People often ask me what the most expensive car I’ve ever driven is. Easy — that’s the Aston Martin DB5 Bond Continuation car. It’s $3.5 million of liquid Silver Birch perfection, smokescreen included. It was also the most stress-inducing car I’ve ever driven as I sat on the right-hand side, properly British, and squired it down narrow, bramble-lined English country lanes. Like the opening stunt sequence in any 007 flick, that drive was a nail-biter.
For something a bit less expensive, at a $230,000 starting price, might I suggest the Aston Martin DBX 707 instead? You’ll get a similar bang for your buck; it’s just a different sort of bang. That starts with the Mercedes AMG-sourced twin-turbo M177 V8 that somehow former Aston head Tobias Moers wrenched from Mercedes’ talons. With its 697 horsepower and, more interestingly, 644 lb-ft of torque that greets you fully at an enticing 2,600 rpm, the engine is a best-in-class Goliath.
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How does the Aston Martin DBX 707 drive?
The Aston Martin DBX 707
Not only will you impress your friends with the launch-control party trick that comes as close as possible to the instant-torque neck snap of a Tesla
but you’ll also sound darn good doing it. Somehow the small collective who tune every bespoke engine note at Aston Martin has proven to be the reincarnation of Mozart. Music to my ears.
For the extra juice you’re squeezing out of this engine, the body of the DBX needed some reinforcements. The grille gets 27% bigger — an emphatic yawn to inhale more air. This is now the largest grille on any Aston. You won’t usually find a big mouth on someone whose mantra is “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Here it works. The DBX also owns a new carbon diffuser in the rear, which protrudes so much that a truck owner might consider it a step for roof rack access — not recommended. But all those ponies need cooling and downforce, so there you have it.
The Aston Martin DBX 707
Those horses also need to whoa too, and they do so with finesse and the help of 16.5-inch rotors up front and 15.4-inchers in the rear. The brakes are not so grabby that easing out of your driveway turns into a whiplash situation, but they engage high up on the pedal and offer a substantive feel. These are some of my favorite sports car brakes I’ve felt in a while.
“Sports car?” I hear you ask. Yes. Because if you were blindfolded and got into the DBX 707 and then asked to flog it around a twisting mountain road at speed, I’d wonder if you could even tell it was an SUV. The dead giveaway is your seating position because it’s not a pitchy situation otherwise. If there’s body roll on the DBX, it’s imperceptible, at least to me and my driving capabilities. Perhaps Sebastian Vettel could find some now that he’s retired.
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All that stability comes from myriad tweaks to the “normal” DBX, including a slightly wider track for the rear tires and adjustments to the Electronic Active Roll Control system. Everything on the front end has been firmed up, from the steering box to the sheer plate, and the damper valving has been reworked to accommodate.
The 23-inch Pirelli
P Zero tires 285/35s up front and 315/30s in the rear connect all that British prowess to the asphalt. Usually, I’d say that’s a lot of rubber hitting the road, but unfortunately, on my press loaner, some hoon (I’m looking at you, influencers, or you, dudes at Motor Trend) had gotten to the car first and burned out the tires. It’s too bad they weren’t swapped out before I received the car, or maybe it’s a good thing, so I couldn’t push it as hard as I might have. Contact patch is everything, especially when you’re talking about almost $300,000 under your butt.
The Aston Martin DBX 707
What does the Aston Martin DBX 707 interior look like?
Speaking of seats, the interior of the DBX has moments of greatness, then just has a moment. Nobody does it better regarding fit, finishes, and materials (I’m dating myself here, but if you get that reference, bonus points). I should say no one does it better than you because Aston Martin gives buyers the option of whatever they desire. Love the color of your first pair of Air Jordans? Great, they’ll match them down to the stitching. The switchgear feels solid in your hand, and the chairs support and comfort you in sumptuous Bridge of Weir leather.
Inside, the materials are luxurious but the user interface a bit lacking.
Where the interior falters for me is with the user interface. Like the stellar engine, Aston sources its UX systems from AMG, who are far more reluctant to offer up the latest and greatest MBUX software. Understandable. Unfortunately, that leaves the buyer with a previous-generation infotainment system that’s seriously lacking. There is no touchscreen; it’s all operated by a dial on the center console. The graphics look dated. The sluggish processor could take a lesson or two from the V8. While you can augment that with Apple
CarPlay, and even then, you’ve got to use a wire. There is no option for Android users. The system has wireless charging capability, but if you’re connecting for CarPlay, you’ve got to use a wire anyway, so what’s the point?
Yes, this is a very sporty SUV, so I can hear some enthusiasts say, “just drive it.” Still, it is a utility vehicle; chances are this is the car you’ll take on road trips or pick up the kids from school if that’s on your to-do list. Regardless, if you’re spending over a quarter-million dollars on a car, you want the best and brightest. This is not it.
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Final thoughts on the Aston Martin DBX 707
I hated giving the DBX 707 back when all was said and done. Even though it rained for half of the time I had the car, I loved driving it. I think 007 would, too. And now that they’re looking for a new Bond, maybe Q can deliver her one of these. Ejectors for backseat drivers included.
This story originally ran on Autotrader.com.