It wasn’t that long ago when the notion of exotic nameplate carmakers getting involved with SUVs was widely dismissed, even by the manufacturers themselves. But the current mantra of ‘ignore the SUV market at your peril’ has brought us utility vehicles from previously undreamed of sources.

The latest premium sports car builder to join the fray is Aston Martin with its 2020 DBX, a model that the 106-year-old UK maker describes as “an SUV with the soul of a sports car.” One look at the DBX confirms that the goal has been met, certainly from a design standpoint.

Aston Martin picked up design cues from its sports cars perhaps more successfully than rival megalux SUV makers. This is especially evident not just with the nose and grille but also at the rear of the vehicle. The profile is also about as sleek as could be achieved in an SUV design. It adds up to a very attractive rig with not a single discordant panel. While looks are important to Aston Martin and its customers, it’s critical that the vehicle is backed up with an impressive technical spec sheet and there are no disappointments there. The power unit is the same 4.0-litre, twin-turbo, V-8 you’ll find under the bonnets of the DB11 and Vantage. It develops 550-horsepower and has been adapted to meet the specific needs of a performance SUV. Power is conveyed to the road with a 9-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

Interestingly, this is the first vehicle ever built by Aston Martin with five seats and a generously sized interior was a key design priority. The split folding rear seats mean that a variety of cargos can be carried in addition to the occupants. The load area offers an impressive 632-litres of space, so the DBX is highly practical and not just a good-looking performance SUV. To emphasise its utility, the DBX will tow more than 2,500kg. The interior will thrill Aston fans and just about everyone else with its emphasis on opulent materials as well as exceptional roominess. Bridge of Weir leather is there in profusion and if the customer desires, features of the centre console can be machined from a solid piece of walnut or other exotic wood. Expectedly, the DBX comes with an almost bewildering array of infotainment and connectivity gear plus a suite of electronic stability features.

For Aston Martin, this is a determined effort to place the historic carmaker in the thick of the increasingly competitive ultra-luxury SUV market. Hybrid and all-electric variants are being hinted at for the future. A new factory has been built in St. Athan, Wales, to handle DBX production and this confirms Aston’s long-term commitment to the SUV segment that just seems to get hotter and hotter.

ENGINE: 4.0-litre twin turbo V-8 550-horsepower.

TRANSMISSION: 9-speed automatic/all-wheel drive.

ACCELERATION: Zero to 100 km/h in 4.5-seconds.

TOP SPEED: 290 km/h.

I LIKED: Outstanding Aston Martin styling that’s attractive from every angle. Performance more in the sports supercar class than the SUV field. All the interior luxury and comfort buyers expect from Aston Martin.

I DIDN’T LIKE: Some potential buyers will be wondering why Aston Martin isn’t using its V-12 engine for this model.

MARKET ALTERNATIVES: Lamborghini Urus, Bentley Bentayga, top end Porsche Cayennes, Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG.

WHO DRIVES ONE? Aston Martin owners will be the first in line for this one, also Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus SUV drivers looking to take a step into the megalux performance segment.

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY: €193.500 (Germany).