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2022 Aston Martin DBX707 sings a quiet riot – Car Planet
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    2022 Aston Martin DBX707 sings a quiet riot

    Even launch control is effortless. Put the 2022 Aston Martin DBX707 into Sport+, jam the brake, jam the gas, hold until the cluster flashes red, then explode. 

    Aston’s most powerful production version of the Mercedes-AMG twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 is outstanding. In the dawn of electrification, it’s also endangered, which makes this swan song one bittersweet symphony. 

    With most of the 664 lb-ft of torque shifting to the rear axle and the DBX707’s wide haunches, the SUV pulls passengers back with enough force to believe, if only for a moment, they might be left behind. The manic howl of the V-8 centers it, and even though some of the engine note is piped in through the speakers, it roars with all the precision promised by peak industrial revolution. The threatened beast belies its 5,109-lb curb weight to launch from 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds, and I’ve just begun to flirt with third gear. 

    The performance variant of Aston’s bestselling DBX SUV carries a lot of superlatives yet to be proven, but the exquisite engine’s 707 metric horsepower translates to 697 hp, making it more powerful than its competitive ultra-luxury set, including the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, and Aston’s benchmark, the 631-hp Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT that also has a 60 mph mark of 3.1 seconds. Take it to the ’Ring. 

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    The DBX707 is even more powerful than the brand’s V12 Vantage, which is powered by a twin-turbocharged V-12 that makes a measly 690 hp. 

    Along with that coupe, the DBX707 squarely puts Aston where it wants to be at the pinnacle of performance. For more than a century, the bespoke British brand was known as much for losing money as for its gorgeous touring cars popularized by the James Bond franchise. 

    “This is where we’re going to put the brand from now,” CEO Tobias Moers explained at the press drive I attended last week in Italy. “The 707 and V12 Vantage are a different interpretation of the brand.”

    Moers knows a thing or many about performance. Before he began righting the ship at the helm of Aston Martin in 2020, he was CEO of Mercedes-AMG and instrumental in the partnership between Aston and the AMG V-8. The former mechanical engineer carries himself like a gearhead enthusiast, especially when giving hot laps in the DBX707 in Aston’s proving grounds in England in March. 

    “It’s good to see the boss enjoying his new toy,” Angus MacKenzie wrote in MotorTrend

    His enthusiasm was as evident weeks later at the first drive program in Sardinia, a mountainous island rising out of Italy’s part of the Mediterranean Sea. The DBX707 sets the course as the new flagship.

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    It comes at a critical time in an industry shifting to electrification, both to meet emissions regulations and to squeeze more performance out of four wheels. That swan song is intoxicating, burbling from quad stainless steel exhaust pipes nestled in a fat rear diffuser that sticks out like envy from the standard DBX and its 542-hp twin-turbo V-8. The extra output comes in part from revised fuel and valve mapping, and from an updated exhaust system flowing from ball-bearing turbochargers.

    The chunky twin rear diffuser takes inspiration from Aston’s Valhalla hypercar. Other changes to the low-slung body of the five-seat SUV include a larger and wider front grille, the six horizontal bars of which are two-tiered to visually separate it from the standard DBX. The front sports a revised splitter for added downforce, while grille and additional air intakes on the side and lower grille help cool the beast under the hood. Out back, a split roof spoiler creates downforce over the raked rear window. A single rear light bar rises like a mustache across the wide and muscular rear end. 

    On the sides, fender vents front and rear help cool off the 6-piston calipers and massive carbon-ceramic brakes, at 16.5 inches in diameter up front and 15.4 inches in back. My test car had the carbon-fiber package, as well as the available 23-inch wheels (22s are standard) wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tires. Yes, they’re equally massive and the twin five-spoke wheels push the stars so far to the edge of night on such low profile tires that the body seems to float on them. Only in Terrain mode, which raises the three-chamber air suspension from a standard ground clearance of 7.9 inches to 8.7 inches, does a wheel well gap appear.

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    Unlike the standard DBX, there’s no Terrain+ mode and drivers should check their heads before off-roading with this stunning performance machine, but $240,000, including a $3,086 destination fee, lets you do what you want. We used it on a dirt road, through a couple inches of standing water, and up a farm road, and the milling sheep didn’t question it.

    In Sport mode, it lowers 0.8 inch to about 7.1 inches, and then there’s an off-load setting that lowers it even more to about 6.9 inches. I kept it mostly in Sport and Sport+ modes, because that’s what the roads of Sardinia demanded.

    Imagine the Angeles Crest highway rising outside of L.A., but snaking through narrow Italian villages where the speed drops from about 90 mph down to 25 mph. With the azure sea glinting in the distance, the road clings like goats to the ridgetop as dropoffs disappear into the valley below. Washouts are common, and new concrete and guardrails lighten long stretches of serpentining tarmac. On the other side of the peak, the Sardinians constructed partial tunnels to hold the mountain overhead, with picturesque columns supporting the descending side. The views are as stunning as the car, and dangerously distracting.

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    Stiffer suspension mounts for the double wishbone suspension up front and multilink rear suspension help the DBX absorb the contours of the uneven road, and the upgraded damper valving of the 707 keeps the body tight and the lean to a minimum. The weight is evenly balanced at 52/48 front/rear, and the AWD system sends 100% of the torque to the rear axle at launch. An electronic locking rear differential shifts the grip naturally on the winding roads, so you can maintain both speed and lateral balance even as it ping pongs between curves. All that weight pushes forward when braking, and Aston’s electronic active roll control sends 50% of the torque to the front axle to better manage it. From Sport to Sport+ mode, the e-ARC alters the air spring rates for a tenser, more spirited ride. But the steering feel doesn’t change between those modes, and the steering doesn’t seem to firm up at higher speeds, yet it pinpoints the driver’s inputs. 

    After one bend, I almost hit a goat. Fortunately, the brakes do their job and little buddy descends down the hill side unphased. Despite the size of the brakes, they don’t have the initial hard bite of some other performance cars. It feels more linear, less progressive, which could be good or bad, depending on the roadway and the type of driving. On a track, you might want more bite. On the road, less bite means passengers don’t jerk forward.

    Another big difference from the DBX is that Aston swaps the 9-speed automatic transmission’s torque converter for a wet multi-plate clutch. Not only does it help manage all the extra torque, it also delivers shifts in a snap that Aston says are 40% quicker. A drive mode button in the center console houses a manual mode that will keep the transmission in manual until the driver decides otherwise. Or, there are paddle shifters with a trick or two up their column-mounted sleeves. On steep uphill passes, when I need to downshift from 8th to 4th or lower, I hold the downshift paddle for an extra beat and it downshifts to the lowest allowable gear for the throttle input. In auto mode, it shifts quicker and more efficiently than me, but it’s nice to have input no matter how far off I may be, like in a marital spat.  

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    The most surprising thing about the DBX707 isn’t its performance chops, as blistering as they are. It’s how quiet and composed it rides around town and on the highways. Even on 23s. Acoustic laminated glass and tons of sound deadener keep the road from the cabin, and the engine answers only when called upon. 

    This fulfills the ultra-luxury part of its mission, as do soft-close doors and sumptuous Bridge of Weir leather made from Scottish highland bulls unfettered by barbed wire and bugs. There’s some missed opportunities with the gauges: a hp and torque meter can be found in the center screen, but Aston provides no display of active axle load or a g-force meter. A touchscreen is coming for the mid-cycle refresh, and maybe then it will get more performance gauges. 

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    2022 Aston Martin DBX707

    The DBX707 upholds the promise of the SUV form, with easy ingress and egress, and comfort for my 6-foot-5 drive partner in both the front and rear seats. It has all the roominess and flexibility you want out of an SUV, including power folding rear seats from the second-row seat belt harness or from the cargo area.

    The ultra-lux performance SUV is a very narrow niche, but it’s one Aston Martin exploits with the DBX707. Moers expects it to account for 60-65% of all DBX sales, which already account for more than half of all Aston sales. Since the launch of the DBX, Aston’s losses have ebbed, and the $180,000 DBX will continue to flow. The financial climb to the $240,000 707 is a small one for customers who expect the best. 

    It’s a riot.   

    Aston Martin paid for airfare and lodging for Motor Authority to bring you this firsthand report.

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