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

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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

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