The Aston Martin DBX707 is the performance version of the SUV that might well have saved Aston Martin, period. It starts at $236,000, gets 16.5 mpg as rated by the European Union, and has a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that makes 697 horsepower. Cars like this, it’s fair to say, are becoming a vanishingly rare breed in a world of hybrids and electrics.
(Full Disclosure: Aston Martin flew me to Sardinia, Italy, for a couple days, gave me lots of food and booze, and also put me up in a swanky hotel, all so that I could give the DBX707 a spin. It wasn’t the worst trip of my life.)
The DBX707 is, indeed, something deeply old school: A car built almost exclusively to take the lap record at the Nürburgring, the famed 12.9-mile German circuit where the current record in the category of SUVs, off-road vehicles, vans, and pickups, is held by the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT, set last June with a time of 7:38.925, besting the Audi RS Q8 and the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S 4MATIC+.
It is an Aston Martin DBX but with the V8 tuned for even more, an almost uncomfortable amount, with a zero to 60 mph time of 3.1 seconds, according to Aston. Power goes to all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission. The car’s V8 is actually an AMG engine, but Aston insists that it has done a lot of in-house work on it itself, with an eye toward making the “world’s most powerful luxury SUV.” It will compete with the likes of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid, which makes a measly 670 horsepower; the Bentley Bentayga Speed, which makes a measly 626 horsepower; the Lamborghini Urus, which makes a measly 641 horsepower; and the Ferrari Purosangue, whenever that car sees the light of day.
The car’s output is 697 horsepower, or 707 metric horsepower, hence the 707 in the name, which is not, thankfully, some kind of reference to James Bond. The wheels are 22 inches, standard. Every seat is heated as standard. The launch control system in GT Sport and GT Sport+ is called Race Start, and it is as easy to use as coming to a complete stop, pressing on the brake and flooring the gas pedal. The car revs itself to the ideal RPM level to prevent too much wheel spin. You then release the brake and hold on.
Likewise, torque distribution — which tires the car sends power to and when — is an automatic process as the car seeks to maintain maximum grip, even, when it calls for it, sending all of that power to the rear wheels. The car is plug and play, more or less, a welcome approach that doesn’t require you to think like the jet pilot. Aston also says that the wet clutch transmission is noticeably faster at shifting compared to the torque converter that is in the regular DBX. On the road, the gear-shifting barely registers.
There are various buttons on the console to control manual gear selection mode, active exhaust, suspension mode, and drive mode. The doors close satisfying and soft, which Aston said was done to denote luxury. Aston says it will sell a DBX707 to pretty much anyone who wants to buy one, unlike, ahem, some other automakers. It will also customize their DBX707 for them too, in the form of various tweaks in the interior and exterior. The DBX707 starts at $236,000 in the U.S., but the one Aston gave me for a drive in Italy was $334,080.
The power, it must be said, is simply tremendous, with the launch control pushing you and your passenger back in your seat. Zero-to-60 is really only half the story, though, as above 60 mph is where all this power on a vehicle that weighs nearly 5,000 pounds is where the car really shines. Above 60 mph, the car seems to only get stronger, to the degree that on our drive, which was on public roads in Sardinia, I didn’t get to test all of it. I’m not sure I even wanted to, nor am I sure that many DBX707 owners will take their DBX707 to the track, anyway. The point of the DBX707's power isn’t really to be used; it’s in large part merely to exist.
Other things: I was happily surprised to find that the interior is pretty unfussy for a car at this tier of luxury. This is a car, for example, that likes its interior more old school. Take, for example, the size of the screen, which is restrained, and the buttons straight forward. Not too many of them, and nothing too non-obvious. You might even call this a little dated, which would only be an insult if you think dated is bad.
Oh, also, the car looks good, a midsize SUV that doesn’t overwhelm you with its size in person. It is, in a word, approachable, but with all the little bits to differentiate it from the regular DBX. Aston says it has a different rear bumper, new air intakes and brake cooling ducts, a bigger grille, and a new front splitter profile. There is a new lip spoiler in the back, along with other changes to make what Aston calls a “muscular physique,” which is accurate. In person, it is a slightly angry fist.
It’s hard to say that much is weak in a $334,080 car, beyond the price itself, which makes it untouchable for all but one-percenters. One thing those buyers won’t care about but I am happy to lay into is the fuel mileage: a measly 16.5 mpg according to European testing, which is pretty pathetic for a car in this day and age, even a luxury one intended to go fast. That is so low almost to be taunting, though indicative of where Aston’s priorities lie, which is to shove all their chips in for performance on their gas-powered SUV, perhaps for the first and last time. Fair enough.
If you want to criticize something else about this car, it might be the very existence of luxury SUVs that go from zero to 60 in 3.1 seconds. If it further goes and captures the record at the ‘Ring, the DBX707 will be an achievement for Aston, but a strange one, in a category that includes vans and pickups. Congrats?
The DBX707 is a car that knows exactly what it is and what it is trying to do, which is some measure of comfort in an in-between era of cars that, lower on down the market, can get caught between priorities. The DBX707, on the other hand, is an expensive, unapologetically quick machine that promises easy, get-in-and-drive excitement. Aston thinks that about half of new DBXs will be DBX707s, because if you’re spending $200,000 on a car why not spend $300,000, I guess. Aston couldn’t agree more.