When we last checked in on our contenders in our inaugural Ultra Luxury SUV Mega Comparision test we saw the 2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 beat the 2021 BMW Alpina XB7 to advance into the semi-final round of our contest. With that out of the way it’s time to move into round 2 to see which SUV will join the Maybach in a final duel to decide which one will square off against the Rolls Royce Cullinan Black Badge. This time around it will be the 2021 Aston Martin DBX vs the 2021 Bentley Bentayga in a classic case of plucky underdog versus an established name. But which one will move on?
Bentayga vs DBX A Tale Of Two Diffrent SUVs
Unlike our last comparison that was essentially a new battleground in a long-established rivalry, this contest is a textbook example of a David vs Goliath affair. The Aston Martin DBX plays the role of the underdog with the SUV being Aston Martin’s first utility-focused offering in its largely car exclusive lineup. Aston engineers claim that the DBX is the perfect mixture of performance and utility and the exterior styling is certainly a very strong testament to that. The look here is very athletic with the sloping roofline leading out to the Vantage style rear end. The front fascia also follows Aston Martin tradition and comes with a large chrome front grille and sleek-looking headlights.
As for the Bentayga it has benefitted from a modest styling update which has helped the SUV morph into a more athletic-looking offering with higher degrees of refinement. The square edges of the design have been chipped away and in their place is a slightly more rounded look that makes itself apparent in certain areas of the SUV. The front fascia featured reworked headlights that have been pushed further towards the corners and a larger lower mesh chrome grille. The side profile largely stays the same but as you snake your way to the rear of the Bentayga the old taillights have been pitched for Continental lifted oval-shaped units. Oval-shaped dual exhaust tips get in on the act and they add a sportier flair to the Bentayga.
When it comes to the battle of aesthetics, the DBX gets the win here. Both of these SUVs look high class, but the DBX does a better job of meshing sporty bodywork with some of the functional add-ons needed for it to be a utility. It also doesn’t hurt either that it comes with a number of Vantage sourced styling elements.
Bentayga Charges Back With Superior Cabin
The Aston Martin DBX’s win in exterior styling does come with a notable tradeoff and that’s an interior that comes with a few compromises for passengers. The craftsmanship in the DBX’s interior is superb with the tester we had featuring splashes of nautical-inspired blue leather, glass buttons for the shifter, and even splashes of wood trim. The interior is tailored towards sport and that means losing out on some of the luxuries that many high-end buyers come to expect. The seats are heated and cooled but they don’t massage. The Mercedes sourced infotainment system is an older last-gen non-touch unit and while it’s a vast upgrade over the ancient Volvo-based system that Aston used to have in older models, it can be frustrating to use in certain situations, but it’s easy to navigate core menus with the analog controls. The rear seats are also tight and they don’t have enough headroom for adults.
The Bentley’s problem in contrast is a lack of personality especially in the case of the Bentayga featured here. Bentley buyers have the option to customize the interior of the Bentayga to their heart’s content and that can result in interiors that push the envelope of imagination and luxury. In this instance, it seems restraint was the theme with the black-on-red interior lacking some of that pop and flash. That’s a shame because the rest of the interior comes loaded with technology. The all-new 10.9-inch infotainment system comes with standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability while the dashboard incorporates more winged elements in its design. The seats are not only heated and cooled but can also massage and coddle occupants in a wide range of ways. The second-row passengers also have access to a world of luxury thanks to the portable and removable TSR screen which allows them to control multiple aspects of the car. Unlike other ultra-luxury SUVs the Bentayga requires owners to manually fold down the seats, a task that’s controlled via a rear-mounted switch in the DBX.
Turbocharged Duel Leads To Final Victory
Both the Aston Martin DBX and the Bentley Bentayga use turbocharged V8s (The W12 equipped Bentayga was excluded for the sake of fairness) and both of them feature comical amounts of turbo lag. However, it’s in the finer details where the differences between the Bentley and the Aston begin to emerge. The DBX is powered by a Benz sourced 4.0 liter twin-turbocharged V8 that makes 542 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough to shoot the DBX to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds.
The Bentley also uses a 4.0 liter twin-turbocharged V8 and it too makes 542 hp but outshines the Aston by offering 568 lb-ft of torque. That allows the big Bentley to make the sprint to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds which is faster than the DBX despite the eight-speed losing a gear to the Benz sourced nine-speed in the DBX. The Bentley offers more driving modes and while its Sport modes are not as sharp as the Aston’s it makes up for it by having a softer default tune which helps the Bentayga have a comfier ride on long trips.
The DBX is the thrill-seeker in this comparison and in some regards it’s like an Aston Martin Vantage that has been put on stilts. The handling is razor accurate and it allows the DBX to eagerly attack corners and sweepers like a sports car. However, this strong focus on handling and fun also creates tradeoffs and they appear when the DBX is tasked with urban-centric driving. The stiff suspension hates pockmarked terrain and even in its softest setting, the Aston still delivers a jittery ride. Thankfully, all of those distractions melt away when you hear the DBX’s soundtrack which is spicier than the Bentley’s and could perhaps even pass as a ringtone on your cellphone.
Bentley Bentayga Is Better All Round Package
When all is said and done though the Bentley ultimately emerged as the winner of this particular comparison. The DBX was a motivated underdog and it certainly threw every proverbial trick in the book at the Bentley in its attempts to move on. However, while the DBX is a thrill to drive, adds some spark to Aston’s lineup, and is a trailblazer for the brand, it simply isn’t a good all-around package. The sleek styling compromises into utility and missing some notable luxury SUV features makes the DBX a noticeable standout in a field where the high price tag comes with fully loaded expectations.
As for the Bentayga, it will move on to do battle with the Mercedes GLS 600 Maybach with the winner of that final confrontation moving on to the dream match with the Rolls Royce Cullinan Black Badge.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.