It’s James Bond without the Tuxedo.
Few cars currently in production exude such sexiness, as the DBS Carbon Edition. If you are familiar with the sumptuous DB9, then the DBS Carbon Edition will feel like a comfortable Gucci loafer. Similarities abound, such as the angled-opening doors as well as the fluid jet-like design, and of course, the interior layout. All familiar features to those in the Aston-Martin know, yet the distinct personalities of the two models are readily apparent.
So what’s different? There are subtle changes, sporty additions and unique finishes as compared to the DB9, namely, the more powerful V12, featuring 510 HP on tap; the carbon fiber splitters under the front bumper; exclusive wheels and brake calipers; carbon-black grille; carbon fiber mirror caps; the gorgeous rear valance, flanked by the large dual exhausts; the carbon inlays in the center dash and door panels, just to name a few.
Approaching the DBS you instantly notice the attention to detail that goes into the paint, featuring a 25 hour polish process, leaving an amazingly deep, glossy look that is magical. Moving to the side, you notice no protruding door handles, but instead, a long thin cutout that is lit on one side. Pressing this piece on the forward end with two fingers; opens the door, (Yes, it requires a bit of practice, but this gives a subtle hint as to who has been in an Aston and who hasn’t.) The best way to describe the interior is; a symphony for the senses, as each of them gets a VIP treatment inside the cabin of the DBS.
Once inside and sitting in the drivers’ seat, my eyes are instantly drawn up to the gorgeous, hand-stitched, quilted leather headliner, giving the impression of being in a concept car. I realized this is so much nicer than the dull, black headliner most cars have, of course, the Aston-Martin DBS is not like any other car. As my eyes moved around the cabin, I noticed the sun-visors, funny thing, as I rarely if ever, have notices these ubiquitous pieces. The ones in the DBS feel as good as they look, featuring alcantara suede as well as a sublime metal rim for the frame and the mirror. This mundane, item feels extraordinary in the DBS. At that point it hit me, the wonderful aroma of fine leather, tugging at my olfactory sense, I was in heaven. Next, I noticed the center dash, which prominently features the P-R-N-D selectors, in the form of four push-buttons instead of a console lever, again a unique and stylish feature. In between the R and N is a slot where the “emotional control device” is inserted, for us, just mere mortals, this is also known as the ignition key. Slide the device into the slot, press, hold and be ready to be amazed. A high-speed starter whines, followed by the wonderful sound of a V12 roaring to life. Heaven seems to be quite sporty, I said to myself.
Driving the DBS is ridiculously easy for such a capable car. The driver has two choices, either automatic or manual mode. Selecting D and not touching the magnesium-alloy paddle shifters, the DBS drives as any automatic car would. Pressing either of the paddles, they re-program the DBS into manual setting, letting the driver control the shifting of the Touchtronic II gearbox. The throttle effort is firm yet smooth, giving almost any driver the ability to drive the DBS as if it’s been in their possession for years. Stomp on the throttle, and the DBS instantly transforms into a world class GT car. There is a burbling exhaust note, followed by a sound that I equate to “This means business” and then, at the upper levels of the tachometer; it’s the orchestral sounds of an Aston-Martin V12. Of course, a great car should be able to stop as well as it accelerates and the DBS Carbon Black does not disappoint with its ceramic brakes. These are not only effective, but also efficient at dissipating heat. The brake pedal feels strong yet easy to modulate, offering perfect stops every time. There are two rear seats, but don’t even think about putting anything other than a child back there, if that. Trunk space is typical for a GT, featuring straps for an umbrella as well as LED lighting.
The DBS is a subtle and elegant GT, that never screams nor does it attract undue attention. The Carbon Edition is one step above that. Make no mistake, even with its low-key approach, the Aston-Martin DBS Carbon Edition is a car that will turn heads, regardless where you arrive.
After several days, three hundred miles and a few thousand photos, it was time to bid adieu to this fabulous machine. I was sad to see it go, but happy to have one of the most rewarding driving experiences in the last 12 months.
Mr. Bond, your car is ready.
MSRP: $284,976.47 MSRP (as tested): $292,278.97
Fuel Economy (observed): 13 MPG
Engine: V12, 5.9 liter, 510 HP
Popular options: High spec alarm, Smokers kit, keyfob pouch, satellite radio
Photos by: Hector Chacon & Juan G. Robbin