After spending some quality time in Aston Martin’s Vantage model, I had come to the same conclusion as many of my colleagues; that this seemed to be as much GT sports coupe as one might wish for. On top of that, the $120,000 Vantage had most of the sophisticated, yet visceral style, of the $262,000 DBS. And if one wanted 12 cylinders, why not a DB9 model and get a small rear seat?
All that’s required to debunk the above theory is to simply spend even higher quality time in the Aston Martin DBS. By comparison, it’s like being content with a Ferrari 612 Scagleitti when a 599 Fiorano exists or finding the Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG satisfactory when the SLR or AMG Black Series cars beckon.
Parked at the curb, the DBS exudes something special. It’s pure Aston Martin and nicely understated, not like a vibrant Lamborghini that shouts “look at me!” In contrast, the DBS is subtly built with the purpose of operating at very high speed and that race-bred look is evident in the functional air management of the body.
Inside the cockpit, the layout is practical and offers a nice blend of luxury with racing inspiration. Our test DBS was equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox that was a welcome touch for this reviewer. Yes, I know that it’s hard to beat the rapid shifting of a computer-driven, sequential manual scheme, but the driver control and involvement of a standard transmission is hard to top.
It’s also hard to beat the wonderful symphony of 12 cylinders out the big rear exhaust pipes. It’s like 12 French horns, as good as the big Ferrari’s trumpets, and better than the German’s tubas. The sound is so intoxicating for an enthusiast, that I found myself driving with the windows down and searching out an underpass or tunnel for further sonic entertainment.
So how fast is the DBS? How about four seconds to reach 60 on its way to a 191 mph top speed. That’s not quite as fast as the 620-horsepower Ferrari 599 or the new Mercedes 65 AMG Black Series with 670 stallions doing the pushing. But how many of these supercars get hammered to their full potential? It’s appropriate to simply state the obvious; that DBS performance credentials are more than adequate.
When you’re not amusing yourself with the music of acceleration, the new DBS includes a custom Bang & Olufsen sound system with the latest iPod, USB, and Windows media integration to play whatever you bring. And like most luxury gear, it’s standard equipment.
There is an intriguing option for those who want that James Bond touch. It’s the Jaeger-LeCoultre AMVOX2 DBS Transponder watch, a work of art and wizardry that not only keeps time, but unlocks the DBS and activates the ignition. And it’s much more elegant than carrying even a small transmitter or key.
The timepiece was unveiled at the Paris Auto Show and is available for $29,000 to DBS owners. Yes, that sounds expensive. But when you consider that the transmitter module had to fit in a watch case and the antenna was metallized on the inside of the sapphire crystal to protect mechanical components from electrical fields, and that all that engineering took 18 months, it’s worth it. After all, James Bond doesn’t ask Q how much those keen toys really cost. BRIAN DOUGLAS
Type: Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine: 5.9-liter, DOHC V12
Horsepower: 510 @ 6,500 rpm
Torque: 420 foot-pounds @ 5,750 rpm
Base Price: $262,000
As Tested: $268,040
Fuel Economy: 11 city, 17 hwy