Aston Martin DBX 707 tested on track

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Sports car makers are branching out

Aston Martin is not the first high-end brand to experiment with a fast, high-riding wagon.

The DBX joins a broad selection of big-dollar SUVs including the Ferrari Purosangue, Lamborghini Urus, BMW XM, Porsche Cayenne Turbo, Maserati Levante, Bentley Bentayga and Range Rover Sport SVR.

Aston Martin tries harder than most to make its machine feel like a two-door coupe. It doesn’t have four-wheel-steering, which means it feels more natural to drive – if less hyper-agile – than some rivals, though clever tools such as active roll bars and dynamic air suspension help resist the pitch and roll of a big car at big speed.

Aston Martin's DBX 707 is for fast families

The DBX 707, an upgraded version of the British brand’s luxury SUV, feels like a rear-drive car when pushed.

Engineers resisted the temptation to shunt drive to the front axle when the rears lose grip, preferring to make small traction control adjustments similar to what you might find in a low-slung sports car.

It works surprisingly well on track

We tested the DBX under lights at Sydney Motorsport Park, where the carbon brakes glowed like hot pokers trying to reverse the effect of a mighty twin-turbocharged V8.

The DBX 707 looked and felt spectacular thundering past grandstands on the interesting side of 200km/h.

Faint squealing from fat Pirellis was matched by a similar sound from the driver’s seat as we dug deeper to try and understand why someone might spend half a million bucks on the world’s most powerful luxury SUV.

It brings lessons learned from F1

We’re not going to pretend this five-seat four-wheel-drive has anything in common with Fernando Alonso’s single seater.

But the Aston Martin DBX serves as the medical car on Grand Prix weekends, chasing the pack on the opening lap so first responders can be on the scene immediately if a crash occurs.

This high-performance “707” version is the result of a tough – and public – research and development program that delivers more power, improved cooling, better brakes and superior handling to Aston’s standard SUV.

F1 medical car driver and former V8 Supercar racer Karl Reindler played a role in the car’s development, pushing for the DBX to become faster and more consistent on track.

And benefits from the best of Benz

Former Mercedes-AMG chief Tobias Moers was in charge at Aston Martin when the faster version of the DBX was in gestation. Though no longer a part of Aston, he helped secure some of the best Benz best bits for the 707, including a more powerful 520kW and 900Nm version of AMG’s 4.0-litre V8, as well as its nine-speed multi-clutch automatic transmission.

Moers was a proper petrolhead, and that character shines through in the DBX.

That said, there are elements that need work, such as a dated-looking infotainment system that lacks touchscreen functionality.

Aston Martin nailed its brief

This is a great car. Striking to behold, lovingly assembled and a rare sight on the road, the DBX deserves to wear the Aston Martin badge.

It has speed to rival supercars (a 3.3-second dash to 100km/h and 315km/h top speed) and is surprisingly fun to hustle in the bends.

The wagon also has a huge boot (637 litres, thanks) and a spacious back seat that make it a worthwhile rival to four-door sports sedans.

The catch is that it’s not at all cheap at about $500,000 drive-away, before you delve into the optional extras list that can add a further six-figure sum to the car.

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