New Aston Martin DBX707 2022 review
How does the hot Aston Martin DBX707 SUV cope with British roads?
Heading back quite so comprehensively to the drawing board has paid off big for Aston Martin in the case of the DBX707; far from being a one-trick pony with just more power than the regular car, it’s created an astonishingly fast SUV with a broad range of talent. It’s approachable so can easily be used every day, spacious enough to be a family hauler, fast enough to be a supercar baiter and sharp enough to give driving purists something to enjoy deeply, too. It’s a revelation, and we hope to see some trickle down of its talents into any further evolutions of the normal DBX.
Like it or not, most of the world’s renowned performance and luxury car makers are now building SUVs, and some are pushing their largest creations to the farthest-reaching edges of what’s possible with body styles not ideally suited to supercar performance. Aston Martin is the latest in this regard, with the thumpingly powerful DBX707.
It’s the halo version of the brand’s money making DBX, and though it’s not quite the most powerful production SUV in the world - the Americans have it covered with wild Jeep and Dodge SUVs sold in the USA - it is, technically, the fastest. A top speed of 193mph puts this 2.2-tonne family hauler into real supercar territory, not to mention the 3.3-second 0-62mph time it can deliver.
This is our first chance to sample the DBX707 on UK roads, and they pose an interesting challenge for this car. With 697bhp (707PS, hence the name) and 900Nm of torque from the Mercedes sourced 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 under the bonnet, the first point of contention must be whether or not the DBX707 is too much for the road? And has Aston’s chassis team come up with a suitable raft of revisions to match the work of the powertrain department?
Before you begin to peel back the surface and discover the extent of the changes, it’s fairly obvious that the 707 is a wild child from the outside. A fairly large-scale visual transformation has taken place compared with the regular DBX. The front end is far more menacing, with a wider front grille, new daytime running lights, large brake cooling ducts and an imposing front splitter.
It looks more purposeful thanks to wider tracks and deeper, more heavily sculpted side sills, while it’s impossible to miss the new double-deck rear diffuser and quad-exhaust set-up at the back. A fixed roof spoiler joins the car’s ducktail lip, too. New 23 inch wheels on our car (22-inch alloys are standard) shroud an uprated braking system with huge carbon-ceramic discs, shaving 40kg off the weight of the regular DBX’s braking set-up.
It certainly looks the part, and every bit of its £190,000 super-SUV price tag, before you get inside - though the interior changes aren’t quite as far reaching. New, figure-hugging bucket seats feature, and a revised centre console, which is home to a rotary drive-mode selector created by Aston to make accessing the DBX707’s various modes much easier. Feedback from early DBX buyers has been incorporated into the 707 as well, with soft-close doors now included.
The infotainment is based on the same previous-generation Mercedes-sourced tech with an Aston Martin skin. Overall, the interior changes are less perceptible than those on the exterior, and the ageing Mercedes equipment feels really out of place in a car at this price point. But it doesn’t take long to blast away the cobwebs in what is, dynamically, a seriously impressive car.
Fire the DBX707 into life and it’s far from anti-social. A quiet start with the exhaust valves closed is the default, but you can opt for more noise on ignition by holding one of the gear-shifter paddles from behind the wheel. Regardless, it’s a civilised car to get to grips with initially, and Aston’s engineers have dialled a quite impressive level of ability into the wildest version of its SUV.
Left in GT mode it’s just that - a comfortable and quiet grand tourer that you could easily dispatch long journeys in with minimal fuss. It’s almost serene at a cruise, the new nine-speed wet clutch gearbox behaving well with little jerkiness, shuffling ratios quietly and efficiently. It’s refined on the motorway, visibility is good and the cabin is spacious. In fact, as the basic body is the same as the DBX, rear seat and boot space is just as good. And thanks to some trick suspension work and a bespoke set-up for the standard three-chamber air suspension, it’s a comfortable car, too.
There’s only a mild degree of firmness around town that’s easily excused, given the brief the DBX707 has to fulfil. Rest assured, this is a car with mega performance potential that you could easily drive every day, provided you don’t mind the fuel bills that come with it - official economy of 19.9mpg is optimistic, or impossible from the moment you begin to explore the throttle.
Of course, it’s the elephant in the room that would otherwise be quite easy to forget about, given the surprisingly well-behaved on-road manners. But even in GT mode, once the new turbochargers have spooled up to full boost and the gearbox has dropped a couple of ratios, the 707’s performance is evident.
The full extent of what this car can do is revealed as you twist the almost Ferrari-like Manettino placed on the centre console, up through Sport - which upps the volume and the responses without sacrificing too much comfort - to Sport+, which unlocks all of the 707’s performance. And it’s borderline shocking, considering the weight, height and size of the car.
Changes to the steering intended to improve responsiveness and inspire confidence, and the widening of the car’s track by 60mm combine with the other suspension and aerodynamic changes to create a large and powerful SUV that genuinely feels playful. It’s far more than a hot-rod.
Even on UK roads it has the sort of precise reactions to inputs that means you can enjoy the way it drives on a good B-road, actively working with you to extract more instead of unnerving you into backing off.
The front end is as sharp as a good sports car, and with a new rear differential and fully-variable torque distribution from the front of the car to the rear, it feels superbly agile. The carbon-ceramic brakes are dependable, too.
The new gearbox is a revelation too, and encourages you to take manual control with the shift paddles, enjoying the rapid-fire action of the revised nine-speed transmission, complete with volleys of exhaust crackles on downshifts.
|Model:||Aston Martin DBX707|
|Engine:||4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol|
|Transmission:||Nine-speed automatic, four-wheel drive|