The Aston Martin DBX is a super SUV success story
Aston Martin DBX must not only bring new customers to the venerable British brand, but also ensure its sustainability. The super-SUV could well do both.
Do you know someone who doesn’t like Aston Martin? Me niether. The brand encompasses so many touchstones of appeal – history, tradition, beauty, elegance, speed, luxury and exclusivity – that it’s no wonder it’s held in such affection. Now that Rolls-Royce and Bentley are effectively run from Germany, it may even be the quintessentially British luxury car — and, of course, it’s been the choice of a certain cinematic secret agent for over a decade. a half-century.
You might reasonably imagine that with such a wellspring of positives and goodwill, Aston Martin’s history would have been an unbroken timeline of success and achievement. Not so. Because instead of accelerating smoothly through the automotive landscape for nearly 110 years, Aston teetered perpetually from crisis to crisis, delighting investor after investor and then, just as reliably, infuriating them until that another savior might be found (which there have been in startling numbers).
Among the latter, perhaps the most notable were British industrialist David Brown – his name is still present in the nomenclature of the brand’s DB models – who worked for 25 years before throwing in the towel, and a oil in the inconceivable comic book name of Victor Gauntlet. . Even the giant Ford Motor Company gave up after 20 years, leaving a legacy of a high-tech production site in the British Midlands, and a V12 engine whose basic architecture combines a pair of humbler V6s and is still in use today.
There is a famous joke in the wine industry that goes: Question: How do you make a small fortune? Answer: Start big and buy a winery. Replace “Aston Martin” with “winery” and you have the automotive equivalent.
The latest holder of the lifeguard role, however, is Canadian entrepreneur Lawrence Stroll – a man who, along with his Hong Kong partner Silas Chau, is already famous in this part of the world for having made billions from his investments in the trade of cloth. . Although passionate about motor cars, Stroll is clearly neither blind nor dumb – and maybe, just maybe, he came at just the right time for his contribution to make a difference.
It’s not necessarily because of what the Canadian brought to the table, but because last year saw the long-awaited launch of an all-new model. Called the DBX, it’s the first SUV to sport Aston Martin’s wings on its nose and, with its combination of cachet, rarity and luxury, it just might turn out to be just what the wealthy state elites United States, the Middle East and China – whose appetite for chic wheels that are both tall and powerful remains intact – are looking for. And if it’s good enough and sells as it should, the DBX could be the key not only to profitability but also to the long-term survival of the company.
Now, as a sports car enthusiast, you might hate the idea of an Aston SUV, but when you look at it as a business proposition, it could hardly make more sense – just think of the runaway success luxury trucks like the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, the Bentayga from Bentley, the Lamborghini Urus and the Cayenne from Porsche, all of which invent it for their respective manufacturers. Even Ferrari, a longtime SUV, now finds the idea irresistible: next year it will unveil its own “FUV”, the Purosangue.
And if the presence of a super-SUV is what punters want, the DBX delivers it in spades. Although in photographs it looks compact and almost toy-like, as if an Aston sports car has been compressed lengthwise, forcing the bonnet and rooflines upwards, in the metal it is positively huge, towering over the road on its massive 22-inch rims with all the weight and port of an armored personnel carrier, albeit unusually curvaceous and sleek. It might not be the prettiest AM ever built, but as an SUV it’s not bad at all, its best aspect being up front, from which perspective it’s also most obviously a genuine Astons.
Aluminum is widely used in the construction of the car, synonymous with relative lightness – it weighs around 2.3 tonnes – and rigidity. For powertrain, Aston Martin turned to partner Mercedes-AMG, whose 4-litre turbocharged V8 example has been further tweaked at the UK factory to produce over 540bhp and a peak 700Nm of torque. from 2,200 rpm, which it does with a characteristic woofling. melody. The nine-speed gearbox is also Mercedes-sourced, as is the full suite of drive modes, infotainment system and cockpit furniture, much of which will be familiar to you if you’re used to recent Benzes. And, frankly, there’s nothing wrong with any of that (both the Bentley and the Lambo are based on the Porsche, which in turn is essentially a heavily reworked Audi).
Although not as lavishly appointed or spacious as, say, the Cullinan’s, the interior of the DBX is no less luxurious, sleek and modern in design, beautifully finished and supremely comfortable, front as well as rear. The rear seat theoretically offers room for three passengers, but on long journeys, it is better to be two. My car’s cabin is covered in crisp leather held together by double rows of precise stitching, and the whole thing is accented with brushed aluminum accents and polished carbon fiber around the console. The view from here, whether you look outside or inside, and in any direction, is marvelous.
The “Standard” drive mode in the DBX is labeled “GT”, which under normal circumstances is the one you want, extracting enough revs from the V8 for involvement but not so much that engine noise intrudes. Either way, performance in this quieter setting is surprisingly sparkling, and with the steering crisp and precise, and the dynamics exceptional for a vehicle of this size, maintaining a quick clip is an effortless affair. Aston Martin’s claim of a 0-60 mph sprint in 4.6 seconds seems fair, as does the top speed of over 290 – which, for a car that reaches 1.7 meters in height, is a bit difficult to understand.
Even when it’s not absolutes, this wonderfully responsive drivetrain delivers heaps of fun, with jaw-dropping aim-and-shoot capabilities, while selective use of the paddle shifters delivers the good gear for every occasion, from lazy, eco-friendly cruising to sustained acceleration in gear. Big cars just shouldn’t go that fast. And then there’s the car’s agility, body control and composure at speed, the main inhibition to launching the DBX on tight, twisty roads being its size.
Perhaps because the Aston’s chassis offers greater road awareness than other SUVs, its ride quality doesn’t feel as detached or dampened. On the other hand, thanks to the air springs and the adaptive damping, it can in no way be considered harsh or jarring. To me, the setup seems like a pleasantly driver-centric compromise, although like most modern luxury cars, the DBX gives you an almost endless choice of engine, transmission, suspension and steering settings, so you should be able to settle for a combination. that suits your riding style and preferences.
I won’t claim that if I was in the market for an Aston, I would prefer the DBX. For me, the name will always mean the most beautiful sports cars in the world. But what I will say after too brief an acquaintance with this most impressive automobile is that when it comes to taking the brand to new territories, clienteles and market niches, while remaining unquestionably an Aston Martin , it will probably be a no-reserve car. Success. That the DBX rolls out of the factory as fast as Aston can build them is a foregone conclusion. I would even bet that it will save the company.
ASTON MARTIN DBX
MOTOR 4-liter twin-turbo V8
TRANSMISSION Nine-speed automatic
MAXIMUM ENERGY 542 hp
MAX TORQUE 700 Nm at 2,200-5,000 rpm
MAXIMUM SPEED 291 km/h
UNLOADED WEIGHT 2245kg
THE PRICE about. 19.9 million baht