Test Drive: 2012 Aston Martin DBS Carbon Edition
It was a chilly winter afternoon at Aston Martin's Headquarters in Silver Spring, MD when the Carbon Black DBS (also available in Flame Orange and Ceramic Grey) was unloaded off a transporter for my four-day entitlement with the British 2+2 Coupe. The splendor of its progressive profile, elegant lines, and vividly acoustic growl attracted a neighborly crowd on our narrow suburban street. Initially, I drove the DBS timidly while reminiscing on my first few drives of Aston Martin’s team captain back in 2007.
British Beauty Abounds
Everyone that laid eyes on the Carbon Edition must have been under its intense, elegant spell because they stared at it like a resurrection. The car's charismatic intent, posh hand-stitched cabin (70 hours to complete), available power, and quantity of carbon fiber energized my conscience with a minor bit of impetuous arrogance knowing “beauty and the beast” could electrify a crowd and embarrass the majority of myopic sports car owners on the road.
Carbon fiber comprises the side-view mirrors, front chin spoiler, rear diffuser, door trim and pulls, sill plate, and the center stack. I was, however, a bit alarmed that the DBS was outfitted with 20” Pirelli P Zero performance tires in the middle of winter, but nevertheless reminded myself that discretion is the better part of valor. Either way, the vehicle’s 10-spoke black diamond-embossed rims, replete with massive carbon ceramic rotors and black six-piston front calipers (yellow, red, orange, or grey optional) are as mesmerizing as it gets for an in-house designed wheel package.
Sleek Safety & Flawless Function
Now, the DBS isn’t the fastest sports car I’ve ever driven (that goes to the Bugatti Veyron), but it does do a lot of things well—like braking and cornering. It’s not necessarily always about the pure number of horses under the hood—the weight-to-horsepower ratio, which affects acceleration and braking, is actually more important. To my point, the aluminum and magnesium DBS felt so light and fluid that 510 horsepower can easily equate to 600 horsepower in a heavier vehicle. A six-speed Touchtronic 2 automatic transmission may be operated as a normal automatic or the driver can take control through the steering column mounted magnesium alloy and carbon fiber-trimmed paddle shifters
Safety and performance technologies are omnipresent and the key reason why this vehicle performs on such a high-intensity level. Key features include Adaptive Damping System (ADS) with Track mode, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with Track mode, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD); Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), and, of course, Traction Control (TC). The vehicle impressed a passenger and I when it came to a complete halt from high speeds in a shorter distance than we expected and without skidding.
When you prefer to drive the vehicle in a more relaxing manner, simply put the gearbox in automatic mode, connect your iPod, and turn up the volume to the 1000-watt Bang & Olufsen BeoSound audio system. Passengers consistently asked what the two raised, mini towers were from both ends of the dash. These tweeters add style and presence to the DBS.
DBS Carbon Edition prices start at $287,576 for the coupe and $302,576 for the Volante (convertible) and the car achieves 12 mpg city and 18 mpg hwy. My test vehicle totaled $292,278, which included a $2,600 gas guzzler charge, There’s a reason James Bond chose an Aston Martin DBS for his latest installment. I now know why!
We go behind the scenes with Henrik Lundqvist for his Gotham magazine cover shoot.