Car purists used to complain when sports car manufacturers made SUVs but that ship my friends has well and truly sailed.
Now Aston Martin is the latest to throw it's hat in the ring with this, the DBX.
Now the car isn't completely finished yet, but Aston Martin have flown me out here to the wonderful country of Oman to drive the prototype and get a sample of what the car will be like.
This may be a prototype but we have already had a look at the finished design of the car.
Henry got to spend some time with it and you can see its looks in and camouflage glory in our film on it elsewhere on YouTube.
The DBX certainly follows suit with other manufacturers, retaining some of the hallmarks of design language, while stretching and bulging the bodywork to accommodate a more practical interior and rugged body height.
The unmistakable front end couldn't be anything other than an Aston.
And even though the rear looks a little fussy, shall we say.
You can see a lot of the current lineup of sports cars in there.
The interior especially when spectin the tan color, we previously saw it in really shows of how much the full cabin experience means to Aston Martin for the DB x, bringing a higher level of luxury front and rear than we've ever seen before and an [UNKNOWN] Leg room, boot space as well as storage space in the cabin are in abundance.
The leather clad dash and doors look exquisite and the driving position more elevated still feels sports car like but all of that is absolutely for nothing if it doesn't drive well and although it'll be quite a few months before we get to drive the full production version of the car.
This drive out in some of our minds, rougher roads Should start to give me a bit of a clue.
Now paradoxically, driving this feels both weird and familiar.
It's weird because I'm hustling an Aston Martin down a gravel road and there's nothing about that sentence that makes any Every sense.
But it's familiar, and that is the same feeling that I had when I drove Pantego or Comorin or Auris, frankly it's a more common occurence now than ever before.
It's something that happens so frequently in fact that I shouldn't be surprised that it exists at all.
Now this is a prototype so it is not the final car, the steering, the suspension, everything is still being dialed in.
But immediately this does suggest that you are going to get an Aston Martin sports car field from an SUV.
Now you have got the same van.
[UNKNOWN] Power trade but you're carrying several hundred kilos extra in weight.
2,248 kilograms of weight in fact.
But that turbo charged V8 with 542 brake horsepower and 516 pounds feet of torque is more than up the task, taking the DB x from zero to 60 in 4.3 seconds and all the way up to 181 miles an hour.
Power flows through Aston Martin's first ever nine speed transmission.
That combination allows for effortless motorway cruising butts when you want it, the ability to put your foot down and enjoy that power.
That power by default isn't completely to the rear wheels which keeps that sense of a front engine rear wheel drive sports car right up to the moments the car needs more power sent to the front, which can go up to 5050 front to rear torque distribution.
Although you do feel that weight, the places you're going to use this car, well, they don't really compare, I'm not going to take advantage out on a gravel road like this.
So really, it's more fair to compare it to other cars in the high performance SUV sector.
So imagine the Ben tager and the arrest for example, price wise the DB x is going to say right along those lines.
But, it's not going to be as soft and plush as the Bantega nor as crazy and outlandish as the Auris, it's going to sit somewhere in between.
Going to get a very sports car or imitative car, with enough off-road-ing And comfort and practicality elements to kind of satisfy both sides of the equation, as Martin have built this on their own custom a platform new to this car, and you don't build a new platform just for one card, so real estate Statement of intent from Aston Martin.
It really shows that they're committing to this 100% it's not just a one off car to get the medical hold.
It might be a now a quick smashing grab to get some extra cash in the bank to keep the sports car division going.
No, they've committed to this fully and I would be surprised if we didn't start to see more cars built on this platform in the very near Near future.
Out on normal roads, the DBX cruises just fine, thanks partly to that gear box.
NVH wasn't in its final spec in this prototype, but expect it to ride fairly quietly by the time it hits roads for real.
The seating position doesn't feel overly high, and because it's trimmed wonderful, like an Aston should, you should, for a while, forget you're actually driving a SUV.
The Suspension features double wishbones at the front and multi link at the rear with three chamber air suspension setup, as well as active dampers and a 48 volt anti roll system.
Basically that means that depending on how the car is set up, it could handle as rock firm as a track car.
Or like a boat.
In the final production version the cars available settings will undoubtably be incredibly well selected from a range from quite compliant to somewhat firm.
In this prototype the modes available gave a certain degree of body room which was extremely welcome to help feel the weight moving around at speed The driving modes on offer are slightly different to those we're used to in Astons.
Instead of dealing in the chassis and drive train individually, you're now presented with more fixed modes to move through.
From Terrain Plus on one side or Sports Plus on the other That didn't feel like too much restriction as even on these prototypes these modes seem well suited to the different driving trains out on normal roads.
The Sport and Sport Plus modes did exactly what you'd expect, lowering, tightening and generally giving a more engaging drive.
throwing it around them good quality tarmac was an absolute delight.
The terrain and terrain plus modes are for the most challenging of off road environments.
Lifting the car to its tallest height and softening the suspension accordingly.
However, our off-road experience was limited to rocky gravel.
Where the standard drive mode was more than capable.
So what's my opinion on the DVX?
Well, considering it was still an early'ish prototype and it was simultaneously being used to develop the electronics and the final configuration of the DVX, it was frankly wasn't I expected.
This wasn't my first rodeo as they say and having spent many years now driving different manufactures first attempt SUVs.
It wasn't hard to predict what Aston Martin had to do.
It had to take all of the practicality features of an SUV which it absolutely does while retaining the design touches that are unique to the mark which it also does while delivering a driving experience that feels as much like a sport's car as possible while giving it the flexibility to take it where no sport's car should ever go.
The DBX is all of that.
It's nothing more either, it's not reinventing SUV.
Rather Aston Martin has carefully selected a slot fort in the marketplace and designed the car to fit it perfectly.
Questions like should they have made an SUV, are obsolete these days it has become laughable.
But it's great to see the Aston Martin has taken it really seriously and thrown absolutely everything they have at the DBS to make it the absolute best it can be.
And frankly, that's what it's going to take, because if this car isn't a hit, there'll be some serious question marks over Aston Martin's future.
For us mere mortals the DB cars went straight from 9 to 11.
And unless you were James Bond, you did not get to drive a DB 10.
But maybe with the DB X, this is our chance to drive that missing car.
In fact, maybe there'll be a point at which we consider the SUVs to be such a natural part of the Aston Martin lineup that we will have forgotten a time when they didn't make them.
The DBX letters when Aston Martin started using them stood for David Brown, a man who secured Aston Martin safety for years and years to come.
Now this car the DBX has got that same job.
Now will this SUV save Aston Martin and make it successful for years and years to come?
Well if today's driving is anything to go by.
Just might well be.
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