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Test Drive: 2008 Aston Martin DBS

The Aston Martin DBS made quite a theatrical debut: James Bond, played by Daniel Craig, flipped it seven-and-a-half times in Casino Royale. But this car was not built to act; the aggressive front fascia, growling V-12, and secret- agent sex appeal shifts from the silver screen to the real world as a 2008 model. Aston Martin delivered its new flagship to the Robb Report Malibu, California, office for an in-seat evaluation.

Driving through Malibu, the DBS received several admiring glances and befuddled stares, but it was likely due to its vibrant red coat and yellow British license plates. The DBS tries to distinguish itself from its lesser siblings with its carbon-fiber front spoiler, flared wheel wells, and vented hood, but the added styling cues are relatively tame and easily overlooked.

It is a different scene from behind the wheel, however, as several interior treatments provide the perfect balance of British-royal elegance and British-racing intensity. Molded of stainless steel and sapphire, the key actually becomes a part of the starter button and glows red when the car’s engine turns. The chrome shift lever is large and mechanical, but it is surprisingly easy to throw between all six gears. And most apparent is the suede-swathed upholstery and headliner, which receives a royal treatment in deep merlot.

But how does it drive? There lies the $265,000 question. This car reaches 60 mph in just over 4 seconds and can carry on to a top speed of 191 mph. Even at triple-digit speeds, the DBS retains a sense of refinement that makes it both a supercar and everyday driver. Sadly, the car does not handle as well as the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, but its low profile and stiff suspension—after depressing the center console switch—do keep the car grounded and confident through every turn. In fact, Casino Royale actually destroyed three DBS prototypes in an attempt to roll this well-balanced car before using an explosive piston get it off of the ground.

Although the 2008 Aston Martin DBS does not come with a portable defibrillator in the glove box, it does come with enough style and speed to make your heart skip a beat. (www.astonmartin.com)

?Paul Meyers

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