Yes, it kind of leaves you lost for words doesn’t it? Aston pulled the wraps of its new DBS super coupe today on the opening day of this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California – the perfect setting for a show devoted to beautiful cars. “The DBS delivers the complete driving experience and bridges the gap between our road and track cars – the DB9 and DBR9,” Aston Martin boss Ulrich Bez told CAR. “It’s the ultimate expression of Aston Martin’s engineering and technical ability. It offers pure performance without compromise.” The DBS arrives next spring. There’s no word yet on official prices, but we reckon you’ll need at least £160,000 to be in with a shout. The coupe – first seen in latest Bond film Casino Royale – is powered by Aston’s hand made 6.0-litre V12 – a heavily revised version of the all-alloy powerplant that powers the DBR9 racing car that’s been tuned to deliver 510 bhp at 6500rpm and 420 lb ft of torque at 5750rpm – enough to rocket the alloy-intensive DBS to 62mph in 4.3seconds and onto a 191mph top speed. The race-bred powerplant features a new by-pass air intake port that opens above 5500rpm to boost engine breathing as well as re-profiled air inlet ports that further improve airflow into the combustion chamber.
For such a technically advanced and track-oriented car, we’re surprised that there’s no paddle-shift transmission – the DBS sticks to a conventional three-pedal layout with a six-speed manual gearbox, albeit with cogs stacked closer together and a shorted final drive to get the best out of the quad-cam engine. There’s no trick steering either – the rack and pinion steering features Servotronic speed-sensitive assistance and a relatively slow three turns between locks. Aston Martin’s engineers have complemented the DBS’s bonded aluminium chassis made of lightweight magnesium alloy, carbonfibre composite and aluminium. It’s the first production Aston Martin to make extensive use of carbon-fibre body panels and it shows in a 1695kg kerb weight – still surprisingly heavy but a still useful 65kg lighter than the DB9 coupe. Carbonfibre panels are used for the boot enclosure, boot lid, door opening surrounds, front wings and bonnet, saving 30kg over it’s alloy equivalent. “The carbonfibre material allowed us to wrap bodywork around the twenty inch wheels and maintain the precise relationship between the wheel and the bodywork,” says Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s design director. The carbonfibre is finished in an patented Surface Veil process that applies a 200micron layer of epoxy and glass over the carbonfibre weave.
It looks superb, doesn't it?
Sure does. The DBS’s drop-dead gorgeous lines and aerodynamic enhancements have been honed using Aston Martin’s race experience – that carbonfibre splitter and a new front bumper design help channel, while the widened front and rear wings, deeper, reprofiled side sills, lowered ride height and widened front and rear track improve high-speed stability and boost the car’s muscular stance. Even the iconic side strake has been redesigned for the DBS, incorporating a bank of LED lights that act as turning indicators. That integrated rear spoiler is now bigger and the DBS is fitted with a flat undertray and a new carbonfibre rear diffuser to boost rear downforce. The DBS is also fitted with new vented carbon ceramic brakes discs – a first for any road-going Aston Martin – which reduces unsprung weight by 12.5kg. Up front are 398mm diameter with six-piston calipers, with 360mm diameter with four-piston calipers at the rear. The lightweight 20inch alloy wheels are shod with bespoke Pirelli P-Zero tyres. The double wishbone alloy suspension features an adaptive damper controlled suspension which uses two separate valves to set the dampers to five different positions, allowing instant adjustment of the car’s ride and handling characteristics. The driver has a choice of two ride settings – standard and a firmer track-oriented setting. The system works hand in glove with the track-oriented DSC Dynamic Stability Control: in default operation, the DSC is automatically on. Press the button for two seconds and Track mode is engaged for a lower interventional levels. Pressing the DSC button for four seconds disengages the safety system entirely.
What a cabin!
The beautifully inviting leather and carbonfibre cabin (the two vestigial rear seats have been ditched, making the DBS a strict two-seater) shows that weight-saving and wow-factor are not mutually exclusive. The door pulls are made from carbon-fibre, for example and even the carpets are woven from a lighter fibre to save weight. Glossy black lacquer, brushed alloy, semi-aniline leather and Alcantara are the order of the day. The new centre console feature turned aluminium ventilation dials alongside the controls for the 700W sound system and hard-disc satnav system. Starting the DBS is pure theatre. The ignition ‘key’ is a sculpted stainless steel fob that’s inserted into the centre console-mounted sapphire start/stop button. This then glows red to show the engine is ready to be fired up. Press the fob and you’re away. Press it again to kill the engine and the fob motors out ready for pocketing. As expected, there are plenty of upgrade options to help personalise your DBS, including lightweight carbonfibre and Kevlar sports seats some 20kg lighter then the standard units.