its tech is a bit dated. For example, that central 12.3” screen isn’t a touchscreen—it’s operated via a rotary dial. And R&T reports it takes a bit too long to respond to button presses.

Also, the DBX lacks quite a few ADAS features, Car and Driver reports, including lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. Plus, it doesn’t appear to offer Android Auto at all.

A red 2020 Mercedes-AMG G63 parked by the side of a scenic canyon road.
2020 Mercedes-AMG G63 | Mercedes

For roughly the same money, well-heeled off-road enthusiasts can pick up a Mercedes-AMG G63. Or, save some money, and get a non-AMG G-Wagon, which has better ground clearance than the DBX, as well as 4WD with transfer case, 3 locking differentials, and a body-on-frame design. But, while the G-Class is likely better off-road, the Aston Martin handles better on the pavement.

2019 Maserati Levante Trofeo
2019 Maserati Levante Trofeo | Maserati

The Art And Science Behind Aston Martin’s Timeless Looks

There’s also the Maserati Levante Trofeo. It’s about $30,000 cheaper than the DBX, but its 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 makes 48 more horsepower. It’s also 0.5 seconds faster to 60 and has more standard ADAS features. Plus, Android Auto is standard.

That being said, at this price point, features and raw numbers don’t necessarily matter. Style and luxury are just as, if not more important. It’s still too early to tell if the DBX will truly make or break Aston Martin. But it’s definitely something James Bond wouldn’t be ashamed of driving.

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