Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Aston Martin DBS (2007-2012) review

Fearsomely quick and frighteningly expensive Aston Martin DBS is the flagship of the range and a typically showstopping supercar

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

  • Mega 510bhp V12, spellbinding handling, jaw-dropping presence
  • Some cheap switchgear, monumental running costs, a bit flashy for some

Introduced to the public by none other than James Bond in the 2007 film Casino Royale, the Aston Martin DBS takes over the Vanquish's mantle at the top of the Aston Martin range. With aggressive, beefed-up looks compared to the more svelte DB9, it's been criticsed by some for being too showy and 'in your face' for a classic British sportscar, but this will hardly matter to anyone enjoying the car's 4.3-second 0-60 time or imperious long-distance cruising ability. The DBS is a hand-built masterpiece that embodies all the very best qualities of high-end British manufacturing.

Engines, performance and drive

Adaptive suspension, a special lightweight aluminium chassis and incredibly powerful carbon-ceramic brakes – not to mention that 510bhp engine – make the DBS a very fine driver's car indeed. It faces stiff competition from the likes of the Ferrari 599, which delivers a greater sensation of speed and excitement, but the Aston hits back with a truly spectacular exhaust note from around 3,500rpm. The aforementioned suspension can be tuned to offer a cosseting ride on rough surfaces, or dialed up to its stiffest setting for race-car-like reactions on smoother roads. It's hard to imagine anyone being disappointed with the performance of this car.

MPG, CO2 and Running Costs

The £175,000 purchase price is only the start – Aston Martin DBS ownership also demands that you spend a small fortune on petrol, insurance, road tax and servicing on an ongoing basis. It's simply the price that has to be paid to continue enjoying such a special car. On the plus side, the DBS's rarity makes it less susceptible to depreciation than the less expensive cars in the Aston Martin range, and it's likely to become a valuable and sought-after collector's car in the long term, in the mold of the classic Bond car, the DB5.

Interior, design and technology

The Aston Martin DBS has the same basic Ian Callum-designed body shape as the DB9, but gets its own distinctive look courtesy of wider flared wheelarches and deep cooling ducts set into the long bonnet. There are also chunky sill extensions down the side and a fantastic-looking carbon diffuser at the rear, which hints at the DBR9 GT racing car that inspired the DBS. Inside, it's slightly disappointing to see switchgear sourced from Volvo and Jaguar used on such an exclusive car, but overall the ambience is pure Aston Martin: sumptuous luxury with strong hints of dynamic ability.

Practicality, comfort and boot space

The Aston Martin DBS's hardcore nature is clearly illustrated by the fact that the token rear seats seen in the DB9 are not even available as an option here – it's strictly a two-seater car. Yet unlike some more low-slung supercars, the DBS offers plenty of head and legroom for its occupants, in keeping with its grand touring roots. Driver and passenger will have to travel light, though, as the boot only holds 186 litres of luggage. Engine noise is more noticeable than in lesser Astons, which will suit enthusiasts just fine, but that does make the DBS not quite as relaxing on the motorway as its stablemates.

Reliability and Safety

Reliability was an issue with Aston Martins as recently as the DBS' predecessor, the Vanquish, but the company has made great strides in quality control in recent years, so its current line-up is a lot more dependable. The 6.0-litre V12 engine is basically two Ford V6s joined together, and while it may not be the last word in technology, it is at least a very well proven engine that rarely gives trouble. There's no official crash-test data for the DBS, but the same super-stiff aluminium chassis that makes it such a joy to drive should hold up well in an accident.

Advertisement
Advertisement

More on DBS

New Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante 2019 review
Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante - front
Aston Martin DBS Convertible
2 Jul 2019

New Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante 2019 review

We get behind the wheel of the drop-top Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante grand tourer for the first time
Aston Martin DBS Ultimate
Aston Martin DBS Ultimate Coupe
Aston Martin DBS Convertible
9 May 2012

Aston Martin DBS Ultimate

Special-edition Aston Martin DBS Ultimate will be limited to just 100 units and is priced at £186,000
Aston Martin DBS Volante (2007-2012) review
Aston Martin DBS Volante convertible front tracking
Aston Martin DBS Convertible
5 May 2012

Aston Martin DBS Volante (2007-2012) review

Discounting the £1.4m limited-run One-77, the DBS Volante is the pinnacle of Aston's range
Advertisement
Aston Martin DBS Carbon Edition
Aston Martin DBS Carbon Edition front tracking
Aston Martin DBS Convertible
4 Jan 2012

Aston Martin DBS Carbon Edition

Flagship V12 gets even more exclusive with carbon trim and new colours
Aston DBS Carbon Black
Aston DBS Carbon Black
Aston Martin DBS Convertible
4 Jun 2010

Aston DBS Carbon Black

Special-edition flagship gets mean and moody. And the good news is it’s as exciting to drive as it is to look at
Aston Martin DBS Volante
Aston DBS Volante
Aston Martin DBS Convertible
12 Jun 2009

Aston Martin DBS Volante

British firm raises roof on its flagship DBS
Aston Martin DBS Touchtronic
DBS touchtronic
Aston Martin DBS Convertible
21 Nov 2008

Aston Martin DBS Touchtronic

Can auto box complete flagship Aston package?
Aston Martin DBS Touchtronic
Aston Martin DBS Touchtronic
Aston Martin DBS Convertible
29 Oct 2008

Aston Martin DBS Touchtronic

We drive the British car maker's latest version of its range-topping DBS.
Aston Martin
Aston rear
Aston Martin DBS Convertible
27 Feb 2008

Aston Martin

James Bond's company car has finally hit UK shores. We get behind the wheel.
Advertisement
Aston Martin DBS
Aston Martin DBS
Aston Martin DBS Convertible
23 Oct 2007

Aston Martin DBS

James Bond has a new company car - the Aston Martin DBS. But is it the firm's best ever motor?