Brings the match to Italy

Dom

9.3 / 10

The Italian island of Sardinia is supernatural in its spring beauty. Hyperblue water in hidden bays; clusters of lemon trees like bouquets of white flowers in the middle of yellow-green fields; mountain villages stretch across valleys as if they were not built but grown.

Free of larger companies, large population centers and robust police forces, Sardinia feels almost exactly like heaven on earth for the first taste of a vehicle like the Aston Martin DBX707.

It also feels, not for nothing, like a very classy shot across the bow of a particular Italian manufacturer of super-SUVs. While Aston Martin trampled in shallow waters with the original DBX, this 697-horsepower, hyper-focused development of the vehicle appears to be custom-made to battle the Lamborghini Urus.

Sales of upscale, super-performance SUVs are rising, with e.g. Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce and Bentley making hay in a field that Porsche proved to be fertile years ago. Aston’s original DBX was the first entry into this arena, and now I’m in this lovely Italian region to find out if the 707 can with the segment’s finest offering. let’s go.

Quick statistics: 2023 Aston Martin DBX707
Engine: Twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8
Production: 697 Horsepower / 663 Pounds-Feet
0-60 MPH: 3.1 seconds
Top speed: 193 MPH
As tested: $ 291,386

A picture of Poise

The Sardinian coast is surrounded by rugged mountains and hills with steep sides, with curved roads that run like pinstripes over and through the dramatic topography. Like elsewhere in Italy, the paving is fine, but the roads are narrow. All in all, the recipe works perfectly for small sports cars or dive-bombed Fiats, but smaller for large, hyper-powerful SUVs (Aston Martin brands or not).

It turns out that while the headlines have all focused on the DBX707’s eponymous horsepower, Aston’s real party trick is its revised front-end and powerful brakes. Among the amount of revisions from the DBX V8, engineers have completely recalibrated the air suspension system and stiffened the front suspension brackets for improved body control and steering response. The speed of the (also reset) electronic power steering is nothing short of incredible for a vehicle of this size. The Nürburgring record may not be far off.

2023 Aston Martin DBX707

The stand feels incredibly fast on dozens of miles of mountain shifts, with almost instantaneous engagement that makes the 707 feel more the size of a Cinquecento than a truck. However, the rapid response to input does not make the car feel overcaffeinated; just sipped direction changes, exactly when I ask for them, combined with smooth and predictable suspension response both in the middle of the corner and over major bumps or sway in the road surface. There is not much in terms of road feel that is evident through the steering wheel, but otherwise this is a sublime steering experience.

Confidently placing the big Aston on the road, corner after narrow corner, is only half the battle. My nerves are still a bit out of practice when it comes to shooting 5,000-pound land missiles around mountain roads, so it’s important to become familiar with the brakes.

Tramp hard – as I was asked to do once or twice when I get a little hot around in blind corners – and the front brakes pull the DBX down from speed, as if you have hit an invisible brick wall.

On paper, the braking system is up to snuff for a vehicle as fast and heavy as the DBX707: 16.5-inch carbon ceramic discs at the front, stopped with 6-piston aluminum calipers, with 15.4-inch and single, sliding piston calipers at the rear. Fortunately, the reality on the road is as good as the specification sheet in this case.

The initial bite of the brake pedal is actually quite soft, but as you dig into the long pedal walk, you will find a perfectly progressive braking force along the way. Tramp hard – as I was asked to do once or twice when I get a little hot around in blind corners – and the front brakes pull the DBX down from speed, as if you have hit an invisible brick wall. Otherwise, the linear nature of the braking force is quietly reassuring.

2023 Aston Martin DBX707

Power you deserve

I walked away from my first taste of the DBX V8 (such as Aston styles is now the “base” DBX) reasonably impressed. After spending a week with the SUV in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the early spring, I found the vehicle impressively sports car-like, but also extremely well-appointed and spacious. An easy and nice thing to live with, day in and day out. But – and I was even a little scared to ask myself that – shouldn’t it just feel a little faster?

Maybe blame the booming EV revolution? But at a time when even mid-pack electricity was packing a blow out of line, I was unhappy with the DBX’s full-throttle performance, even though it sounded impressive.

2023 Aston Martin DBX707
2023 Aston Martin DBX707

The small problem is clearly not something that 697 horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque could not solve. The DBX707 is fast in every way that its 3.1-second sprint to 60 miles per hour can attest, and it certainly feels fast too. In fact, it’s absurd.

Summon all your courage and put the throttle from standstill, and the 707 jumps to attention like a living thing. Grease front and rear rubber (Pirelli P Zero 325/35 rear and 285/40 front, on ridiculous 23-inch wheels) does not squirm a bit under this initial compulsion, but transfers all the dual-turbocharged power to the ground in trouble-free, angry mode.

Of course there is a start control party trick if you want to impress your friends or scare your kids, which worked perfectly once during my test and did not work at all another time (actually it seemed to do something to the transmission until we stopped and restarted the car). But this is not F1.

2023 Aston Martin DBX707

A hot start rage is impressive for a supersport SUV, but what was truly incredible was the ability to dig into all that torque from almost any speed and drag the DBX past any other thing on wheels.

When our mountain route eventually fell into lower elevations and undulating farmland, the road opened up for floating, long sweepers and dotted lines right away. Here, even at three-digit cruising speeds, it was nothing to let go of a few conditions using the steering column-mounted shovels and run past local traffic in an instant. This turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 may be a super-torquey derivation of a Mercedes-Benz engine, but on empty tracks in the middle of the Mediterranean, it feels as if Zeus himself was the tuner.

2023 Aston Martin DBX707

The old god (or the Aston Martin engineers he inspired) also did not ignore the role of the nitrin’s automatic transmission, complete with wet plate clutch, in the 707’s unsustainable power transmission. Reset to the more aggressive power curve, the autobox is fast as grease when I require manual up or down gearing, and satisfactorily mechanical in the process. Set to Sport + driving mode, the transmission also shifts (via wire) aggressively by itself, but the act of rowing my own was too comfortable to let go when driving was good.

2023 Aston Martin DBX707

Cabin fever

Functionally, the DBX707 cabin was indistinguishable from the base car, which is a good thing. Even at 6-foot-5 and with a week of Italian food beyond my normal ballast, the aggressively reinforced sports seats felt just fine. In fact, I’m sure there has been a bit of thought given to a future clientele of professional athletes in large format, as I did not even have to be completely back on the seat rails to find a perfect position behind the greasy steering wheel.

Additionally, in order for you not to forget that this is a utility vehicle, there is plenty of space in the second row for adult passengers or even car seats if you would be so bold (I would). And with a maximum load capacity of 22.3 cubic feet, there is still more space in the lavishly carpeted cargo space.

2023 Aston Martin DBX707

That said, the color of my test car – disgustingly called “Q Titanium Gray / Q Electron Yellow” – could not decide if it would be the life of the party or completely skip shindig. (My tester is not pictured in the photo gallery, but check out the short walkaround video for the offensive shades.) While the material quality of leather and stitching was top notch, the mood was sad while looking ahead, or jarring when capturing a glimpses of the young yellow accents. I wish I could say that other cars and colors performed better, but they were all about equally two-tone and shouting.

Another personal aggravation was the fully digital instrument cluster. Again, functionally, the device is absolutely fine: clear graphics, changing color schemes based on driving conditions, well-organized information, and I assume some degree of configurability (I was generally too busy driving to mess around with display settings). The screen is fine in itself, but it feels like such a missed opportunity in a quarter-million-dollar car.

2023 Aston Martin DBX707

With ultra-luxury, ultra-expensive vehicles, I think something along the lines of a beautiful analog speedo and tach could be a place for a brand like Aston to unleash some crafty muscle. An elegantly applied scale, faceted and well-finished indicator pins, maybe just a cool physical frame that surrounds all the super-functional pixels? After all, this is a company that has partnered with a legendary Swiss watchmaker on several watches … can they surely do it better than yet another monitor? (I’m probably alone on Analog Instruments Island, and I’m fine with that.)

2023 Aston Martin DBX707

Money is no object, but …

The DBX707 is wildly, completely, almost embarrassingly better than its less powerful sibling. With my biggest objection to the ugly seats noticed, I still have to admit that the 707 feels like what the DBX was always meant to be. But the enormous competence comes at a price: the 707 skips about fifty thousand over the V8 with a base MSRP of $ 236,000.

Options do not come cheap either. With a hefty $ 3,086 for delivery and destination included, my Apex Gray test car rang for $ 291,386. It’s enough to place an unselected Urus in your driveway, next to a base Porsche Macan for the kids (good little starter car). It’s likely that Ferrari’s upcoming Purosangue will surpass the DBX707 in terms of price, but right now Aston is at the top of the pile for panache, performance and as a pure outlay of wealth.

The reality today is that the 707 will have to go in cubes with the Lamborghini and Bentley Bentayga Speed ​​and Porsche’s Cayenne Turbo GT for hearts, minds and wallets. Of the three, the Porsche is most easily rejected. Not because it can not compete on the road – the Cayenne is out of shots with only 631 horsepower, but it sprints to 60 at the same time and will reach an absurd 186 mph “top track speed.” But simply because Aston Martin has more gravitas, a more prestigious brand and will be a far rarer sight (at least for a while) in places where rich people like to flex.

As for Bently (who is immensely magnificent, but somehow feels like another target), Urus is the real target here. And at least for now, with its massive grille greedily sucking salt-colored Italian air down, the DBX707 feels like a worthy competitor to the title of super SUV king. Should the opportunity arise, I will be willing to fly back to these Sardinian coasts to test both rigs, head to head.

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