Aston Martin DBX707 review

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Aston Martin reckons the DBX707 is the ultimate SUV. Jonathan Crouch drives it.

Ten Second Review

A sabre in a segment of sledgehammers. Is that what the Aston Martin DBX707 is? An Aston Martin SUV is already something pretty unique. With 770PS, more attitude and a top speed knocking on the door of 200mph, this is better.

Background

Aston Martin's first SUV, the DBX, was created very much with this uprated version, the DBX707, in mind. With some of the shackles removed from the asking price, the Gaydon engineers were given free rein to develop the ultimate version of this design in a bid to create the fastest, the most powerful and the best handling SUV ever.

A lot more's been done here than to simply push the 4.0-litre V8 engine's power output up to 770PS. Almost every aspect of the drivetrain has been re-engineered - and there are visual and cabin changes too. The idea was to truly unlock the performance potential within the DBX to create a world-beating high performance SUV.

Driving Experience

Every area of this car has been enhanced to boost performance, intensify driving involvement and amplify it's on-road presence: engine, transmission, suspension, brakes - all of it's been re-engineered to create the kind of DBX you suspect the development team really wanted in the first place. Any SUV claiming ultimate status has to have a sky-high power output of course - here the 4.0-litre V8's output has been raised from 562 to 707PS - hence the name and a 200Nm increase in torque - to 900Nm. As a result, the 62mph sprint time drops to just 3.3s (from 4.4s) and the top speed rises to 193mph (from 181mph).

That kind of performance would eventually wreck the standard model gearbox, so a new 9-speed 'wet clutch' auto transmission has been installed, better capable of handling the extra grunt and dealing with the extra 'Race Start' feature added into the car's 'GT Sport' and 'Sport+' drive modes. The electronic limited slip rear differential had to be re-engineered for the extra torque too, as did the brakes (they're now of the track-level carbon ceramic kind). On top of that, the air suspension gets a dedicated chassis tune, with new damper settings and recalibration of dynamic spring valving. Plus the electronic power steering system has been adjusted to improve steering feel and the Electronic Active Roll Control set-up gains revised parameters that heighten the sense of agility and improve the aggressive balance of the car.

Design and Build

This 707 model has a subtly different look, with revised front end treatment that sees it receive special louvred bonnet blades, a larger front grille and a different design of daytime running light, complete with revised air intakes and brake cooling ducts, plus a smarter gloss black front splitter profile. The satin chrome grille - enlarged to significantly increase cooling airflow to both the ultra-high performance V8 and the tougher 9-speed transmission - features double vanes, the six horizontal bars split to create extra visual interest. In profile, there are dark satin chrome window surrounds and gloss black side sills which feature a deeper and more heavily sculpted profile to give the DBX707 a ground-hugging stance.

At the back, there's a more overt lip spoiler and a significantly enlarged twin rear diffuser rising to meet the larger-diameter quad exhaust system that's finished in satin black.

Inside, the main change is the addition of a circular drive mode selector at the bottom of the centre stack. Sports seats are fitted as standard and interior features a dark chrome finish for the switchgear, with bright chrome carbon fibre trimming available as an option.

As with the standard model, there's comfortable space for two in the rear. And you get a big 632-litre boot, extendable to 1,529-litres with the 40:20:40-split rear seat folded.

Market and Model

You didn't think it was going to be inexpensive did you? Of course it isn't, the standard DBX retailing at the time of this test in Autumn 2023 from around £172,000. Inevitably, you'll need a lot more than that for this faster 707 version - at the time of this Review, the cost of one of these was £190,000. And there'll be lots to add to those figures of course, once you've begun to tick a few options boxes.

What else could you consider that's similar in this segment? A Lamborghini Urus would probably cost about the same as a 707, once you specced it up properly. For a bit less, there's the 'Red Label' version of BMW's XM (which is a V8 Plug-in Hybrid); and Porsche's Cayenne Coupe Turbo GT with 640PS and a £150,000 price tag might be tempting if you want a really dynamic SUV of this type. If you don't, you'll be looking at models like Bentley's Bentayga Speed. You'll need a lot more for the Maranello entrant to this exclusive sector, the Ferrari Purosangue - think £350,000 for one of those. Even a Rolls-Royce Cullinan's £300,000 price tag looks affordable compared to that....

As for this 707 model's spec, well along with the extra power, you get bespoke exterior looks with gloss black additions and bigger spoilers, plus a more prominent lower rear diffuser. Inside, there's a more unique interior with a dark chrome switchgear finish and micro-perforated upholstery. The seats - here 16-way-adjustable - come either in a mixture of leather and Alcantara - or they can be fully upholstered in softer semi-aniline leather embroidered with Aston Martin branding and featuring a contrast centre stripe. There's a sports exhaust and the brakes are of the track-style carbon ceramic kind.

Cost of Ownership

The running cost figures for this DBX707 are almost identical to those of the standard DBX - 19.9mpg on the combined cycle and a smoky CO2 stat of 323g/km. In town, it'll be a lot worse - think 12-13mpg according to the official urban stats. Aston Martin thinks that on a long motorway run, you might be able to edge up towards 25mpg, which in theory would give you an operating range of around 460 miles from the 85-litre fuel tank. But that seems pretty unlikely to us given that even during periods of quite restrained driving over lengthier trips, we struggled to get near the 20mpg mark throughout our test. A 350 mile range is more realistic and if you drive this car hard, you probably won't even get near to that. The combined efficiency stats we just quoted you are about the same as you get from the huge 6.0-litre W12 engine used by the Bentley Bentayga Speed, which really isn't good enough.

Residual values ought to be reasonable - official sources are quoting 56% after three years, about the same as a Lamborghini Urus or Bentley Bentayga. Insurance premiums probably won't be. Think top-of-the-shop group 50. Servicing can be monitored (along with wear for the expensive bespoke Pirelli P Zero tyres) on the instrument cluster display and garage visits are required every year or 10,000 miles, whichever comes first and scheduled maintenance costs are fixed. There's a three year unlimited mileage warranty, with the option of extending that for either 12 or 24 months when it expires.

Summary

Is this, as its maker claims, the fastest, most powerful, best handling and most engaging car of its kind? Ferrari, Lamborghini and even BMW will all take issue with that but if in preference to a Purosangue, a Urus or an XM, you decide upon a DBX707, you're unlikely to be disappointed.

Cars of this sort were once blunt instruments that lurched about with their huge V8 engines - an engineering embarrassment. The DBX707 though, is part of a new, more involving breed of uber fast SU-VIPs and we're impressed by the extent of the dynamic changes made over the standard DBX to create it. The ultimate SUV? Maybe not. But it gets very close.

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