Taking on the Arctic Lapland in the Aston Martin DBX707

Aston Martin DBX707

This hair-raising driving experience with the Aston Martin DBX707 involved unlearning and relearning how to drive

Drawing invisible circles in the air with your index finger while letting out a hum of indecision, before choosing a car from a line of Aston Martins—like a child picking out a toy—is never an onerous task. When the fleet, parked on an expanse of thick Lapland snow in northern Finland with dedicated driving tracks carved into the ice, consists of the ultra-powerful Aston Martin DBX707, it’s a case of Christmas come early.

Aston Martin DBX707
A multi-hued fleet of the Aston Martin DBX707s contrasted against thick white Lapland snow was truly a sight to behold. Photo by Aston Martin

For those late in the room, Aston Martin—in response to burgeoning demand from China, the Middle East and the US—finally joined its stablemates Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce in the SUV club in 2020. Being the marque’s first from-scratch vehicle since the Vanquish launched a decade ago, the DBX’s Mercedes-AMG 4.0-litre V8 power plant offered 542 bhp and propelled its two tonne-plus bulk from 0-100 km/hr in 4.3 seconds, whilst deft handling and interior refinement ensured drivers felt they could happily drive a family across the country in it (off the tarmac, and towing a horse box or two if necessary).

Aston Martin DBX707
The Aston Martin emblem, depicting a pair of wings flanking a circle with the letters ‘A’ and ‘M’ intertwined, symbolises speed, freedom and elegance. Photo by Aston Martin

This latest version of the Aston Martin DBX707, in which we’re misbehaving with in adverse conditions, has undergone some tinkering; the V8 beast is capable of 697 bhp and 900 nm of torque. Additional aerodynamics and suspension tweaks allows for a 0-100 km/hr time of just 3.3 seconds, and a top speed of 311 km/hr; you won’t see a more sprightly vehicle assigned with the SUV initialism. Getting a feel of the controls in neutral while surveying an arctic landscape ahead, you get the sense that a careless twitch of the toe could send you hurtling down into the snow-burdened spruces.

Aston Martin DBX707 interior cockpit
Taking the Aston Martin DBX707 on this incredible Arctic Lapland experience truly entailed unlearning and re-learning how to drive. Photo by Aston Martin

Thankfully, the day’s programme starts gently: a few practice stabs at a figure-of-eight track, with driver-proffered nuggets of advice from Aston’s in-house experts, Through Walkie-Talkies, we were encouraged to toe-poke the gas as the car rounds the apexes of the eight, then control the car in a gentle, sliding arc, resisting the temptation to ‘correct’ the vehicle with brakes and steering wheel as one typically would on tarmac. At this point, the sport-plus mode has throttle response beefed up to the max, with the rotary dial set so that the traction control computational systems only intervene sparingly by redistributing power to different wheels.

Finding the sweet spot and guiding the car into a graceful slide is a true feat, with the abundant spray of snow making the entire act substantially more spectacular. Photo by Aston Martin

The second task is a little trickier: carved into the Arctic terrain nearby is a circumference, around which participants take turns to do “doughnuts”. Controlled drifting is the goal, this time with traction control completely banished. Get it right, and you’ll hit a sweet spot where steer and acceleration conspire to make the vehicle drift in perfect circles with a trail of billowing clouds of sprayed snow, adding to the theatrics of the whole feat.

For the final session, participants were let loose on a winding track for a free lap packed with slides and skids. It’s been instilled in participants, by this point, that mastering ice driving entails a lot of unlearning. “You need to overcome your instincts–to deliberately induce the car to slide, and then keep it sliding,” as the instructor puts it. Embracing his advice to the full–especially when one grasps the generous amount of oversteer that is manageable due to low yaw rates–involves an hour of adrenaline-pumping fun (and only two incidents involving a tow rope).

Aston Martin DBX707
This single-lane ringed track flanked by snow walls on either side was specially designed for controlled ‘doughnut’ execution. Photo by Aston Martin

“The DBX707 has a unique character compared to its competitors,” remarks Andy Tokley, Senior Vehicle Engineering Manager for the DBX. “It was developed from the outset with extreme environments in mind. The intention was that Aston Martin’s DBX707 should allow customers to feel confident exploring the capabilities of the car equally, whether in the depths of winter in northern Europe or America, or a sunny day at the Nürburgring. Most importantly, DBX707 delivers the Aston Martin driving experience in all environmental extremes. This driving experience showcases one bookend of the capabilities and is a great opportunity for owners and enthusiasts alike to experience how rigorously DBX707 has been developed.”

If an offer comes your way from Aston Martin to put Tokley’s words to the test, here’s our advice: accept hungrily, arrange your passage up north, and leave any preconceptions about safe driving you’ve learned at home.

Aston Martin