Behind the Wheel

2021 Aston Martin DBX — A High-Performance SUV

2021 Aston Martin DBXModel tested: 2021 Aston Martin DBX

Engine: 4-liter, twin-turbo V8

Transmission: 9-speed automatic

Horsepower: 542

Torque: 516 lb.-ft.

EPA rating: 14/city, 18/highway, 15/combined

Base price: $179,986

As tested: $222,786

Overview: We have to admit an affinity for Aston Martin that began with driving the DB9 some years ago — causing us to fall hopelessly in love with the brand that James Bond made famous. However, Porsche — with its Cayenne — was the one to teach the marketplace that serious performance and SUVs aren’t mutually exclusive. The Aston Martin DBX is the automaker’s first-ever SUV and one of very few exotic-branded SUVs on the market. It’s a midsize, five-seater rivaling the Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus. With a base price of almost $180,000, it offers everything demanded of a high-performance, luxury SUV.

Walkaround: The DBX is just beautiful, with smooth, rounded lines. The grille is unmistakably the same as the DB11 and the rear hatch absolutely mirrors the rear end of the Vantage. Everything in between reflects all the family traits — the smoothly recessed LED headlights, long hood, chiseled side panels and high wheel arches for the 22-inch alloy wheels. The DBX design and proportions reflect the unmistakable style that’s uniquely Aston Martin.

2021 Aston Martin DBXInterior: There’s an impressive list of standard equipment, features and luxury materials throughout the DBX — along with every imaginable convenience feature. There are no trim levels. Instead, a multitude of stand-alone options as well as both lifestyle-based and traditional option packages are offered. If the seemingly endless list of options and interior combinations becomes overwhelming, Aston Martin offers ready-made, curated builds — right down to the paint color. There’s a configurable 12.3-inch digital instrument panel; however, the focal point is a 10-inch touchscreen in the center stack. The infotainment system is sourced from Mercedes but not quite as easy to use as Mercedes’ MBUX system. Among the other standard features are leather 12-way power-adjustable heated front seats with memory; heated leather rear seats; tilt/telescopic, power adjustable, leather-wrapped steering wheel with redundant feature controls; full-length panoramic glass sunroof; power-operated tailgate; Apple CarPlay, satellite radio with Bluetooth and streaming audio; four USB ports; keyless entry and push-button start; and 360-degree cameras with front and rear parking sensors. There is also a myriad of the latest safety features too numerous to mention.

Behind the Wheel: As you’d expect from Aston Martin, performance is the hallmark. Featuring an updated version of the Mercedes-sourced turbocharged AMG V8 that’s under the hoods of the Vantage and DB11 sports cars, the DBX delivers 542 ponies and 516 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s married to a smooth nine-speed automatic with standard all-wheel drive. Acceleration is explosive, doing the 0-60 drill in 4.5 seconds. Handling and braking are excellent — especially in sport mode. We loved how with a button push, the silent and smooth ride is firmed up and the DBX shifts between being sports-car quick and luxury-limo comfortable to quicker and heavier steering with more throttle response.

Bottom Line: Aston Martin has gotten its first SUV completely right — with beautiful styling, effortless acceleration, astonishing handling and a high-quality luxurious interior. The DBX earns a place among the most impressive exotic SUVs on the market.