Despite the leaden sky, it’s difficult not to be dazzled by the exotic view as my driving partner and I race along the Sardinian coastline. While most folks might come here at a warmer time of year for a week of rest and relaxation, we’ve made the long trek with one specific purpose in mind: testing out the new Aston Martin DBX 707.
With the brand’s long-running ties to the cinematic super-sleuth James Bond, that might seem like a typo. It isn’t. While this is the sort of vehicle you should expect to see 007 drive at some point, the name refers to the striking SUV’s 707 brake horsepower. Aston declares it “the world’s most powerful luxury sport-utility vehicle,” though that claim requires the addition of an asterisk.
What stands without debate is just how astounding this machine is to drive. The “base” DBX, launched last year, is no slouch. But the 707 takes things up in dramatic fashion, as TheDetroitBureau.com Executive Editor Larry Printz and I discover as we navigate narrow, torturously twisted mountain roads at seemingly impossible speeds.
Not all that many years ago, the idea of an Aston Martin SUV would have seemed absurd. No longer. Even Ferrari and Lamborghini have gotten into the game as luxury and supercar buyers shift away from conventional sedans, coupes and sports cars. The likelihood that the DBX would become the British marque’s best-selling model was rarely in doubt. The question was whether it could maintain what CEO Tobias Moers calls “Aston Martin’s dynamic and design values.”
For those lucky enough to drive the initial version of the DBX, the answer was a resounding, “yes.” The DBX707 takes things to another level entirely. While fans of classic Aston products will undoubtedly howl in protest, the latest version of the SUV may be not only one of the fastest and most powerful Astons ever, but among the best handling and most engaging models it has rolled out over the past century.
Pumping up the pony count is, of course, the primary draw. But this is meant to be far more than an exotic muscle car. As we discover through mile after mile of mountain driving, the DBX707 hugs the pavement in ways few would expect of an SUV, whatever its parentage. Add to that some striking design details and yet more luxury features than were found in the original DBX.
The basics of the 2023 Aston Martin DBX707 don’t stray far from the original SUV. It comes at 198.4 inches in length, 78.7 inches in width, and stands 66.1 inches tall, with a wheelbase of 120.5 pounds. It’s a big bruiser, the 707 tipping the scales at 5,148 pounds.
That makes this the biggest vehicle Aston has ever developed, though the automaker’s design team has done a great job at making the DBX look menacing yet graceful. Far too many performance SUVs look awkward and bloated.
As with the initial DBX model, the 707 gets 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 corner spats also play a role in enhancing the big ute’s aerodynamics, not only minimizing turbulence around the front wheels but by reducing lift by 5 percent.
New dark satin chrome window surrounds and a revised hood are complemented by more heavily sculpted body panels. The back end adds a new anti-lift spoiler and larger twin diffusers.
The package is completed with 22-inch wheels riding Pirelli P Zero tires customized for Aston. A big surprise — for someone living in Detroit — is that winter tires are available, as well. So are optional 23-inch wheels and tires.
Even traditionalists might forgive Aston for getting into the SUV game when they realize the cabin is absolutely spacious, the DBX line offering plenty of head and legroom in both rows. The front seats are marvelously sculpted and keep you in place during aggressive driving, even as they remain comfortable during long trips. There’s plenty of room for cargo as well, with 22.3 cubic feet with the rear seat up, 54 cf when they fold down.
As for those seats, Aston has added multi-hued “Sport Plus” seats with 16-way power controls. When you’re taking hard corners, you’ll also appreciate the added bolstering on the DBX707.
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.
There’s a decidedly high-tech feel to the instrument panel, starting with the reconfigurable glass gauge cluster peering out at you through a thick-rimmed, two-tone steering wheel. A large infotainment display anchors the center stack and I really appreciated having a separate cluster below it to operate various climate control settings.
Aston now offers 38 different colors for the SUV. But, as you might expect from the British marque, the stock DBX707 colors and finishes can be extensively customized, inside and out.
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. No, there’s no manual option, but those who just have to control gearing will find the 707’s large paddle-shifters are a joy to use.
It’s one thing to make a lot of power. It’s another to ensure it all reaches the pavement. Even before torque gets to the tires, a rear electronic differential directs power where it is most needed and best applied. Meanwhile, Aston has adopted a durable, single-piece carbon fiber prop shaft that can stand up to the abuse DBX707 owners are likely to subject it to.
All told, using an active center differential, up to 100% of torque can be pushed to the rear of the SUV, with a maximum 50% going to the front rubber when needed.
At 3.1 seconds to 60, the DBX707 is certainly quick off the line, but it takes just 7.4 seconds to hit 100, with a rated top speed of 194 mph making it the fastest SUV on the road today.
Sharp-eyed readers will recall my mentioning that the 707’s claim to being the fastest and most powerful SUV out on the road comes an asterisk. With the launch of the new Model X Plaid, Tesla grabs those superlatives. It makes 1,020 horsepower and is claimed capable of hitting 60 in a mere 2.5 seconds. Supposedly. But I’d not like to flog it the way we spent the better part of the day driving in Sardinia. Among other things, its questionable the Model X could hold up, mile after mile pushing to the limits without defaulting to backup mode.
Aston has expanded upon the original DBX models’ driver mode options, including a “Race Start.” You can also manually adjust individual features, like the suspension, steering, throttle response and nany controls. And your preferred settings can be stored as an Individual Mode.
To scrub off speed — especially when pushing things hard, as we were doing in Sardinia, 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 cull 90 pounds of mass and keep the ceramic discs cooler under hard braking conditions.
Safety and Technology
If one gets a sense of déjà vu looking at the various displays on the DBX707’s instrument panel it’s because they’re largely borrowed from Aston’s German ally, Mercedes-Benz.
It’s not the latest MBUX system, however. You can’t go “Hey, Aston,” to trigger the voice control system. And one of the surprises was that the infotainment display was not a touchscreen. You use the large, knurled knob on the center console also borrowed from the Germans. It’s not a particular problem but you do have to get out of the habit of trying to tap the screen. Even odder, the climate controls are touch-operated — and they require you to take off most gloves to get the system to work.
While the system may not be state-of-the-art, I find the Aston version of the old Mercedes COMAND knob much more comfortable to use, especially while driving hard or in bad weather. You don’t have to take your eyes off the road as much or have a finger hit the wrong spot when driving on rough roads.
There are, of course, requisite tech features, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto — though still only wired versions.
The tech that proved particularly appealing was designed to enhance the Aston’s driving manners. The SUV features a height-adjustable suspension using triple-chamber air springs. Tap a button to increase ground clearance for either entry and exit. It also operates automatically, lowering the car as much as three inches when you reach 124 mph. Add to that an active anti-roll system that helped the DBX maintain its poise running along my favorite, twisty roads through the appropriately named Hell, Michigan.
There’s plenty when it comes to safety tech, as well, including forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning, cross-traffic alert and more.
The 2023 Aston Martin DBX707 is a stunning vehicle to drive. Full stop. You can push it pretty much right up to the limits of your own driving skills and, unless you’ve got a career going in IndyCar or Formula One, you might never really discover its limits.
During several 100 miles of driving on rough and twisty Sardinian roads, the tires barely ever complained. If they did, it was likely the result of driver error and the beefed up air suspension and those fat Pirelli tires simply let you know they were working to keep you on the pavement.
What was especially surprising, however, was just how smooth and compliant that air suspension proved to be. Even in the most aggressive cornering maneuvers there was only a modest amount of body roll. Yet, even in Sport mode, the ute delivered a surprisingly amount of compliance when coping with the island’s rough and uneven pavement.
Yes, there’s a modest amount of understeer, as you’d expect. And there’s no hiding the DBX707’s more than 2.5 tons of mass. But it far exceeded my expectations in almost every roadgoing behavioral metric.
2023 Aston Martin DBX707 specifications
|Dimension||L: 198.4 inches/W: 78.7 inches/H: 66.1 inches/Wheelbase: 120.5 inches|
|Powertrain||4.0-liter twin turbocharged V-8 engine, 9-speed dual clutch transmission and all-wheel drive|
|Fuel Economy||15 mpg city/20 mpg highway/17 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||707 horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $236,000; As tested: $291,586 including $3,086 destination charge.|
|On-Sale Date||Available Q2 2022|
Okay, the Aston Martin DBX isn’t perfect. As I learned when I drove the original SUV, the focus on aerodynamics led Aston to leave off a rear windshield wiper. There’s a gap opened in the center of the rear spoiler and, while it helps blow off rain while driving, it didn’t clear things up as much as I’d have liked when those leaden skies eventually opened up.
Now, if that complaint is going to get you to reconsider whether to buy the 2023 Aston Martin DBX707, you’re far too picky. The big SUV has so much to love, short of its price tag. But you knew that going into this review. It’ll cost you $236,000 to get a “base” model, should you find one. Our reasonably well-equipped test car took the figure up to $291,586 before adding a $3,086 delivery fee.
For those who car say, “money is no object,” you’ll quickly find this British SUV is worth every penny.
2023 Aston Martin DBX707 — Frequently Asked Questions
How much is Aston Martin 707?
Prices start at $239,086 including destination charge, but not including options or taxes.
How many DBXs has Aston Martin sold?
In 2021, its first year of production, Aston Martin sold 830 DBXs. In the first quarter of 2022, the company sold 245 units, up from 210 during the same period last year. The SUV is now the brand’s best-selling product ever.
How fast is the Aston Martin DBX?
According to Aston Martin, the DBX 707 runs 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds on its way to a top speed of 193 mph, making it among the fast SUVs in the world.