LOS ANGELES - Is James Bond planning to mount pavements in an SUV sometime soon? That could well be the case as his favourite car company has just launched its first sport utility. 

Enter the DBX.

So another one bites the dust, you might say, but this is probably the vehicle that will save the British sports car specialist, while also ensuring it has the future funds to create more of the type of cars it’s famous for. Basically what the Cayenne did for Porsche. Aston Martin has gone bankrupt seven times in its 106 year history, according to Reuters, and its share prices have plunged by around 75 percent in the last year on falling demand for the Vantage.

So let’s meet the saviour, shall we.

Dedicated platform, AMG power

Built in a purpose-made factory in Wales, the Aston Martin DBX is crafted around a new dedicated SUV platform and its body is made from bonded aluminium to minimise weight, although the finished product is still a little portly at 2245kg.

As with the latest Vantage and DB11, the DBX is motivated by an AMG-sourced 4-litre twin-turbo petrol motor, the revised version in this model producing a wholesome 405kW and 700Nm of twisting force. That should get you from a standstill to 100km/h in 4.5 seconds, according to factory quotes, and on to a top speed of 291km/h, while the active exhaust system ensures it’s a musical experience too.

It’s all put to the road through a nine-speed torque converter automatic gearbox and an all-wheel-drive system with an active central differential and rear-mounted electronic limited slip diff. Adaptive triple volume air suspension with adaptive dampers and a 48v electric anti-roll control system ensure that this vehicle has the necessary adaptability to offer both a plush ride and agile handling, depending on the mode selected. Thanks to the aforementioned air suspension, the vehicle can also rise by 45mm or lower by 50mm when called upon.

The practical stuff

Not only does the DBX seat five in comfort, but its interior design takes practically every size of human into account, from the world’s 99th percentile male right through to the 5th percentile female. 

Aston Martin claims class-leading headroom and legroom here, and there’s a useful 632 litres of boot space. Owners can opt for a range of accessory packages, including one for pets - which even includes a portable dog washer - and a snow pack with boot warmers.

It may be kitted out for a more rugged lifestyle, but the DBX is also a grand ball inside, with its handcrafted interior featuring a modern range of exquisite wood and metal veneers as well as Bridge of Weir leather upholstery and Alcantara headlining. A 64-colour ambient lighting system adds a contemporary touch.

What the boss says

Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer enthused: “DBX is a car that will give many people their first experience of Aston Martin ownership. As such it needed to be true to the core values established in our sports cars, while also providing the lifestyle versatility expected of a luxury SUV. 

“To have produced such a beautiful, hand built, yet technologically advanced car is a proud moment for Aston Martin.”

Dr Palmer will also personally endorse and inspect the first 500 models, which will be fitted with an exclusive ‘1913 Package’ that includes a bespoke fender badge, sill plaques and an inspection plaque. Clients will also receive a build-book signed by Palmer and Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman as well as an invitation to a regionally hosted Waldorf Astoria celebration cocktail party.

How much is it then? South African availability and pricing has yet to be confirmed, but the SUV is set to go on sale in the UK with a price tag of £158 000, which is a shade over R3-million at today’s exchange rate.

IOL Motoring