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New Aston Martin DBX review

542bhp SUV set on reviving firm 

Aston Martin has officially unveiled its most likely best selling model in the DBX SUV, a model intended to open a crucial, perhaps life-saving, new era of its global business. Powered by a 542bhp version of the 4.0-litre turbocharged AMG sourced V8. The SUV will cost £158,000 before options and goes on sale today for deliveries next spring.

Aston Martin DBX 5 

The DBX arrives lte to the Premium Suv market with Porsche, Bentley, Rolls Royce and Lamborghini already ahead of the game. But Aston Martin believes its combination of an all-new bonded aluminium platform plus the fact that the DBX’s assembly is shared at the outset with no other model gives the new Aston substantial rewards. Weight saving is one, the DBX’s 2245kg kerb weight undercuts some rivals by as much as 400kg, the DBX’s engine is the AMG-sourced 4.0-litre V8 but a high compression ratio plus upgrades to the intercoolers and turbochargers lift power to 542bhp at 6500rpm and peak torque to 516lb ft, delivered between 2200rpm and 5000rpm, with 0-60mph in 4.3sec and a top speed of 181mph.

There are new efficiency refinements and a cylinder cut-off system for part-load running. The upshot is a combined WLTP fuel economy figure of 19.7mpg and a CO2 output of 269g/km.

Aston Martin DBX 19

New powertrains are coming for the DBX, and although Aston won’t give many details, it seems likely they will include a plug-in hybrid. With an overall length of just over 5.04m, it is low and sporty in SUV relations, as you might expect of a company that brought in Matt Becker, a top chassis man from Lotus,to develop its cars’ dynamics, Aston has equipped the DBX with all of the suspension hardware a serious SUV needs to perform its wide range of tasks well. It has triple-chamber air suspension to vary spring rates, adaptive damping from Bilstein and a 48V anti-roll system that incorporates what Aston claims is an extremely quick-acting electric motor into its anti-roll bars to counteract body roll according to instructions from sensors all over the car.

There’s a smart all-wheel-drive system that features electronically controlled centre and rear differentials to distribute torque away from slipping wheels. In normal use, the car is 100% rear driven – for high-speed handling reasons – but when necessary, just under 50% of torque is directed to the front wheels.

“The lateral grip numbers we’ve seen in testing on Tarmac have been incredible,” said Becker. “We believe we’ve pushed the boundaries of what is possible for an SUV.”

The DBX’s all-independent suspension can raise the car 45mm or lower it 50mm from normal ride height and there are six adaptive driving modes (four on road, two off road). The steering is all electric and high geared, requiring 2.6 turns from lock to lock.

The car rides on 22in Pirelli-shod wheels available in two different styles and the brakes are steel discs, 410mm diameter with six-piston discs in front and 390mm diameter at the rear.

Aston Martin DBX 26

Inside, the DBX is extremely plush and almost infinitely configurable. All switches and controls have been designed specifically for this new model. Prominent features include a large pair of TFT screens, one central and one ahead of the driver, and a ‘bridged’ centre console that brings both elegance and space efficiency to the cabin.

The seats are derived from DB11 designs, to enhance sportiness, and among a plethora of imaginative options are a pet package (which carries a portable dog washer) and a snow package (which has boot warmers for keen skiers).

The first 500 DBX buyers get what Aston calls a ‘1913 Package’, whose name celebrates the marque’s 106 years of life by adding unique body and sill badges plus a commemorative plaque.

Each car will be inspected and endorsed by Andy Palmer and a special photographic build book will be signed by both Palmer and design boss Marek Reichman to underpin the fact that, after more than a century, Aston is now building a new kind of car.

“DBX will give many people their first experience of Aston Martin ownership,” said Palmer. “It needs to be true to Aston Martin’s core values.”