DBS: Multiple Personalities from the Land of AM

“The car has multiple personalities,” says a smiling Stan Briggs of the Aston Martin DBS.

Stan is the brand manager at Scottsdale Aston Martin, a Penske Automotive Group dealership, which is awaiting delivery of the new luxury sports car from the Land of Bond. Excited AM-ers might want to rush down to 6825 E. McDowell Road as soon as the DBS lands.

“For city driving, this is a very-easy-to drive coupe,” he explains. “Or, it’s a car that can be taken on a long trip with great comfort. On the track, due to the adjustable suspension, ceramic brakes, weight distribution, racing clutch, horsepower and torque, it’s a superb performance vehicle.”

Stan knows: He test-drove the DBS during its development: “I found it very easy to drive on the race course from the very beginning,” he recalls. The new supercar is closer to the DBR9 2007 Le Mans GR1-class winner than it is to the DB9, he explains, noting that, although in its DBS form it has not been raced, big brother (the DBR9) has established impeccable race credentials.

The six-speed rear-wheel-drive coupe (MSRP: $265,000) is the fastest product AM ever, he says — so this car from the Aston Martin Lagonda crew in Warwickshire, England, won’t need a retractable bullet-proof shield and smokescreen and other “Q”-equipped trickery.

That’s because few vehicles, super or superagent issued, will be able to keep up with this new AM. With a 6-liter quad overhead camshaft V12 hand-built in Cologne, Germany, the DBS pumps out 510 brake horsepower just short of 6500 rpm and 420 foot pounds of torque at about 6000 rpm. That would have Oddjob throwing fits as well as steel-rimmed hats and Auric Goldfinger garaging even the gilded Rolls.

Acceleration is immediate and assured: 0-62 mph in 4.3 seconds, with a top speed of 191 mph. Look for a combined 17 mpg, street and highway — if you drive it as M might. The DBR9 and DBRS9 vehicles, in fact, carry the same front mid-mounted powerplant tuned to about 600 bhp. Remember? The DBR1 six also powered the DB4, DB5 and DB6, now 50 years ago.

AM engineers have enhanced engine performance on the DBS with a bypass engine air intake port that opens at 5500 rpm to draw more fresh air into the 10.9:1 engine as well as re-profiled air-intake ports that improve airflow into the chambers. Two additional air-flow vents on the hood also improve the performance as well as the bulging look of power.

The rear mid-mounted six-speed manual connects up to a limited-slip differential with a final drive ratio of 3.71:1, which delivers excellent mid and upper-range responsiveness. The steering is rack and pinion with speed-sensitive power-assisted steering. All of this, of course, might help in having the Honor Blackman in your life flip for you — with no need for judo.

DBS: Dr. Yes to Performance and Prowess

In addition to elegantly harnessed raw power, the DBS offers Aston Martin veterans and initiates a number of other marque firsts: carbon-fiber construction; ceramic brakes; active, adjustable suspension; semi-aniline leather; and an ECU starting crystal.

Although the Vanquish incorporated carbon-fiber, these panels were covered with aluminum, so the DBS is the first production AM to use this materials technology — developed in the aerospace and motorsports industries. These body panels are found in the trunk enclosure and lid, door opening surrounds, front wings and hood. The remaining shell is an equally lightweight aluminum/magnesium alloy. Together, this means a body weight reduction by about 20 pounds.

The meticulously constructed panels direct airflow around the car: “The DBS bodywork is a harmonious composition of flowing, muscular forms,” the company’s brochure says excitedly. What’s more, these panels sit on a bonded aluminum structure that maintains overall strength while reducing curb weight to a very respectable 3,787 pounds. The weight balance is superb: with 85 percent of the vehicle weight between the wheelbase. Even the paint inspires performance: a 200-micron layer of epoxy and glass for a class-A friction-reducing surface.

Additional aerodynamic enhancements include a carbon-fiber splitter and a new front bumper. In the rear, an improved spoiler is part of the carbon-fiber trunk. The rear diffuser, from racing, reduces life and increases high-speed stability, while incorporating twin exhaust tailpipes. What’s more, the flat underbody also improves aerodynamics by reducing drag.

This is the first time ventilated carbon ceramic matrix brakes have appeared on a production Aston Martin. In the front are 398-mm six-piston calipers and on the rear 360-mm four-piston calipers. The entire system is ABS. Sitting on the 20-inch wheels are Pirelli P Zeros: 245/35 in the front and 295/30 in the rear. You may also order alloy wheels with a graphite finish.

The suspension comprises independent double wishbones in the front and rear with anti-dive, anti-squat and anti-lift qualities. Anti-roll bars front and rear also ensure accuracy and safety at even the most extreme speeds.

For additional control, Aston Martin has installed a more sophisticated Adaptive Damping System which automatically sets the suspension to five positions, based on road conditions: from soft, for greater ride quality, to firm, for more vigorous driving. The “Track” mode sets all of the shocks to the firmest positions, for ideal circuit driving. In addition, a Dynamic Stability Control maintains traction by default. You can engage the “Track” mode with this as well, to push the limits of your driving, as well as totally disengage the DSC to go where only the finest drivers dare.

You Really Only Live Once

New on the two-seater interior is semi-aniline leather and Alcantara leather. This nicely complements with other interior appointments such as the matrix alloy fascia trim and carbon-fiber door trims and door pulls. The sports seats feature 10-way electric adjustment, including height, tilt and lumbar adjustment. An alarm and immobilizer is standard as well as a battery disconnect switch. You can upgrade your security with volumetric and tilt sensors as well as a tracking device. Dual-stage driver/passenger front airbags are standard as are front and rear parking sensors.

The new ECU — that’s Aston Martinese for “Emotion Control Unit” — is inserted into a docking station and illuminates red when the car is ready to start. Push the ECU flush with the surface of the start button and you’re ready to go. To stop, press and the ECU motors out for you to remove.

When you’re not listening to the V12 symphony, you’ll enjoy a 700-watt audio system with a connector for your Apple IPod as well as a USB connector with WAF, WMA and MP3 compatibility. You can also install a satellite radio system. Finally, you can order a AMVIX2 Chronograph DBS — the first mechanical chronograph without push buttons.

If you choose not to buy from inventory, your ordered DBS should arrive in Scottsdale about April or May of 2009, Stan says.

Even supervillains will be moved by such power and grace: Why radioactivate gold in Kentucky when there’s a diabolically legal supercar like this — right here in town?

Scottsdale Aston Martin, 480.421.7240, www.astonmartinscottsdale.com