Johannesburg - Sometimes an opportunity comes your way that you just can’t say no to. Even if it’s only for an hour. And that’s exactly what happened when I sidled up next to the new Aston Martin DBX 707 recently.
The brand has always been associated with bespoke driving and when you’ve sat in one and driven it you understand the term a lot better. Aston Martin says the DBX 707 is an SUV like no other and I don’t think they’re far off the mark.
It combines performance, dynamics, style and luxury in a package that’s hard to beat and once you’ve experienced it, all you want is more.
It’s all about performance so under the bonnet rests a 4.0 litre twin turbocharged V8 supplied by Mercedes AMG. Aston’s engineers tweaked the engine by putting in larger ball bearing turbos and a bespoke engine calibration allowing it to push out a bellowing 520kW and 900Nm.
And it shows in the figures with a simple launch control that requires a hard left foot brake and when it reaches 4 000 rpm let go followed by a head-wrenching pull-away that gets to 100km/h in 3.3 seconds and 160km/h in 7.4 seconds. Bearing in mind that the DBX707 weighs in at just over 2.2 tons, that’s damn impressive, not just for an SUV but any car.
The gear changes are hyper quick thanks to a new nine-speed ‘wet clutch’ automatic transmission, but you can also use the paddles should you so desire.
Torque distribution is fully automatic with 100 percent of the torque able to be sent to the rear wheels with the e-diff calibrated to ensure the best possible drive depending on the situation.
Because of the high performance machine under the bonnet the 707 needed a larger front grille, new air intakes, brake cooling ducts and a new front splitter profile all combining to make an attractive and menacing look.
Standard too are Carbon Ceramic brakes with six-piston callipers that results in a 40.5kg reduction of weight over the DBX V8 which combined with three chamber air suspension, new damper valving and recalibration of dynamic spring volume and dedicated chassis makes the DBX707 an exceptionally well-balanced and exciting drive.
Sliding behind the wheel into uber-comfortable sport seats the cabin layout and quality is a sight to behold. This is what they mean when people say a premium interior.
Because of its dedicated chassis the engineers didn’t have to compromise on space. We had two photographers with us in the back and they had ample space with the driving instructor and myself set up comfortably in front.
Three driving modes determine the various set-ups with GT perfect for cruising around while doing your daily chores, Sport if you want to have a bit of fun and Sport+ for going bonkers. But because a large part of the experience is visceral there is a button that will open the exhaust valves if you’re idling around gently.
I say bonkers, but there’s nothing that makes you nervous when you push the envelope.
While the numbers are impressive, there’s no brute force and at no time does it feel like things will spiral out of control.
Handling is among of the best I have encountered. It sits like the proverbial stink and if it wasn’t for the comfort and size, the 707 feels like a go-cart. There’s virtually no body roll to speak of and at no stage do you feel like lifting the accelerator as it whizzes around bends with the 22-inch rubber keeping things tidy.
The Aston Martin DBX707 is not just a fantastic SUV, it’s a magnificent supercar reserved for those that appreciate it for what it is and have almost R5-million to spare.