Each time a new James Bond movie is released, a new conversation with the character’s creator Ian Fleming—who died 56 years ago in his native England—would be fascinating. Is secret agent 007’s portrayal still recognizable from the first book, published nearly 70 years ago? How should changes in the world be reflected in the character? And what would the author say about the film’s automotive coolness, particularly the Aston Martin driving scenes?
Scotsman Sean Connery played the debonair operative in the first five Bond films (and seven overall). He began driving an Aston Martin DB5 in the third film, 1964’s Goldfinger. Connery is now 89, and long since retired. He presumably has priorities other than shaken (not stirred) martinis, fast cars, perfectly tailored tuxedos and ever-present beautiful women. But he’s James Bond, so who knows?
While the portrayer has changed multiple times, much of the character remains intact—and, perhaps out of respect for the author and actor, the new Aston Martin sport utility vehicle will not have a role in No Time to Die. The pending 25th Bond film will feature four Aston Martins, but not the DBX, the manufacturer’s luxury family hauler newbie.
Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce have all shattered their traditions to ride the SUV sales wave. And now, so has Aston Martin, while again attempting to emerge from financial woes. Similar to Porsche introducing the four-door Panamera a decade ago to resounding disdain among purists, Aston Martin has strayed from its legend.
But like its legendary sedan relatives, the DBX defines automotive devotion to detail, performance and prestige. It’s powered by a four-liter, twin-turbo V8 with 542 horsepower and matched with a nine-speed automatic transmission. An SUV as a performance machine still seems like an odd concept, but the Aston Martin joins the new norm: The DBX accelerates from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.3 seconds, with a top speed of 181 mph.
The interior design and construction are worthy of highlighting in a luxury furnishings magazine. Eleven accessory packages are offered, including a Pet Pack with a portable washer and partitioned trunk. (Pets as companions and family members? That’s great. But not in my Aston Martin.)
Off-roading in a plush-level SUV doesn’t seem wise, either … but Aston Martin encourages it. The DBX has all-wheel drive, an active center differential and a limited-slip rear differential. Two of the six drive modes are off-road specific. Plus, the adaptive air suspension lifts to 9 1/4 inches off the ground, and the SUV has a towing capacity of 5,940 pounds.
The debutante Aston Martin is spectacular. But wouldn’t it be great to ask Ian Fleming if an SUV would work in a James Bond film? Sean Connery’s comments are welcomed, too.