To start the new DBS, Aston Martin's stunning flagship, just insert the ECU. That's the stainless steel and sapphire Emotion Control Unit. Oh, make no mistake. This car, indeed, is in control of your emotions. Once inserted, the ECU glows red. Your eyes will widen, your adrenalin will pump. Yeah, you may even have to take a couple of deep breaths to compose yourself. How in the world did James Bond ever take his mind off this thing long enough to nail the bad guys?
Before we talk about the race-bred technology and the hand-built V-12's raw power, just look at its lines. Built with aluminum and carbon fiber, the DBS has been sculpted, every curve and crease, with the impression of speed and performance in mind. That's Aston Martin talking, with me in full frontal nod.
This is the first road-ready Aston to implement so much carbon fiber to establish a lightweight and nimble creature.
Flared wheel arches are filled with 20-inch wheels that offer a glimpse of the race-induced carbon ceramic brakes (lighter, more durable and magnificent stopping ability). The carbon fiber hood bulges to accommodate the power source underneath. Five hand-finished alloy slats add class and distinction to the grille.
The DBS, the priciest of the Aston Martin clan, is a direct descendant of the DB9, a racing machine that owns back-to-back GT1 Class honors at LeMans 24-Hour in 2007 and 2008. But the DBS is lighter by some 200 pounds and a third of a second quicker.
Heck with the new and sweet Bang & Olufsen sound system; the sound of the 6.0-liter V-12, maker of 520 horses of raw power, is even sweeter. This is a front to mid-engine car powered by the rear wheels. Hold onto your carbon fiber armrests as DBS flies to 62 mph in 4.3 seconds, and is capable of hitting 191 mph. Eleven-and-a-half inch wide tires grab the road like a roller coaster grabs the rails on the loop-de-loops. And new this year, as an alternative to the six-speed manual tranny, is a paddleshifted six-speed automatic. It offers quicker shifts and response, and the proof is in the fact that it, too, will get you to 62 mph in 4.3 seconds. Push into Sport mode and DBS winds it out further and shifts up at higher speeds.
Cornering in the DBS is virtually lean-free and is aided by a damping system with five settings. The system has sensors that take continuous readings and adjust to the driving conditions. Holding you in place during this spirited ride are nicely bolstered seats that clutch you just right at the thighs and ribcage. DBS is a two-seater but a backseat is optional in place of the storage area behind the front seats. Still, it's not built for rear-seaters, unless you're bringing the youngsters for a thrill.
Leather is soft and smells great, complemented by Alcantara suede trim. Stitched on the seats is the DBS logo, a reminder to yourself and guests that this is as good as it gets in an Aston Martin. And the seats have 10-way electrical adjustments.
The instrument panel is elegant, featuring white numerals over a dark graphite background for easy reading. The polished alloy gear knob blends with the similarly adorned center console. The Bang & Olufsen sound system, developed exclusively for the DBS, puts out a total of 1,000 watts and includes a 6-CD changer.
Could you drive the DBS daily? With pleasure. Should you? Well, let's just say this car is built for pure performance, not practicality.
So who in the world, in these days more than ever, can swing the base price of $269,000 for the DBS? Not many of us. And, consider that the C6 Corvette offers a heavy dose of power and fun for a fraction of the money.
Still, a Corvette is not an Aston Martin. Doesn't pretend to be. So for the few, the proud and extremely comfortable who can afford the luxury and performance at this level, the DBS is ready to seize your emotions.
Base Price: $269,000 ($273,000 with Touchtronic shifter)