Automobiles

2023 Aston Martin DBX707 First Drive Review: Properly Over the Top

Aston's 697-horsepower SUV is a true celebration of internal combustion.

Normally a quick blast from corner to corner down a well-loved road is enough to show you what a car can really do. Not so in the Aston Martin DBX707, a car with so much power you keep running out of space. It's quite a ways up from the standard SUV Aston launched just a couple of years prior -- not only in power, but also in feel and style.

At the DBX707's launch in Sardinia, Aston's new man at the top, former AMG boss Tobias Moers, didn't mince words when he talked about his intent for Aston Martin going forward: It'll be more performance-biased, slicker and will almost certainly bother a manufacturer that rhymes with "Smorsche" in a far more meaningful fashion. But the product needs to be up to snuff to do that, and Moers isn't the kind of chap to let a pup leave the factory gates.

Accelerating to 62 mph takes 3.3 seconds.

Aston Martin

The DBX707 looks, in every way, bigger than the standard DBX. Moers' new direction means more purposeful looks across the board, but because the DBX707 packs a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 kicking out 697 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque, it also needs a massive mouth to keep its engine cool. 62 mph arrives in 3.3 seconds, which is impressive for a nearly 5,000-pound SUV, and its top speed of 193 mph makes it the fastest SUV in the world. The car's aero has been set up to keep things neutral at silly speeds, and an optional set of carbon ceramic brakes make sure you can lose some of that massive speed when you need to.

As well as a new look outside, the Aston gets new sports seats to keep everyone in place when the driver decides to give the DBX707 a shoeing, as well as a redesigned center console. There aren't quite as many overwhelming buttons in there anymore; there's a new drive mode selector wheel, a big button to engage manual mode and lots of carbon fiber.

To sandwich all those horses into the DBX707, Aston popped a set of new turbos in there, a new induction system and a new engine tune. Find yourself a quiet stretch of road and press the gas. It takes a moment for the snails to spool before boom -- you've slung yourself through three gears and are approaching (or passing) the speed limit. A Tesla Model X may be quicker on paper, but the turbo torque paired with a gravelly V8 noise and a snappy gear change feels deliciously old world here. Cars like the DBX707 will soon be a thing of the past, and Aston Martin seems to be enjoying sending its internal-combustion efforts off with a fanfare.

This interior is a touchscreen away from greatness.

Aston Martin

In GT mode, the DBX707's day to day setting, the car is sufficiently well behaved. The tailpipes are quiet after barking to life, the new nine-speed automatic transmission slips quietly from gear to gear and the cabin is hushed. Light steering, soft ride -- everything's pretty serene. The DBX is still a cracking family car. And still, the moment you press on it, noise happens. Loud, grumbly V8 silliness.

Chuck it into Sport or Sport Plus and the whole "707" thing starts to make a ton of sense. On top of more performance and angrier looks, Aston gives the DBX707 a stiffer suspension up front, a softer suspension out back, new dampers, strengthened and recalibrated differentials, a shorter carbon driveshaft and retuned steering. The result is a DBX that handles wonderfully. Its ride isn't harsh, no matter how angry you ask the springs to be. You're not punished for wanting a fast car in this instance. The steering offers plenty of feedback, which makes flicking the DBX from corner to corner rather entertaining. The manual mode on the new transmission is a blast; pull the paddle and it'll cling to gears like a proper sports car, giving you more control than you may expect from a "family" SUV. The shift paddles are satisfying to use, as well.

While you're there, have a go at launch control. It's deliberately easy to activate: Activate Sport or Sport Plus mode, stand on the brake, stand on the gas, wait for the dash to tell you to lift off the brake and gun it. It's a brilliant showcase of just how blisteringly fast but remarkably unfussy the DBX707 can be.

This definitely puts the "sport" in sport utility vehicle.

Aston Martin

The 2023 Aston Martin DBX707 is a capable, entertaining, comfortable car. A spacious one, too. There's ample room for people in the back, and enough luggage space for a family to go away for a week and not want for anything. The only real irritance in the cabin is the lack of a touchscreen. While it does all the phone mirroring you could possibly want it to, with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you can't interact with any of it by touch. For a car that starts at $239,086 (including $3,086 for delivery), that's a dropped ball, especially as the selection wheel for navigating menus isn't the easiest to get your head around.

It's clear that Aston Martin's new direction is promising. The same familiar look, staggering performance to worry the Germans, yet the cars are not without usability. You can feel Moers' AMG influence in the car, albeit not overwhelmingly so. The DBX707 borrows from the best that Aston and Moers have to offer, making something rather wonderful. This SUV feels a little like a hark back to the days when Aston made ludicrously powerful cars for the hell of it, only this time it's got an idea of what'll actually sell. The DBX707 feels like a last hurrah, a celebration of internal combustion that doesn't spare the fireworks.

Editors' note: Travel costs related to this story were covered by the manufacturer, which is common in the auto industry. The judgments and opinions of Roadshow's staff are our own and we do not accept paid editorial content.