Car of the Year 2009: No. 5: Aston Martin DBS

Hard of Gearing
I felt shaken, not stirred, after driving the Aston Martin DBS. The car’s V-12 engine makes it front-heavy and loud. Its center console is busy with buttons and includes a slot for a key fob that must be pushed into the dash and held in place to start the car. The manual shifter is clunky, and pedal placement is awkward, which makes heel-toe downshifts nearly impossible. Sadly, Aston Martin did not make an automatic DBS available in Napa for our official test-drive. I happened to pilot one a few weeks later, though, and can attest that with paddle shifters, this model gives Lamborghini a run for its money. Order the automatic, and save the stick for the olive in your martini. —Gregory Anderson

 

Elegant and Exclusive
Aston Martin’s DBS is a significant improvement over the marque’s previous flagship car, the Vanquish. This 191 mph supercoupe, handcrafted in Britain specifically for motorists who prefer a splash of exclusivity with their elegance, richly deserves any accolade one can bestow: exhilarating, exquisite, and wondrous come to mind. Though not as agile as the V-8 Vantage, the DBS is an impressive meld of instantaneous power, deep comfort, and usable, sensible technology. Its manual 6-speed harkens back to an earlier time, yet does not prevent this model from delivering 21st-century performance. —Paul Dean

 

Sure Footing
From its menacing mouth to its remarkable rump, the DBS embodies the best that Aston Martin has to offer in the new millennium. The automobile casts aside late-20th-century efforts to evoke past models that became legend, including James Bond’s iconic mid-’60s DB5. Rather, Aston Martin has designed the DBS to make its own distinctive mark. The car’s rev-happy V-12 will be at home on Savile Row and at Goodwood. And its interior is drawing-room impeccable, with jewel-like gauges and a touch-me suede headliner (although the rouge-red interior may not be for everyone). —Marco R. della Cava

SPECIFICATIONS:

Configuration Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive coupe
Engine 5.9-liter V-12
Transmission 6-speed manual
Power 510 hp at 6,500 rpm
Torque 420 ft lbs at 5,750 rpm
Zero to 60 4.3 seconds
Top Speed 191 mph
Base Price $266,350
Price as Tested $269,855
Robb Report Rating 92.6
Aston Martin, www.astonmartin.com

Photo by Oli Tennent
The aerodynamic sports car looks to impress both on the track and during everyday driving…
The one-off 550 Italia prototype mates a Fiat 500 body with a Ferrari 458 Italia engine…
Limited to 50 examples, the supercar features design details found on McLaren’s 1995 Le Mans–...
The global program will feature top models from Ferrari, McLaren, Porsche, and Lamborghini…
Cadillac hopes to take on its Germans competitors with its first modern full-size flagship…
Photo by Mercedes-Benz USA
The new cars expand the marque’s C-Class offerings…
The daylong event will include exhibitions, rides, and live entertainment…
A hand-embroidered silk interior, ruby-set dials, and mother-of-pearl paint set this Phantom apart...
Photo by David Dewhurst Photography
The all-new design is aimed at the hip crowd, but loyalists may balk…
Photo by 2014 Infiniti
The QX50’s size increase promises a roomy ride for passengers…