Aston Martin’s DBX is the first Sport Utility Vehicle built by the historic English brand and has taken the crown as, the most powerful SUV in the world (at least until the unveiling of the Ferrari Purosangue right after this test was done). Whereas the standard DBX develops 542 hp, the 4.0l V8 Twin-turbo built by AMG produces 707 horsepower in this version, having received numerous internal upgrades over the Mercedes variants . DBX is very fast, there is no doubt about that. But the question of “how is it fast”, is what interests us. To find out, we decided to go to the Engadine, on the Bernina Pass near St. Moritz, to find the answer.
Federico arrives just outside Cinisello Balsamo, on the outskirts of Milan. The 707 appears immediately mean! It sacrifices some of the elegance of the “regular” DBX, with several new aero bits. A larger front grille, a carbon-fiber front splitter, revised skirts along the rocker panels, an extended rear diffuser, and a longer rear spoiler.,
I immediately take the driver’s seat. The handles are retractable, I hate them, but they give a very clean design at the side of the car. The multi-adjustable heated and ventilated seats are both comfortable and sporty at the same time with an interior characterized by a mix of high quality leather and carbon fibre. A slight press of the gas and we are already on the ring road towards Lecco. The soundproofing of the passenger compartment is excellent, and you hear the noise of the exhaust only if you press the dedicated button, and when you accelerate, it makes itself heard. A lot.
Despite the weight of more than 2200 kg, with new turbochargers, redesigned induction and exhaust systems, and a reprogrammed ECU, the engine develops 900 nm of torque and pushes hard from 2.500 to 4.500 rpm. Getting up to the red line at 7000 is almost useless, the progression flattens out significantly after 5.500, but you do it anyway, just to enjoy the exhaust sound of the V8 from Affalterbach.
While I think about all this we have already left Lake Como behind, and we are about to enter Switzerland. Of course, the curious policeman at customs stopped us asking for documents. The border police are nice, some usual jokes about the price and the gold calipers of our English SUV and we are back on our route. The roads here are magnificent, fast wide curves and steep climbs with many hairpin bends. Traffic is sustained, but we have some chance to test the car’s road behavior.
In a word: fun! The chassis is a revelation: the suspension goes from being perfect for light off-road to adequate for the track. Body control is seriously impressive thanks to a 48V active anti-roll-bar system. Just change the driving mode and the DBX becomes sharp like a knife. In its most ferocious mode Sport+, everything is suddenly more intense, the steering, the suspension, the brakes, the sound, the throttle response and the gear shifts, with the new nine-speed automatic transmission. The load transfers are really imperceptible and the weight of more than two tons seems to disappear. You can really have fun, regardless of power.
You dance from one hairpin bend to another with surprising agility, and, if you switch off the stability controls, it is not difficult to get out sideways by unloading the power on the rear wheels.
We have already left the center of Sankt Moritz when we find a dirt road that descends towards a dam and, even here, DBX asserts itself. Precision and predictability is how I would sum it up. Discordant note perhaps, for a price of about 220,000 euros, the infotainment system feels a few generations old, that in a Suv, even if sporty, it is a bit out of tune. Positive note instead the buzzer of the arrows: deaf, syncopated, pleasant as few.
We stop for a hot coffee at the top of the Bernina pass- it is almost sunset and a red train passes slowly next to us. At just 2 degrees, the cold is bitter and DBX has proved to be an excellent travel companion which can be smooth while cruising on the motorway and completely at ease in the curves of the Alpine passes. But I don’t know if I would let my dog go into the trunk. Was there a need for a 707-horsepower SUV? Probably not. Did we have fun? Yes a lot. Do you prefer it to a Stelvio Quadrifoglio? Not really. Do you like St. Moritz? We prefer Cortina.