Much like the Porsche Cayenne, the 2022 Aston Martin DBX is the first SUV model from a historic sports car brand. And just like the early days of the Cayenne, there are likely skeptics out there who believe Aston Martin is diluting its brand by building a family-friendly SUV. CarBuzz recently spent a few days driving the new DBX, and we quickly learned that any doubts about this car being a "proper Aston" can be put to rest. On its first try, Aston Martin has built one of the finest-driving SUVs we've ever sampled. In some respects, it even outmatches the Porsche Cayenne.
Aston Martin is far from the first exotic automaker to branch out into the SUV segment. The Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, Maserati Levante, and aforementioned Porsche Cayenne all loosely compete with the DBX, each offering a slightly different flavor of uber-luxury crossover. In the US market, the DBX is only available with one engine, a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 borrowed from Mercedes-AMG producing 542 horsepower. Unfortunately, that's not the only thing Aston borrowed from Mercedes, as the infotainment is yanked straight out of an outdated S-Class. Though the interior is far from perfect, Aston Martin's first-ever attempt at building an SUV is nothing short of astonishing to drive.
The DBX has only been on sale for roughly a year, and there's a good chance it will have the Porsche Cayenne effect on the famous British manufacturer, becoming the company's best-seller. Aston's first SUV has been widely praised for its broad range of abilities, making it one of the top choices in the segment. We also appreciate Aston Martin keeping the DBX relevant by making minor upgrades on the 2022 model. There are four new interior environments to choose from, a sportier seat option, available 23-inch alloy wheels, and wireless charging.
See trim levels and configurations:
4.0L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
Justifying the DBX's hefty base MSRP is difficult on paper, but it becomes easy when you get it on the road. In its standard GT (Grand Touring) drive mode, the DBX wafts around comfortably, offering occupants a genuine luxury experience. Place it into Sport or Sport +, and the whole vehicle shakes itself alive like a dog who just heard the word "walk." Many automakers struggle to make their high-performance crossovers feel like their sports cars, but Aston seemingly nailed it on the first try. The steering, chassis balance, and handling prowess are all reminiscent of a two-door Aston Martin grand tourer like the DB11. It may be a tall-riding SUV, but from the inside, we'd be hard-pressed to tell it apart from one of the so-called "proper" Astons. We particularly enjoyed the DBX in Sport + mode, as it allowed the nine-speed automatic transmission to avoid getting trapped in higher gears. Even in GT or Sport, the DBX is still eager to blast past slower traffic with its mountainous torque.
The DBX feels quick in a straight line, but it's far from the head-smacking acceleration found in a BMW X5 M or Porsche Cayenne Turbo. It surges forward with great immediacy, but picture a gentle shove rather than a violent jolt. Where the DBX truly shines is around the bends. Aston blessed this SUV with adaptive triple chamber air springs, powered by a 48-volt mild hybrid system that can send up to 1,400 Nm of anti-roll force per axle. Put simply, the suspension uses electricity to send air to whichever corner is about to receive the most load. In practice, the DBX can enter corners at ballistic speeds without the body roll typically associated with an SUV. When it's time to exit the corner, Aston's four-wheel-drive system sends most of the power rearward, meaning the DBX is happy to hang its buttocks out. This is an SUV you can easily slide without fear of crashing, as the stability control is smart enough to reel it in right before you make a $200,000 mistake. Calling the DBX's handling anything short of magnificent would be an understatement. Yes, there are quicker SUVs available, but the DBX proves there's more to having a good time than posting superior performance figures.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
You need to toss the price out the window when considering the 2022 Aston Martin DBX SUV. If that sounds crazy, the DBX likely isn't for you. There are other fast SUVs available for much less, including (but not limited to) the Audi RS Q8, BMW X5 M and X6 M, Jaguar F-Pace SVR, Maserati Levante Trofeo, Mercedes-AMG GLE 63, and Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Within the same price range, the Bentley Bentayga delivers a more luxurious experience while the Lamborghini Urus provides stronger performance. But as we've said, the DBX makes more sense on the road than it does on paper. Though the SUVs we listed here will keep up with the DBX, we think Aston Martin offers the best balance of long-distance cruiser and competent back road weapon. Perhaps the Porsche Cayenne drives as well, but it's far more common and won't stand out as much on the road.
Just like any other Aston Martin, the DBX doesn't jump off the page with raw performance numbers. That's not what the brand has ever been about. But unlike so many other exotic automakers, Aston managed to build its first SUV without losing what makes its other grand tourers feel so special. We hopped into the DBX cynically believing it could never measure up to the Aston name, but it exceeded our expectations. The DBX earns its Aston Martin wings and a space in our hearts as the perfect driver's SUV.
The Lamborghini Urus is aimed at sportier drivers who crave more lunacy from their SUV. It has the same size engine as the Aston, but it develops 641 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque to play around with. That gets it from 0 to 60 mph in just over three seconds, torching the DBX in a straight line. It also has 17.3-inch brake rotors and an AWD system that can send 87% of the torque to the rear axle. Like the Alfa Stelvio QV, it's an SUV that was made to drive quickly. Fortunately, it's also a bit of a puppy dog. It's the least intimidating Lamborghini ever, and it feels like a cushy Audi Q7 until you start hooning around a bit. The Urus is faster and has a modern, high-quality interior with a touchscreen interface. The Urus has a higher base price but its wow factor is off the charts - it's the one we'd have.
The Aston DBX and Bentley Bentayga are remarkably similar, but different in a crucial way. The post-facelift Bentayga is more handsome than before, but it's nothing compared to the DBX. With the twin-turbo V8, the Bentayga is on-par with the DBX, though it offers a massive twin-turbo W12 that outguns anything Aston Martin currently offers. Bentley takes it up a notch on the inside. The attention to detail is staggering, and you can feel where the money was spent. It's quite evident that Bentley had more money to play around with while designing its first SUV, but we're not entirely sure that makes it better than the DBX. The DBX is more enjoyable to drive, which is why we'd pick it over the Bentayga.
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