Lesley Jones drives the fastest, most luxurious SUV in the world through Oxfordshire… and attracts attention along the way.
On a blazing hot summer’s day, driving a £190,000 Aston Martin through Oxfordshire to Cliveden in Berkshire is not a bad way to pass the time. Any passing petrolhead would agree – I’ve made those passing petrolheads the same colour as its racing green and lime paintwork. And I loved every attention-seeking second of it.
I’m a sensible driver in every sense of the word. I rarely speed, I ‘mirror signal manoeuvre’ before setting off, and when I’ll usually go for sedate paintwork and mid-range engines. Blending into the background and avoiding penalty points is my thing, usually. The thing is, I have fallen in love with the fastest, most luxurious SUV available today and that’s all out the window.
The 707 is the ramped-up, blingier version of Aston’s DBX, which was launched last year. With a 4 litre V8 engine and blistering acceleration, it is one hell of a drive, holding the road like its sporty Aston stablemates rather than a hefty Chelsea tractor.
While other SUVs can feel very detached from the road, with their heightened driving position, spongy suspension, and xl seats, the DBX 707 drives like a sports car on steroids. 70 mph feels like 30, its grip and lack of roll making it an absolute pleasure to take through the country roads of Oxfordshire as I make my way from Dormy House to Cliveden.
The interior is a deluxe dream of cossetting leather sports seats and icy air-con, its tinted panoramic roof giving it an airiness that makes other models of its size seem cramped. Cars this enjoyable to drive are rarely as practical, but there’s more than enough room for the family and you can even opt to have a retractable tow bar fitted to your 707. That would have to one stylish caravan.
With 23” forged rims and bespoke ‘Q’ Racing Green paintwork with Lime accents – from carbon ceramic brake callipers to side skirts - it’s only natural I will attract some attention as I drive though the non-bling Cotswolds. Purring down a street in Woodstock, a gawping bystander points, waves and gives me a thumbs up as his wife rolls her eyes in apology.
After a quick comfort stop at Oxford Services, there are three Aston fans standing by the car when I get back, one taking a selfie with it, the other two filming a walk-round video. They seem rather agog to see a frumpy woman rather than a celeb jump in, and as I make off, I give them a bit of a treat by deploying the sound button and Sport+ mode, that V8 engine and quad exhausts making the most wonderful roar I’ve heard on the road.
The technology and engineering innovation in a car that costs more than £140,000 more than your average SUV is mind-blowing. It would take more than a day to fully explore every driving possibility, but I start by finding the perfect stretch of road to try out launch control, which take me straight to 60mph from standstill in just over 3 seconds. Now, that was a moment I won’t forget in a hurry. Select GT mode and the ride is more refined, with its supreme distribution system sending up to 100 per cent of torque to the rear axle if needed when winding through country lanes at speed. This makes the DBX707’s 9-speed wet clutch auto gearbox so responsive and the journey such a thrill that I really don’t want to get out of the car again, even when I arrive and park on the drive at Cliveden.
So, who is going to buy an Aston like this? A billionaire who still does the school run? A movie star with a horse box? Well, simply someone who loves to drive and doesn’t have to worry about on-the-road prices or piffling things like insurance hikes and the cost of fuel. Over lunch with the team from Aston Martin, I meet a new customer when a smart American approaches the table to congratulate them on “an absolutely breathtaking car”. As I’m heading back for the drive to Dormy House, I invite him to have a closer look.
Since there’s a dealership a few blocks from his office in Beverly Hills, he tells me how just as soon as he gets home, he’s going to order a DBX707. Wishing I was on commission, I mention how it’s a car that has it all – luxury, performance, off road capabilities, comfort…
“I have a Bentley convertible, a Land Rover, two Ferraris, a Porsche 911, an Audi and a pickup that do every conceivable job,” he shrugs. “This? This one would be just for me to love.” I wholeheartedly agree and make a mental note to play EuroMillions.
Once I’ve made it to the M40 and retrain every urge I have to test the claimed top speed of 193mph, there seems to be a lot of filming on phones and craning of necks when I’m overtaken, which, understandably doesn’t happen very often. I wonder if owning the Kardashian of the car world would get annoying after a while. But I put my foot down once more and decide anyone who doesn’t have a speed gun should feel free to point. I’m just too exhilarated to care.
- Aston Martin DBX 707, from £190,000
- Engine: 4.0 litre twin turbo V8
- Power: 707PS/697 bhp/ 520 kW @6,000rpm
- Torque: 900 Nm/663 lb-ft @ 2,600 – 4,500rpm
- Drivetrain: 9-speed auto, Multi-plate wet clutch, All-wheel drive, Electronic rear limited-slip differential
- 0-60 MPH: 3.1 seconds
- Top speed: 193 mph