By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
You'll have to look closely to see the differences between the 2012 Aston Martin DBS and the Aston Martin DB9, but the most obvious is clearly the nearly $100,000 price difference on the window sticker. The DBS and DBS Volante's extra cost actually buys less car, which in this case is a good thing. Compared to the DB9, the DBS is 50 pounds lighter but its 6.0-liter engine pumps out more power, rendering a lower 0 to 60 time and faster top speed. Beyond its higher position in the Aston Martin pecking order, the 2012 DBS offers more available features including the new Carbon Edition model and a manual transmission – something the DB9 no longer offers.
Among the super rich, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and even Ferrari cars are a dime a dozen. But, if you're looking for sleek 2+2 with that added air of exclusivity, Aston Martin's 2012 DBS and DBS Volante make a good choice, at least James Bond seems to think so.
When it comes to horsepower and handling, there are other coupes and convertibles that outshine the 2012 Aston Martin DBS, and some even cost less.
The Carbon Edition joins the Volante lineup, sporting carbon fiber interior inserts, Ceramic Grey or Flame Orange paint (with matching interiors) and gloss black alloy wheels.
Driving Impressions Dashing to 60 mph in a scant 4.3 seconds makes the 2012 Aston Martin DBS a few tenths of a second quicker than its DB9 stablemate, but it's the standard...6-speed manual transmission that makes the DBS the superior driver's car. When equipped with the Touchtronic 2 automatic transmission, the DBS is still quick, but in manual mode the transmission feels a bit slow to change gears and really isn't as much fun as the manual. Steering feel in the DBS is responsive and controlled, with good on-center feel and progressive feedback. The DBS' ride is surprisingly comfortable and its interior is well insulated from the outside world. The same can't be said of the DBS Volante convertible, which lets in an uncomfortable amount of wind to beat you up even when you're just cruising.
BANG & OLUFSEN SOUND SYSTEM
The cool tweeters that electronically rise up from the dash will delight you and your passengers, but it's the 1000 watts of pure power that will blow everyone away.
ADAPTIVE DAMPING SYSTEM
This electronically controlled suspension delivers a superb ride in "normal" mode, but when you set the adaptive damping system to "sport", all-handling heaven kicks in.
The 2012 Aston Martin DBS' interior is more than just leather-wrapped luxury, it is a stylized work of art. From the glass and steel key to the push-button transmission selectors, Aston Martin ensures time spent in the DBS' cockpit is a singular experience. Colors for the DBS leather range from subtle to stunning, and the seats, doors and pillars can be covered in fine Semi-Aniline leather or plush Alcantara (a suede-like fabric). For those up front, the DBS' deeply contoured bucket seats should prove comfortable, although the large side bolsters can feel confining.Exterior
Sharing the same aluminum chassis and body with the DB9, the 2012 Aston Martin DBS takes things up a notch, with two deeply sculpted hood louvers, an aggressive front air dam and massive 20-inch wheels. The low-slung roof looks slick, but it makes dropping into the DBS's seats a feat of agility – same issue getting back out. On the Volante and Carbon Edition convertibles, extra body-bracing is added to ensure flex and bending are kept to a minimum, while the deployable roll bars tucked inconspicuously behind the rear seats ensure an added measure of safety.
When a car's base price starts over $250,000, you expect it to be loaded for bear, and the 2012 Aston Martin DBS doesn't disappoint. A 1,000-watt sound system from Bang & Olufsen provides the entertainment, while a new Garmin-based navigation system ensures you'll never get lost (although if you have to get lost, a DBS isn't a bad companion). Also along for the ride is the adaptive/adjustable suspension, carbon-ceramic brakes, 20-inch 20-spoke alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, and a choice of leather or leather and Alcantara seating.
You can have your DBS in any one of a two dozen colors, or you can pick any color every put on a car and Aston Martin will duplicate it. There are six 20-inch wheel designs, Pirelli sport tires, a Touchtronic 2 6-speed automatic transmission, and personalized sill plates. Interior color and fabric choices are equally numerous and include a color fabric headliner, full-length piano-black fascia, and an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel.
An all-aluminum 6.0-liter V12 engine powers the 2012 Aston Martin DBS and DBS Volante convertible is to a reported 0-60 time of 4.3 seconds and a top speed of 195 mph. The V12 has more than enough muscle to impress, but with its transmission mounted just forward of the rear axle, the Aston achieves a perfect 50:50 weight ratio, an important attribute that helps the DBS handle as well as its does.
510 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
420 lb-ft of torque @ 5,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 11/17 mpg (manual), 12/18 mpg (automatic)
The 2012 Aston Martin DBS coupe has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $280,000, the convertible Volante touches the $295,000 mark. The Carbon Edition adds about $10,000 to the bottom line. With all the available options added, the DBS can easily push into the $300,000 zone. Similarly priced and powered competitors include the Bentley GT Supersports at $270,000, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG at $200,000 and the Ferrari FF at $300,000.
By Rick (IL) on Thursday, November 10, 2011
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "FUN to drive! Looks, acceleration, handling"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"An extraordinary vehicle: acceleration, handling, the sound of the engine, quality of construction, looks, and FUN! I had originally ordered the paddle shift, but switched to the manual 6-speed transmission before my original order was delivered--and, wow, am I glad I did. As great as the paddle shift was, my 6-speed is even better! I paid extra for premium sound, but never turn it on, since I so enjoy the sound of the engine, especially in 2nd gear at 4,500 RPM!"
24 people out of 24 found this review helpful
By jj (FL) on Monday, July 11, 2011
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"the db9 is a true gentlemens sports car with the looks and power but none of the yelling like an annoying ferrari... the db9 unlike the dbs is very loose and relaxing and stiff when required. for the kind of driving i do (city) it is truly incredible!!!!!!!!!"
29 people out of 31 found this review helpful