Everything is changing in motoring. It’s unstoppable. Full ranges of even the most specialist manufacturers will be electric by 2030, and styles are shifting to meet the future.
The low, long bonneted petrol-powered sports car is unsuitable for big batteries and small motors so it’s a shape that is unlikely to survive the transition, even for companies that have made the very finest and most exciting cars. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, even Caterham are redesigning. Aston Martin, having made the most desirable sports cars since the 1940s, is the same.
The first signs of the big change have already appeared with a petrol car. The Aston Martin DBX, available since 2020, has a fundamentally traditional internal combustion engine but apart from that is completely different to any Aston before it. Only two previous production models in the company’s history have even featured back doors, and they – the Lagonda and the Rapide –were both low slung, sleek saloons rather than high riding, rugged SUVs like the DBX.
Cruising through Snowdonia in the Aston Martin DBX707
Recently, Spear’s was invited to try the new DBX707, with increased power and tighter handling, on the twisting roads of Snowdonia. The route snaked close to the beautiful grounds of Palé Hall, a hotel that was once the country estate of a victorian engineering and railway magnate who sought refuge away from the smoke and noise of his work in the nearby Dee Valley.
There is no such thing as a sluggish Aston Martin and the DBX707 is tight, responsive and loud when you put your foot down, and quiet and smooth when you don’t. The ride quality lacks any of the harshness you might find in less refined sports cars while remaining stiff and agile in corners. The cabin is immaculate, every stitch of the contrast piping is in place, the controls are reassuringly sturdy without feeling heavy. You are in no doubt you are in an Aston Martin.
Then I looked behind me and, instead of a tiny back window or the unusable back seats of a GT car, I saw that the nine-year-old I had brought along for measuring purposes had acres of room. Even full size people would be able to relax over long journeys. The speed of the car made him hoot with joy for some time until the undulating nature of north Wales’s mountain roads got the better of him and he was quiet, but still grinning.
Being the performance model of an already fast car, the DBX707’s power to accelerate is immense, and the great rumble of engine noise that comes along with it adds to the drama, but it is not as fast as even quite everyday electric cars. The standard Tesla S would just edge it to 100kph. To quibble over 0.1 seconds, though, is beside the point. Aston Martin, like everyone else, is evolving and this is a wonderful car.