Aston Martin Nails The SUV

It’s time for another instalment in my slightly unconventional series of luxury SUV drive stories, and following on from my recent Rolls-Royce Cullinan feature we have another submission from the UK.

This time, however, there is definitely a bit more ‘sport’ in it all. A mix of class and performance that Aston Martin does very well.


To me, Aston Martin has always been amongst the best at mixing an upper-class feel with just the right amount of power, but when the automaker announced it was launching an SUV, there was only one thought that came to mind…


‘Here we go again… a sports car manufacturer selling out and trying to win over a slice of the lucrative ‘truck’ market.’ Porsche, Lamborghini and Maserati have all done it, and so to will Ferrari and Lotus soon. But really, what’s the harm? Is it wrong?


Initially, I was a little horrified at the prospect, however, if like Porsche with the Cayenne, Aston Martin’s SUV ends up being so profitable that the company can continue to develop proper sports cars well into the future, well, how could you possibly be against it?


Then I saw the DBX and my whole outlook changed – and not for the worse. It looked sensational in pictures.

For the first time, I remember thinking here’s an SUV that actually has all the right proportions. Most SUVs have a slightly awkward look about them, but the Aston Martin DBX does not.

Setting The Stage

This said, I was rather excited when offered an opportunity to drive one for a weekend. And the DBX looked even better in person with its glossy black exterior and gigantic 22-inch wheels. It was truly menacing.


Exterior design isn’t the only thing that Aston Martin has got so right with the DBX. The way they’ve appointed the interior – which follows recent updates throughout the entire Aston Martin model range – ensured the DBX hit the market with all the features and gadgets you can think of. And given that this thing is priced at the equivalent of US$200K here in Japan, you’d absolutely want it to be fully loaded.


While it ticks all the spec boxes, the DBX looks and feels like no other SUV out there. That’s not something easily achieved in this segment.


I had the DBX parked up for 20 minutes or so on Ginza’s main road while I shot these images, and the number of positive comments I overheard from passersby was quite telling. In Tokyo, reactions like kakkoi (read: cool) are not easy to get, and especially so in upmarket Ginza where exotic and luxury cars aren’t really anything out of the ordinary.


What seals the deal for me is the engine mounted up front – a 545hp ‘hot-vee’ twin-turbo 4.0L V8. We all know that Aston Martin gets its engines from Mercedes-AMG these days, but like in the Vantage that I drove last year, this adds to the experience rather than taking anything away from it. Simply, this is one of the best force-fed production V8s around.

Stick the drive mode into ‘Sport’ and you have an SUV with the soundtrack of an AMG GT that effortlessly machine-guns through its nine gears with immense acceleration from any speed. Despite the DBX’s 2.3-ton heft, it will go from zero to 62mph (100km/h) in 4.5 seconds. Drive it peacefully, and that V8 rumble subsides to a relaxing low-frequency burble.


Underneath its well-executed proportions, the DBX is built on a bespoke platform that like other Aston Martins is constructed with bonded aluminum panels and extrusions. It’s impressively stiff and remarkably throwable around corners given its heft, and thanks to a 48v anti-roll bar system and active dampers, it stays flat through corners at speed. Like all vehicles of this type, the DBX is equipped with air springs, allowing it to sit at different ride heights depending on which of its five drive modes are selected.


Like the engine and transmission, the infotainment system comes from Mercedes-Benz too. It’s not a bad thing – something I touched on in the Vantage post – as I’d rather see lower-volume manufacturers like Aston Martin go this route rather than attempting to build their own systems and completely messing it up. It makes total financial sense too, as modern systems are complex and ever-evolving. What’s in the DBX might be one generation behind the current Mercedes system, but it’s better than an antiquated unit that’s glitchy and frustrating to use.

Beauty On Its Side

If you’re in a position to purchase a high-end SUV, you will be looking for something that checks every box. The DBX would surely come close to doing that.


Such is the pace of innovation and engineering today, you can turn a vehicle that shouldn’t really perform at this sort of level into a package that does.


In fact, that might be the very definition of these vehicles. They’re able to be this good thanks to the decades of development that have gone into camouflaging the fact they’re far too big and heavy to actually be sporty.


The Aston Martin DBX’s party trick is its beautifully proportioned and unique exterior.


It might not be for everyone in the market for this type of vehicle, but it would probably be the perfect choice if you want something that stands out in the sea of high-end SUVs. The fact that the DBX as of this month is already outselling every other model in the Aston Martin line-up speaks volumes about how right they got the concept.

Stay tuned for my next SUV drive, whatever it may be. Any requests?

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: dino_dalle_carbonare



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It truly is one of the better-looking SUVs out there, and it looks right at home in Tokyo, especially next to the Chanel and Louis Vuitton store, haha. See if you can convince Lamborghini to let you try out a Urus next if you hadn't already lol!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

It's funny you mention that. Lamborghini Japan game me a Urus 3 years ago and 30 min after I picked it up called me to tell me they screwed up the booking and it was actually supposed to go to a Japanese magazine. I had to pull a U-turn and give it back. They never contacted me after that to amend the situation and I never contacted them to re-sign up for one. It's just a Q7 chassis with an over-styled exterior, cramped interior and an Audi RS6 engine. Might as well buy an RS6 Avant and not look like a total twat. So no, I will not add it to this series of features.


...well then. I guess that's that!


I see alo of KIA EV6 in the rear for some reason....?!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Sorry don't see it


It's the ducktail rear deck and kick-up in the position lamp. I see the similarities and would argue the EV6 is actually the better looking of the two.


This is definitely a very nice vehicle and Aston Martin really nailed the design on this one especially the interior one of the best ones
However I don't know if this is $200k nice especially when there are better offerings from Audi, Mercedes, Porsche, and even Lamborghini and Ferrari which is just better for the money in my opinion
Still it's a nice car for what it is and I love the aesthetics in the pics they're stunning as usual!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I think this hits the nail on the head for those people that are fed up with seeing so many of the SUVs that you mention. Glad you like the pictures, thanks!


I'm wondering. When do we reach 30-inch rims as normal size and consider 18 as a vintage "small-wheel" option? And the weight of these SUV behemoths is concerning to me. Three decades ago a car that weighs more than 1400 kilos was a big one. For example, a huge by its times Audi 200 C3 weighs only 1410 kilos, and modern SUVs easily could be 2500 kilos... I think there we lose significant aspects of the driving experience.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

EV SUVs are getting up towards the 3 ton + mark. You tell me if that's automotive evolution...


The target demographic for this truck isn't drivers, it's rappers and football players who hold court in the titty bars that have valet parking.

Urbanized Dreams .

I don't know....I don't really see anything that special here. The Roll Royce you did was more fancy. This to me.....I feel like a Mazda 6 has a more premium looking interior than this. Personally, I find this overpriced and other manufactures offer a similar experience for far less.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yes the RR was a whole other ball game. It also sells for twice the price...


I see one of these in the parking lot nearly every day that I work. The styling is really nice, especially from the rear (i.e. when it's parked next to other cars it really stands out with that distinctive styling)!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Storm trooper rear lights. Love it!


We need less of these posts, and more of your R34 updates Dino!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yes I know. I am trying to get back into that car. The way the prices for 34s keep going up isn't helping me get to in a hurry though...


I like these reviews! If you can, try to get a weekend in the Cayenne Turbo GT.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Funny you mention that. I just borrowed a Cayenne....


Eager to hear what you think!


So, did they set you up with a suit for when you’re out driving ? Something James Bond would only be seen in?
Happy holidays Dino.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Nah mate, I drove this thing in my sweatpants and Speedhunters hoodie lol


Porsche Macan: haha! Challange???

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Macan? Nah, in this company the Cayenne only would make it in


Initially, I was a little horrified at the prospect, however, if like Porsche with the Cayenne, Aston Martin’s SUV ends up being so profitable that the company can continue to develop proper sports cars well into the future, well, how could you possibly be against it?

if ends up being so profitable, and speedhunters can continue to create proper speed related content into the future, well, how could you possibly be against it?

i mean, it's a little boring and make you feel like you are reading Car and Driver! but it's OK, if it helps! ;)

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Variety is key here. Much like the cars manufacturers make. It's fun to get behind the wheel of as many as we can. Hopefully seeing one in Tokyo makes it a little better than those cookie cutter mags you quote in your comment ;)


Absolutely beautiful! And your photos Dino! Freakin sick.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thanks man! Amazing the effect a Canon tilt-shift lens can obtain at night in places like Ginza


I'm starting to wonder, if we will see any collectors for SUV's in a decade or so, maybe they already are out there.
Then there will be special editions like the Cayenne GT2 RS, Urus LPi1200,....

Sadly, I wouldn't be surprised.
Stupid world nowadays....

Dino Dalle Carbonare

It sounds absolutely stupid. Then again as you say, we do live in a really interesting reality right now, so you really have to wonder ...


We shouldn’t be encouraging it and Aston Martin your better than this .

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Nah I've given up being critical of vehicles like these. If they allow the company to get the profits in, it can only help with the future of the other cars they make. The cars we care about.


They have some of the best brains in the world that can be put together to bring cars like the valkyrie and vulcan to life but the shareholders they want to follow the sheep with this thing, if they can convince you that they are not making any money and this thing is best for the world they are doing the job right. But for real cars like this are stupid you have to crazy or on 80s coke to buy one .. but don’t get me wrong if I got a press car , full take of fuel and got into a weekend romance with one I’d have nothing but good things to say about it.


It's the first time I notice this, but it actually looks a lot like the new Porsche SUV's, but just with a duck tale at the end and an AM grille at the front. Even the way the rear lights are shaped at the outer part are shockingly similar. Still a nice car, I don't mind it.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Possibly. Possibly not. Depends on your perspective.


I’ve love this series of high-end SUV reviews so far. I’d love to read something similar but with trucks !

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Glad to continue adding to this story type. However, no luck in getting truck loaners in Japan. There is only one selling on the market lol


You fancy suv´s these days ? Showing your age I see ;). I personally think that these tankers on four wheels do nothing for me and I long for the moment, where someone in the automobile industy comes up with something to the likes of an iphone moment. Something, that makes suv´s go away once and for all.

I am not a prudish environmentalist, I love internal combustion engine cars just as anyone else on this site, but the SUV has to be the one of the biggest contributor to global CO2 and all that for phrases such as : "I like the fact you sit a bit higher".
The suv is the worst ambassador imaginable for the thing that we cherish.

Kind regards

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Must be the age yes, it is however fun to get behind the wheel of a variety of vehicles. Makes you fully understand what they are all about and appreciate everything else more.


I still find the rear end to be awkward, like someone rear ended a Vantage and said "Perfect!". Other than that I think it looks... Okay-ish, not a very big an of these cars tbh. But well, market speaks I guess!


One of the many things I love about downtown Tokyo is how any car looks beautiful in it's scenery. Your photos are a delight Dino.
As an all time Aston Martin enthusiast, I have to say that even though that DBX is useless in it's essence and far from the original ethos of the brand, it has the merit to sell very well (proportionally) and it saved the company from a very likely bankruptcy following the Andy Palmer years. In bonus, Aston's engineers really nailed it as it's a genuinely great car to drive considering it's an SUV. This is mostly due to developpment from a blank sheet rather than using an already existing platform. So if the DBX can bring enough cash for Aston to developp new core models, then why not.

Small error in the article though (or maybe I didn't understand well), Aston doesn't source all of their engines from Mercedes. Only the V8 is. The V12 still is the in house one.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thanks, glad you like the pictures! Lotus is soon to join with their SUV....and Ferrari. They are big money makers but it's nice to see that they are focusing on getting them to drive and feel decent.


beg you start reviewing new cars. dis site is deep


To me this does nothing but hurt the brand. Then again it cannot be worse than the Cygnet.