2009 Aston Martin DBS

2009 DBS Review

Note: This review was created when the 2009 DBS was new.

The 2009 Aston Martin DBS is a high-performance exotic grand tourer that exudes power and exclusivity like few vehicles can.

2009 DBS Overview

Model Overview

The Aston Martin DBS is a performance-tuned variant of the Aston Martin DB9, a one-of-a-kind exotic sports car that amasses praise for its powerful V12 engine, refined interior finish and sultry exterior design.

With enhanced performance attributes, the DBS takes the vaunted DB9 to a whole new level of heart-pounding power and exclusivity. Edmunds explains: "The DBS is a modified version of Aston's already highly desirable DB9. Like Daniel Craig's muscular, tuxedo-clad Bond, the DBS is strikingly handsome, yet its bulging fenders and more chiseled fascia give the impression that it can kick your teeth in if you challenge it."

Though outpaced by more sports-oriented rivals, few exotics can match the DBS' combination of extreme performance, ride comfort and class.

The DBS features a 510-horsepower V12 engine. Currently, it's only available as a coupe. However, a Volante (convertible) trim is set to be released in the fall of 2009.

  • "This is not an exotic sports car so much as a hyper-focused grand touring car, immensely powerful but also mature." -- Los Angeles Times
  • "Aston Martin's DBS walks a smart line between GT and sports car and is an eminently desirable piece. The new color, by the way, is named Quantum Silver, after the movie of a similar name." -- Motor Trend

The Bottom Line

If you're in the market for a classy, high-performance grand tourer that screams privilege, the Aston Martin DBS is the car for you. While its primary competitor, the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, trumps it in terms of power and performance, reviewers agree that the DBS isn't about running laps on the track. Edmunds writes, "There are a few other contenders (including Aston's own DB9), but in the end, though, this type of purchase is all about preference and irrational emotion."

Before signing on the dotted line, be sure to test drive the all-new Ferrari California. It produces 57 fewer ponies than the DBS, but it's an exhilarating performer. And while it too is more of a grand tourer than an all-out sports car, it's also a Ferrari. Try and argue with that.

Performance Dynamics

Test drivers report that the DBS is more than just a high-performance grand tourer, it's an experience. And while rivals -- like the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano -- maybe faster, the DBS isn't about just speed. Still, don't get it twisted -- the DBS burns some serious rubber.

The DBS features a 5.9-liter V12 engine that produces 510 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 570 pound-feet of torque at 5,750 rpm. Available with two transmissions -- a six-speed manual transmission or a "Touchtronic 2" six-speed with an electronic shift-by-wire control system -- the DBS can reach a top speed of 191 mph and can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 4.3 seconds.

According to the EPA, the DBS has a city/highway fuel economy of 11/17 mpg when equipped with a manual transmission. With the automatic, fuel efficiency is increased to 12/18 mpg.

The rear-wheel drive DBS features rack-and-pinion, Servotronic speed-sensitive power-assisted steering, as well as an independent front/rear double wishbone suspension with an Adaptive Damping System (ADS) and Track mode. Bringing the DBS to a halt are ventilated carbon ceramic disc brakes, as well as long list of brake and stability enhancing features -- including an Anti-lock Braking System, Dynamic Stability Control, Traction Control, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Emergency Brake Assist.

  • "As much as we enjoy a good ear-bleeding stereo, we'd rather listen to the roar of the V-12, spurred by a stomp on the gas pedal and a few quick taps at the downshift paddle. The resultant explosive burst of acceleration sends the traction control system scrambling to keep the rear wheels in line, as the power can easily overwhelm the grip of even these massive, 11.6-inch-wide tires. In less frantic driving, the transmission can be left in drive, in which it does a convincingly smooth approximation of a conventional automatic." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "An evolution of the ZF-sourced six-speed Touchtronic transmission in the DB9, the DBS's automatic is actuated by a row of buttons on the center stack and manually operated by fixed, column-mounted paddles crafted using leather and magnesium. In standard mode, the shift quality is decidedly relaxed-good for those moments when the significant other is aboard-but in sport mode, crisp and quick up- and downshifts allow the 5.9-liter V-12's 510 sonorous horses to faithfully heed the commands of the driver's right foot." -- Car and Driver
  • "The 2008 Aston Martin DBS is striking for how easy it is to drive. The clutch is light and short in travel, while the shifter snick-snicks through the gates with precision. The steering is light and the cabin's decent visibility makes it less onerous feeling than some other exotics. Not only is it easy to handle, it's also surprisingly comfortable. Although the ride is firmer than the DB9's, the DBS is never punishing." -- Edmunds
  • "With a 0-to-60 time of 4.2 seconds, grip at 0.96 g, a 60-to-0 stopping distance of 106 feet, it's the quickest, stickiest, and shortest-stopping Aston Martin we've ever tested. And it feels so good doing it. The engine whirs and warbles as only a V-12 can. There's a ton of grip and good body control, yet the ride harshness isn't over the top." --Motor Trend
  • "The factory's quoted figure for 0 to 100 kilometers per hour (0 to 62 mph) is 4.3 seconds -- not all that impressive. Ferraris, Lamborginis and even Corvettes are well down in the mid-3-second range. So, although it is still blazingly fast, the Aston simply doesn't have the pace of a true exotic. And you know, I could not care less." -- Los Angeles Times
  • "All of this technology and mechanical sophistication is great, and we're happy to report that everything works perfectly. We took our test car on various tracks and roads and were impressed with how well the DBS performed no matter the situation. Solid steering feel and great brakes combined with a linear powerband gave all drivers great confidence." -- Road & Track
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