Teased since 2015 more as a GT than a crossover, Aston Martin’s first SUV is finally stepping into the spotlight. The 2021 DBX will have five seats, plenty of V-8 power, a top speed of 181 mph, and a base price of $189,900.
Since customers will expect this ultra-posh family hauler to handle like a sports car despite its weight of 5940 pounds, Aston’s engineers threw in a triple-volume adaptive air suspension, along with a 48-volt anti-roll system capable of delivering 1033 lb-ft of anti-roll force per axle, on demand. That hardware should translate to surprising cornering capabilities, while versatility is guaranteed by the air chambers, which can raise the DBX by 1.77 in., as well as lower it by 1.97 inches. Aston Martin chief engineer Matt Becker had this to add about their first SUV’s handling performance:
“In testing, the lateral grip numbers that we have seen on tarmac have been genuinely incredible. Our track and road performance has seen us push the boundaries of what is possible for an SUV and in many instances, we have seen performance credentials more likely seen in one of our sports car models. Yet, in terms of off-road performance, with the suspension we’ve designed and with the wheel travel we’ve achieved, we have also ended up with a car that has exceeded our aims in that arena.”
Like the rest of Aston’s lineup, the 2021 DBX is mostly made of bonded aluminum and is scheduled to be built in a new factory in Wales on Aston’s dedicated SUV platform. Its engine, Aston Martin’s AMG-sourced 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 is tuned to deliver 542 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, all sent through a nine-speed torque-converter automatic transmission and an all-wheel drive system featuring an active central and an electronic limited-slip differential at the rear. The result is a 0–62 mph (100 km/h) run in 4.5 seconds, and a top speed of 181 mph. That hard on the loud pedal, you should also hear all eight cylinders at work, thanks to Aston’s active exhaust going wide open.
While Aston Martin’s V-8 sports car, the Vantage, allows for 2.4 turns lock-to-lock, the DBX comes with a speed-dependent 14.4:1 steering ratio resulting in 2.6 turns lock-to-lock. The SUV’s steering wheel is also a new design, featuring Aston’s next-gen switchgear and massive paddles for the nine-speed gearbox.
Behind the driver is what Aston Martin calls “class-leading rear headroom” at 40 inches, along with 41.7 inches of rear legroom and 22.3 cubic feet of cargo space. While it can hide 50-ounce beverage bottles with ease, the cabin was also designed to satisfy Aston’s growing number of female customers in other respects. Aston Martin says all buttons and dials were positioned so that the environment “develops a feeling of instant familiarity… for high-net-worth individuals of mixed demographics.”
The DBX should keep dog owners happy too, since it can be optioned with a “Pet Pack.” This includes a partition in the trunk, as well as a bumper protector that will keep your paint in shape despite those scrabbling paws. There’s also a portable washer with 30 minutes of battery time, which Aston calls “an ideal solution for keeping the countryside on the outside of the car.”
If you’re a high-net-worth-individual who managed to keep the countryside out of the car, you can enjoy Aston Martin’s latest seats, which can be trimmed in either full-grain leather sourced from Scottish hide company Bridge of Weir, or a new fabric made from 80 percent wool. Also available is Alcantara for both the headlining and the electric roof blind, while other materials in the cabin include glass, metal and wood. Q by Aston Martin, the company’s bespoke options source, can also machine a center console from a solid piece of wood, such as walnut.
Gadget fans will appreciate the DBX’s 10.25-inch central screen, along with its 12.3-inch TFT in front of the driver. Apple CarPlay comes as standard, as does a 360-degree camera system and ambient lighting that offers 64 different colors in two zones.
The DBX also comes with standard blind spot warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning with lane keep assist.
Given the segment, designers came up with a whole range of other accessory packs, including one called Essentials, which bundles the center console organizer, a rear seat entertainment holder, and a heated cup with a warming pad in the front cupholder. There’s also the Interior Protection Pack, which adds seat covers, a rear bumper protector and all-weather mats throughout the car. Unlike Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin won’t provide you with a fancy umbrella, but if you tick the Event Pack option, your DBX will feature storage space for one, along with a modular picnic hamper, picnic blanket, and seating.
Finally, the figure that can make or break an SUV: 5490 pounds. Despite the sporty image projected by its 22-inch wheels, the DBX can tow all that. More importantly, it will have no problem towing a trailer with an Aston Martin DB6 on it, either, as evidenced by Aston’s fluid dynamics tests completed on the subject.
Now, it’s up to you to decide whether this is all worth $189,900, or with options, probably a fair bit more.