The Aston Martin DBS is a strange kind of supercar flagship. On paper it’s slower and less powerful than the Vanquish S of old, and it’s clearly a development of the DB9. After so many bold statements from Aston in recent years, it looks like something of a pulled punch. Or maybe not.

The DBS may look disturbingly similar to its baby brothers but it is cleverly positioned below the likes of the Ferrari 599 and Lamborghini Aventador, and above any Porsche. Aston has found some clear air for it to breathe.

This is not the first car to carry the DBS name, of course. The original model was introduced in 1967 as a supplemental model to the DB6, but it continued in production until 1972, a couple of years beyond its ‘donor’ car’s demise.

The 4.0-litre straight-six model, which had up to 325bhp as a Vantage, is one of the less famous James Bond Astons; it is the car in which Tracy di Vicenzo, aka Mrs Bond, is shot dead by Irma Bunt in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The current DBS wasn’t about to miss out on the tie-in either; it made its Bond debut in 2007, in Casino Royale, and also featured in the follow-up, Quantum of Solace.

It does still look like a DB9 with a bit of hurriedly applied make-up, though – but Aston says the construction is defined by “the need for high-performance stability, handling stability and low kerb weight”.

If that is the form it requires to let it function at a level beyond that of any of the brand’s previous models, then we have no quarrel with it.

Top 5 Supercars

  • Ferrari 458
    The radical-looking, mid-engined V8 Ferrari 458 oozes supercar charm

    Ferrari 458

  • McLaren 650S
    The McLaren 650S is much faster and more exciting to drive than the regular 12C

    McLaren 650S

  • Is it a cut-price SLR or overpriced Merc special with fancy doors?

    Mercedes-AMG SLS

  • Mid-life revisions keep the Audi R8 at the top of its game

    Audi R8

  • Until the £1m One-77, the Aston Martin DBS was the British marque's halo model

    Aston Martin DBS


First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    1 December 2015
    Bentley's big seller has a facelift for 2015 and we've driven it on UK roads for the first time in twin-turbocharged 4.0 V8 form. Is it still the pick of the range?
  • First Drive
    27 November 2015
    We try the turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol version of the Golf Bluemotion. If you're not doing mega miles, it's a better bet than the diesel
  • 2015 Mercedes-AMG A45
    First Drive
    27 November 2015
    Mercedes couldn't let the Audi RS3 get away with having more power than its AMG A45. As part of a wholesale A-Class facelift, it now has 376bhp and a host of other revisions
  • First Drive
    25 November 2015
    More powerful Clubsport version of Volkswagen's iconic hot hatch proves thoroughly entertaining on our track-only first drive in Portugal
  • First Drive
    25 November 2015
    Suzuki has added an automatic diesel powertrain to its S-Cross crossover line-up. Does it offer a compelling choice over the manual versions?