Not one to settle for second, Aston Martin is launching what it’s billing as the world’s most powerful luxury SUV, the new DBX707 giving buyers an optional twin-turbo V-8 making, as its name suggests, a whopping 707 horsepower.
As with earlier versions of the DBX, Aston aimed to blend a balance of luxury features with extreme performance and handling, explained CEO Tobias Moers during a background briefing on the new model. The automaker hopes to prove that point by capturing a record on the Nürburgring now held by Porsche.
“Right from its first introduction the DBX has represented Aston Martin’s dynamic and design values in a way that proves not all SUVs have to conform to the same compromises,” said Moers.
“With the DBX707 we have pushed the boundaries in every area to create a car which sets new standards of performance and desirability. The fastest, most powerful, best handling and most engaging car of its kind, it propels Aston Martin to the pinnacle of SUV performance.”
A brand in transition
The debut of the DBX comes at a time when Aston Martin is in transition. The automaker ousted longtime CEO Andy Palmer in 2020, shortly after receiving a major financial bailout. Moers, the former head of Mercedes’ AMG performance division, has been charting a course that balances in-house R&D with a reliance on Aston’s German partner.
He’s also moving Aston into a new era as it prepares to add its first plug-in hybrid and then new, all-electric models.
Moers also has put on hold the revival of the Lagonda sub-brand he confirmed during a Zoom meeting. Under Palmer, Lagonda was to have served as the all-electric alternative to Aston.
Taking DBX to the next level
Focusing on the DBX to start with makes a lot of sense considering it’s become the marque’s best-selling product line since its debut two years ago. And Moers is confident the new package could account for 60% of the SUV’s sales volume after its release.
The DBX707 starts off with the SUV’s existing 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8, adding new ball bearing turbos and a revised engine calibration to “liberate more power and torque.” To be more precise, it delivers 707 horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque — 157 hp and 147 lb-ft more than the existing DBX. That’s enough to launch from 0 to 60 in 3.1 seconds using the DBX707’s revised launch control mode.
To handle all that torque, Aston pairs the V-8 to a new 9-speed wet-clutch automatic transmission which, it claims, can handle the added loads better than a conventional automatic with a torque converter.
“The huge gains we have found in both power and torque demonstrates not only the inherent prowess of the 4.0-liter biturbo V-8, but Aston Martin’s appetite and ability for finding uncompromising engineering solutions,” Aston Martin’s Head of Powertrain, Ralph Illenberger, said in a statement announcing the new DBX offering.
A “suite of performance enhancements”
To complement the added power, Aston has made an array of upgrades to the existing DBX. That starts with a hardened electronic limited-slip differential with a shorter final drive ratio. It helps boost performance in lower gears while maintaining fuel-efficiency and comfort on the highway.
To scrub off speed — especially when pushing things on the Nürburgring’s Nordschliefe, the DBX707 gets standard carbon ceramic brakes. They measure 16.5 inches up front and 15.4 inches in the rear, and feature 6-piston calipers. Other revisions to the braking system help reduce weight and keep the ceramic discs cooler under hard braking conditions.
Pretty much everything about the DBX has been revised, according to Moers, starting with a stiffened body. The air suspension has been upgraded, as well. The triple-chamber system has new valving and revised tuning. And the driver mode selector now adds a “Race Start” feature. Wrapping up the package, the DBX707 comes with standard 22-inch wheels and tires, with an optional 23-inch alloy wheel on the short checklist.
Befitting such a radical enhancement, the DBX gets a number of design and feature updates.
That starts with a new front-end treatment including a larger front grille with new air intakes and front splitter, along with new daytime running lights. The emphasis is on helping the V-8 breathe while cooling both the engine and brakes.
New dark satin chrome window surrounds and a revised hood are complemented by more heavily sculpted body panels. The back end adds a new lift spoiler and larger twin diffusers.
Inside, the DBX707 adds new “Sport Plus” seats with 16-way power controls. The cabin adds new dark chrome finishes to its switchgear, and standard piano black finishes with a choice of carbon fiber or bronze metal mesh veneers.
The addition of the 707 horsepower drivetrain is just the first step in the changes coming to the DBX — and to Aston itself.
Expect to see a plug-in hybrid drivetrain option arrive “during the second half” of the SUV’s lifecycle, said Moers. Asked whether a full electric model is in the works, the CEO said, “You would need a different platform,” one with a skateboard-like design permitting a battery pack and motors to be positioned below the load floor.
Aston does have plans to introduce fully electric models, and the first will arrive mid-decade, Moers said, noting “We are going to launch our first in 2025.”
(Aston offered a short-lived, low-volume EV version of its four-door model, of its Rapide E in 2019. But the project, a partnership with China’s LeEco, was doomed from the start.)
That doesn’t mean the British automaker is walking away from its gas-powered drivetrains — at least not yet. The CEO stressed that Aston will continue to produce V-12 models, at least until tougher regulations force it to abandon that technology.
“Does the V-12 exist after 2026? I don’t know,” Moers cautioned.
Turning to Mercedes
Even before Moers came onboard, Aston became increasingly reliant on its partnership with Mercedes-Benz and its AMG wing. That included both powertrains and electronic technology such as the old Mercedes COMAND infotainment system.
Going forward, said Moers, Aston will not use the voice assistant-style MBUX infotainment technology. It’s critical, he stressed, to create a unique look and feel for the British brand, so it is developing a system of its own.
But the ties to Mercedes will, if anything, become even closer. For one thing, the German automaker is widely expected to increase its stake in Aston to 20% before the end of this year. And Moers said Mercedes is likely to provide key components for future Aston battery-electric models. That could include the new high-performance motors developed by Yasa, a British supplier Mercedes purchased last year.
The most powerful — with an asterisk
Aston was careful to note in its press release that the DBX707 is the world’s most powerful “luxury SUV.”
The mainstream Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk matches it at 707 hp, while the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat comes in at 710. And the all-electric GMC Hummer SUV coming in 2024 has promised to take the pony count up to 830. Not to be outdone, Tesla is expected to release a “Plaid” edition of the Model X SUV that could top the 1,000 hp mark.
For now, though, Aston can brag about holding a substantial advantage over the Lamborghini Urus and Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid, which are rated at 650 and 679 hp, respectively.
The Aston Martin DBX707 will make its U.S. debut this coming spring with a starting price of $232,000 before delivery fees.