Aston Martin DBX707 Review: Is this the SUV for 007?
It seems quite natural that the SUV world is all too eager to compete in the Top Trumps leagues. After all, the very idea of a performance SUV seems already at the fringe of what most people think is a rational car. So why not go a step further to give what these irrational buyers really want? Having the Most Horsepower in the World in a super-luxury SUV is probably what an oil tycoon in the Middle East has been dreaming for all along, while vaping in the office of his Dubai skyscraper.
Well, now Aston Martin (AM) has something for him in the form of the DBX707. 707 denotes 707 PS, which officially makes the car the most powerful in its segment (see, AM is careful to make this claim among luxury SUVs only - there are more powerful so-called non-luxury SUVs). It’s a huge increase of 157 PS and 200 Nm over the standard DBX, and AM achieved this by installing new ball bearing turbochargers and a bespoke engine calibration.
To handle all that extra power, the DBX707 also has a new 9-speed ‘wet clutch’ automatic transmission with a shorter final drive ratio (3.27 versus 3.07 in the DBX) that allows faster gear changes as well as better launches to attain the 0-100 km/h time of 3.3 seconds. There’s now Race Start in GT Sport and Sport+ modes for those traffic light sprints.
There’s no denying that the car is, excuse my words, bloody fast. Something so massive must look rather scary barrelling down the road at such a pace. Terrorising passengers with its shocking turn of speed is the DBX707’s natural ability.
Yet it maintains its poise despite all of that crazy output. Like the DBX, this more extreme version has a natural talent for handling finesse and road manners, despite the large 23-inch rims optioned in the press car (22-inchers are standard). Much of it is down to the triple chamber air suspension (also found in the DBX) that endows the car with terrific ride, though it has been recalibrated to better manage heave, pitch and body roll. Whether at low speed over the endless humps of car parks, or crossing the island on the expressway, the DBX707 is always supple and cocooned from the world.
Its ability to take on twistier tarmac is also hugely impressive. Like the DBX, the DBX707 can send 100% of torque to the rear wheels and the e-diff has been fettled for sharper response. Though apart from the massive improvement in braking power (thanks to standard carbon ceramic brakes), it would be splitting hairs to say if it was discernibly better than the standard DBX, at least on the public roads of Singapore. The latter was already one of the best handling SUVs in its segment.
The interior is mostly a sumptuous place to be, with the right smells and right textures. AM did a surprising amount of modifications to the DBX707’s centre console to ensure key dynamic modes and settings have direct buttons. It’s much easier now to toggle suspension modes, ESP, exhaust modes and permanent manual gear selection individually.
As with Aston Martin, you’d have to overlook a couple of details, like the dated graphics on the instrumental panel, or the horror you face when you try tapping the infotainment screen and very quickly realising it isn’t a touchscreen. But if you specify the car tastefully, as it has been done to the press car in my eyes, the end result is rather spectacular. If you wanted to go further, there’s Q by Aston Martin to make the car truly bespoke. That said, I did find the standard DBX’s interior to be more appealing somehow, with less fuss and drama.
There’s no denying that, for nearly a million bucks, the DBX707 has some flaws that some of its more obsessive German (or German owned) counterparts may never allow. At the same time, the car makes one feel special because it felt like a human made it instead of a machine. That craftsmanship aspect would never age, and is a compelling reason why one would pick an Aston Martin over something else. After all, Aston Martin is one of the last independent car manufacturers out there. So if you want an item of luxury that’s painstakingly built by passion instead of being approved at boardroom meetings, the DBX707 fulfils that beautifully. I’m just not sure if it does it any better than the DBX. Well, I guess it would make the oil tycoon very happy indeed nonetheless.
Photos by Horizon Drivers' Club
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