2023 Aston Martin DBX707 review: International Launch



A stout powertrain upgrade, without diluting its trademark effortless ease, makes the fastest Aston Martin DBX as impressive on road as it is on track.

  • Effortless performance
  • Pliant chassis settings and refinement
  • Hasn’t been compromised by dynamic mission

  • Can’t hide size in tighter corners
  • Slight turbo lag if you look for it
  • Cabin architecture feeling old

Drive’s chance to experience a very late pre-production DBX707 in the UK last month really took the pressure off on the international launch.

My time at Silverstone in a livery-clad prototype was exclusively on track, with encouragement from Aston CEO Tobias Moers to push the new super-SUV to and through its limits, meaning there was no need to try nearly so hard in the finished car in Sardinia. Which was a good thing; the beautiful Italian island is definitely too small, tight and full of other traffic to allow the DBX707 to be exploited at more than a small percentage of its towering potential.

But what Sardinia was very good at was testing the other side of the DBX707’s ownership proposition. The one that Moers promises hasn’t been compromised by the changes necessary to turn this into what will almost certainly prove itself to be the fastest SUV in the world, certainly on the metric of Nurburgring Nordschelife lap time.

On Sardinia’s bumpy, narrow mountain roads and congested freeways the Aston got to prove the other side of its personality: that of being the gentlest of giants. It can go ludicrously quickly, but it doesn’t need to to feel its best.

The DBX is already the centre of the Aston range, outselling all of its sportscar sisters, and the 707 is meant to broaden its appeal further. It will be a new range-topping model that will carry a sizeable price supplement over the regular version.

Aston also reckons it will make up an outright majority of sales in most parts of the world – buyers prepared to pay the supplement for the extra performance and bragging rights that should come with it. But they don’t want a compromised car, or one that is going to feel harsh next to the plushness of the regular DBX.

Hardware changes are limited, but significant. The 707 has been given a much mightier version of the AMG-supplied 4.0-litre V8, this being the same engine that Moers led the development of during his previous life at Daimler. It gets higher-output ball bearing turbochargers and redesigned induction and exhaust systems, but the bottom end is unchanged.

It also now drives through AMG’s ‘wet clutch’ nine speed autobox, the first time a company outside the Mercedes empire has been given access to it. This gives faster changes, but also a launch control mode to deliver the unfeasible 3.3-sec 0-100km/h time. Having experienced this at Silverstone in the prototype, I felt no need to experience it again in Italy: the G-loadings are close to those of a head-on collision, but in reverse.

2023 Aston Martin DBX707
Seats Five
Boot volume 638L seats up (plus 81L underfloor)
Length 5039mm
Width 1998mm
Height 1680mm
Wheelbase 3060mm

The gentler loadings of road use do confirm that the engine has a slight hesitancy at lower revs, a noticeable pause while the turbochargers build boost. The only way to experience this is by putting the transmission into its manual mode, then selecting a tall ratio; when left in Drive the gearbox will always downshift to mask this. But once on song the V8 feels almighty, with its brooding low-down exhaust beat turning to a savage snarl as the g-force loads rise.

Using no more than half throttle, and with the autobox shifting at no more than 5000rpm, the 707 already feels seriously quick. The experience is similar to that in the spikiest supercars: doses of full throttle will be few and far between, but that doesn’t mean the 707 lacks character when being driven at lower intensity.

Put it this way, I spent the week before driving the DBX in a Lamborghini Urus, a car that felt both louder and more leisurely than the iron fisted Aston.

Chassis settings felt impressively pliant in the real world. I spent most of my drive in Sardinia in the mid-way Sport dynamic mode, simply because this coped so well with everything the island could throw at it.

At urban speeds the DBX’s air springs stayed pliant over the lumps and speed bumps which often get through the armour of heavy, big-wheeled cars – and the 707 was rolling on monstrous 23-inch rims. But these were defused without any drama, with Sport feeling equally adept when asked to deal with the challenge of managing its bulk over twisty mountain passes.

Like the regular DBX it has a 48 Volt anti-roll system which allows a modest amount of lean to help a driver orientate themselves to cornering loads, but which otherwise keeps the 707 impressively flat while still allowing wheel travel to cope with undulations. It’s hugely impressive, to the extent I couldn’t discern much point in selecting either the gentler GT or the more aggressive Sport Plus modes in terms of chassis manners.

2023 Aston Martin DBX707
ANCAP rating Not tested

The DBX707’s 2245kg bulk does bring a reality check to its sports car aspirations. It will always be too big and too tall to feel properly dynamic in really tight, fiddly stuff – even the massive grip that the Pirelli P Zero tyres are capable of generating struggle with the physics of getting so much car turned.

Silverstone proved the 707 can be easily persuaded into lurid oversteer, but on Sardinian mountain hairpins the front tyres consistently ran out of grip before the rear ones. Increasing speeds and faster corners allow the battery of active systems to make their presence felt, with the torque biasing differential making the 707 feel rear-wheel driven in faster, sweeping corners. And the standard fit carbon ceramic brakes proved themselves capable of taking huge thermal loadings without complaint.

Like the regular DBX, the 707’s cabin is where it feels most obviously different to competitors, and also well off the pace in terms of technology.

Fuel Usage Fuel Stats
Fuel cons. (claimed) 14.2L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) Not recorded
Fuel type 98-octane premium unleaded
Fuel tank size 87L

Aston’s decision to use a similar dashboard design to its sports car models always felt a little strange, and repeated exposure is making it feel more incongruous. The bulbous centre console is space inefficient and doesn’t match up with the rest of what is very obviously an SUV driving experience.

The DBX707 gets redesigned switchgear and a new dynamic mode controller, but it still lacks the tactile pleasure of the controls in a Bentley Bentayga, or Rolls-Royce Cullinan. And at risk of banging a dented drum, the lack of a touch-based UI system remains a serious omission for any car these days, let alone one trying to compete in such an elevated part of the market.

Aston is rushing to develop a new, bespoke UI unrelated to the old Mercedes system that powers the current one. It can’t come soon enough.

Key details 2023 Aston Martin DBX707
Engine 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo petrol
Power 520kW @ 6000rpm
Torque 900Nm @ 4500rpm
Drive type All-wheel drive
Transmission Nine-speed multi-clutch auto
Power to weight ratio 231.6kW/t
Weight (kerb) 2245kg

The DBX707 definitely feels like a car inspired more by Aston’s past than its future. The model in the range it feels closest to in terms of character is the DBS Superleggera.

Yes, the 707 has a V8 soundtrack instead of the Grand Tourer’s V12, but the SUV has the same combination of laid-back dynamics and huge performance. As such the DBX707 is definitely a true Aston, and one that will likely find plenty of fans regardless of whether or not it nabs the Nordschliefe record.

But as other manufacturers move rapidly towards electrification it’s also a reminder that Aston has a long way to go on its own transformational journey: there won’t be a plug-in hybrid version of the DBX until after the car has its facelift. Which is another way of saying we should be enjoying the existence of cars like the DBX707 while we can.

Ratings Breakdown

8.5/ 10

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Infotainment & Connectivity

Our bloke in the UK has been writing about cars since the late ’nineties, and served time on the staff of CAR, Autocar and evo magazines. These days he combines his duties for Drive with being European Editor for Car and Driver in the ’States. He loves automotive adventures and old Mercs, sometimes experienced together.

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