- Doors and Seats
5 doors, 5 seats
4.0TT, 8 cyl.
- Engine Power
Petrol (98) 13.5L/100KM
3 Yr, Unltd KMs
- Ancap Safety
2023 Aston Martin DBX707 review: Track test
For the mums and dads who want a high-performance SUV, the DBX707 is as potent as they come. With 520kW, 900Nm and an impressive driving experience, it's the big boss of the segment.
Does a 520kW/900Nm performance SUV make sense? At first glance, and with your glass half empty, not really. Why do you need all that, along with a spacious second row and 632L boot?
Once you spend time with Aston Martin’s most potent SUV, you cannot help but fall for it. The car isn’t just a combination of a big engine, a big body and a few party tricks.
Perhaps some folk only have room for one car in their life, and they want a jack-of-all-trades.
Or perhaps others already have a full-blown sports car (or supercar) in the garage, and a Kia Carnival simply doesn’t cut it as the practical sidekick.
Say what you want about them, but high-performance SUVs – or Super SUVs perhaps – are here to stay and proving to be immensely popular with buyers.
Along with the likes of Lamborghini, Bentley, Audi and Porsche, Aston Martin joined the high-performance, high-riding race in 2020 with the DBX.
Conceived to combine classic Aston Martin sports car characteristics within a family-friendly package, this top-spec DBX707 gets an even bigger twist of the performance dial.
For a big SUV with room for kids, prams and groceries, the performance potential of the DBX707 is best described as insane. A monstrous 520kW – or 707hp – gives this Aston spec-sheet bragging rights over the likes of Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche, and their own competitive SUV offerings.
And don’t forget the torque, with an equally compelling 900Nm available. That’s more than double a V8 LandCruiser, and it’s available between 2750 and 4500rpm.
Even the 12-cylinder Bentley Bentayga Speed, with six litres of capacity and twin turbochargers, can only match the Aston for torque.
As a result, the DBX707 is able to achieve 100km/h from a standstill in 3.3 seconds and can make its way to 310km/h.
|Key details||2023 Aston Martin DBX707|
|Engine||4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo petrol|
|Power||520kW @ 6000rpm|
|Torque||900Nm @ 2750–4500rpm|
|Drive type||All-wheel drive|
|Transmission||Nine-speed multi-clutch automatic|
|Power to weight ratio||231.6kW/t|
|Spare tyre type||Space-saver|
Thanks must go in part to the nine-speed wet clutch multi-plate gearbox, which is a major change from the torque-converter nine-speed in the, uh, regular DBX.
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This magnesium-cased transmission, which is a Mercedes-Benz design, is not a dual-clutch gearbox. Instead, think of it like a regular automatic transmission with one input shaft. A multi-plate clutch pack, bathed in oil to remain cool, replaces a torque converter.
Adopting this gearbox – the first time it has been used outside of an AMG vehicle – allows for a lot more torque in comparison to a torque converter Along with adding some party tricks, it allows engineers to uncork the 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 even more.
Because 405kW and 700Nm of the regular DBX isn’t enough, right?
One trick this gearbox unlocks is Race Start – Aston Talk for a launch mode. This didn’t put a smile on my face, but more a look of abject horror as I felt my soul get left behind in the boot somewhere as the Aston rocketed forward like a hammer blow.
It took a lot of effort to stay focussed as the car thrust all of its 2.2-tonne mass – equal to the weight of two adult walruses – forward with such brutal force.
I’ve experienced something similar in electric cars and a Porsche 911 before, but this Aston felt more lively, with the slight squirrelling from the rear-wheel-drive bias inherent in the DBX platform. It felt like the tyres were pushed right to the limit of their tractive ability.
All of this force, which could genuinely be a life-changing experience for some, comes from the menacing, glorious 4.0-litre V8 under the bonnet.
Upgraded ball-bearing twin turbochargers deliver 25 per cent more boost, while 50 per cent more airflow from the front-end redesign increases cooling for the intake charging and radiator.
For something that has room for prams, baby seats and groceries, it’s utterly ridiculous. Once you’ve engaged Sport+ mode, the Aston moves forward with dizzying pace and a more concerted nature – the sheer rate of progress forcing the driver to stay sharp-witted.
The torque of the engine means nine ratios feels superfluous, and even sloppy gear choices in manual mode, allowing your revs to lag down, give bristling acceleration.
The deep, angry bark of the AMG-sourced M117 engine changes into something metallic and shrill when working hard on the track, as the transmission disposes of gear after gear. It’s fast, but feels stable and highly controllable on the track.
Short gear ratios, a 6000rpm redline and staggering torque saw me bouncing off the limiter more than I would like, so I opted to conserve my grey matter for other important tasks. Like not crashing, for example.
But even with a mug (me) behind the wheel, one quickly starts to feel confident in unleashing the powertrain harder and harder between corners, and exploring more speed through the middle exits of corners.
Foot buried, line up the next corner, and brake hard. Get some rhythm going, and the DBX707 feels every bit the right dance partner for a track like this one at Eastern Creek.
The carbon-ceramic brakes on this DBX707 bite hard but not harsh. We didn’t feel any fade either, despite brakes glowing red during laps and only getting half-lap cool-downs.
Push harder and you can feel that rear-wheel-drive bias of the DBX, as those 325mm-wide rear tyres squirm under the strain of my eagerness. It’s fun and exciting, balanced but still lively.
The exotic lightweight brakes measure 420mm at the front and 390mm at the rear, are standard fitment for the DBX707, and save an impressive 33kg of unsprung mass in comparison to steel brakes. Along with improved braking performance and longevity, there’s also a big improvement to ride and handling quality.
While the DBX707 will eventually give up seconds in comparison to something smaller, lighter, lower and less spacious around a racetrack, it feels every bit a confident, capable and impressively rapid sports car.
This fact was cemented when I passengered with someone immensely more capable behind the wheel, and saw how quickly the DBX707 could really be hustled around the track.
Along with the powertrain upgrades, the chassis gets tweaked and retuned as well. There’s still three-chamber air suspension all round, there are still active swaybars, and it’s still a bespoke platform (not shared elsewhere) for the DBX.
Up to 47 per cent of drive can be sent to the front wheels, but engineers have intentionally kept the DBX707 rear-biased as much as possible, for as long as possible. And you can really feel it. Rather than being tailored for having as much grip in all situations as possible, the DBX707 is tuned to work hard more from the rear end to stay true to the ethos of the brand.
Only when the car gets particularly out of shape, or if some major steering inputs are picked up, will it start to send more meaningful drive to the front.
For those with more cojones and ability, the DBX707 will certainly be able to slide and drift around corners.
A moment of silence please for the tyres, please. Pirelli P-Zero rubber, which sacrificed itself admirably during the course of the evening, only started to squeal in protest as I understeered with too much speed through a corner, or my right foot made a subconscious mid-corner jab at the throttle.
It's safe to say, if you’re going to be exploring the dynamic ability of this DBX707 with regular impunity, then ensure you keep a good budget for fresh tyres.
Racetrack sessions don’t do much for exploring everyday ride comfort, but slapping the car across the ripple strips in GT mode – the default driving mode for the DBX – did reveal impressive composure. But for more of an indication of everyday livability, check out this review.
On the track, the DBX707 was highly impressive. Steal a look over your shoulder, look at that second row, and remember the size of the vehicle. Because when you’re looking ahead and enjoying the steering, handling and outright power, it’s incredibly easy to forget.