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This is Bond’s first bespoke company car, courtesy of Q branch, but is it also his best? We asked the man himself to find out

Secret agent James Bond 007 reports on his new car, the Aston Martin DB10, in this extensive road test.

For the attention of the Quartermaster. The name’s… actually, to hell with all that – you know damned well who I am and why I’m writing this. Your Aston Martin DB10 is now resting at the bottom of the Tiber, from where the authorities of the Metropolitan City of Rome would be grateful if you could retrieve it at your earliest convenience. In fact, they were quite insistent on the subject.

It’s tailormade to cut a dash, rather like one of 007’s very fine suits

Geneva Motorshow update: Aston Martin reveals the tech spec and pricing for the forthcoming DB11

It is there because, I assume thanks to Whitehall cutbacks, you omitted to equip said Aston Martin with the full complement of what your illustrious predecessor referred to as ‘the usual refinements’.

If, for instance, it had had the same sub-aqua capabilities as the Lotus Esprit, which you’d remember as well as I if you were actually alive at the time of its creation, I’d have been able to return the equipment to you in the same perfect working order as I returned Wet Nellie to Major Boothroyd, save for the lingering aroma of pilchards.

In the event, and despite your frankly delusional claims about the car’s capabilities, it turned out that the DB10 was entirely unable to outrun a Jaguar C-X75, providing me with no option but to eject myself (nice touch, that) and leave the car to take its natural trajectory into the aforementioned body of water.

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Anyway, I understand from Moneypenny that you have requested a full written assessment of the car, which, I might add, I consider something of a bloody cheek, given that it was built for 009 and I was only able to steal it because you’re not half as clever as you think you are. All I got was a sodding watch.

Nevertheless, I accept it was your sole functioning prototype and it might take even longer to restore to full working order than the DB5, not least because the river police have punched holes in its roof to secure buoys that indicate its location to passing traffic. So because I find myself temporarily between psychotic Bedlamites hell-bent on world domination, I adhere to your request.

DESIGN & STYLING

Aston Martin DB10

I have to say you have excelled yourself. In what passes for my heart, I thought I’d never drive another car that suited my temperament as much as the dear old Bentley I owned when my creator first invented me, but I must concede that you have achieved that with this Aston Martin.

Were you actually thinking of me when you designed it rather than that scoundrel 009, I might even have been touched. Or as much as a fictional paid assassin might allow himself to be touched.

The DB10 is crafted from carbonfibre meaning the car is lighter than the V8 Vantage N430 that is based on

Even so, the balance between Classical Aestheticism on the one hand and fingernail-ripping aggression on the other has been pleasingly realised. When I think back to some of the rubbish I’ve had to put up with in the past from your department – a four-cylinder BMW Z3?

Really? – the DB10 shows that at least there is someone within MI6 who still appreciates that there’s more to this mindless killing lark than mindless killing. If you’re not going to carry it off with a certain elan, you’re not worthy of a Walther, let alone a bespoke Aston Martin.

On that subject, and it pains me to do so as it does, I must also applaud the new initiative to design one-off creations for the 00 programme. When I was banned from smoking my specially formulated triple-band Morland cigarettes in the DB5 (apparently some paper-pusher on the fifth floor has deemed it a place of work) I feared the worst, and the only reason I am able to retain the services of my tailor in Jermyn Street is I told M that in my book the very mention of the phrase ‘off-the-peg’ merited a .32 calibre bullet between the brows.

I’m not sure what services 009 has been able to render to precipitate so comprehensive a volte face, but I am confident it has nothing whatever to do with her being the first female 00 in the history of the service.

As for the engineering side, I was if not disgruntled then far from actually gruntled to discover a sub-optimal number of cylinders beneath that rather elegant and vast front clamshell. (You might want to let the design chaps at Aston know the world’s least secret agent reckons that’s a keeper for future road cars.) All my recent Astons have had the full complement of connecting rods, so why not this one?

On further reflection, however, I have concluded that it was, in fact, the right choice all along. Never let it be said that 007 is a caveman in a sharp suit lacking all capacity for mental elasticity.

Oh, no. In fact, I have had something of an epiphany: I now think a V8 with the correct 90deg crankshaft throw and none of those appallingly arriviste turbo things makes a perfect weapon for one such as me. It has the growling bottom end to hint at a history slightly more blue of collar than might be readily admitted, but with the breeding of twin overhead camshafts per bank operating four valves per cylinder.

In fact, the V12 now seems almost louche by comparison and, before you say it, I may be many things but louche is not among them. A libertine at times perhaps, but never louche.

And finally, a word about the gearbox. Again, my compliments to whomsoever made that decision – I believe it was a Mr Mendes? I informed your predecessor the day he presented me with Aston Martin my first Vanquish that I thought paddle shifts represented the very essence of new money and were, as such, entirely unbecoming a 00.

How can even a humble civil servant like me hope to be taken seriously by the global criminal community when forced to change gear with namby-pamby little flicks of my nicotine-stained fingers?

Thank God Blofeld didn’t reappear until you had reconsidered your strategy and put a clutch back in the footwell. Forced to choose between getting the laser treatment on the crown jewels again or being the butt of a tortuously laboured transmission-themed gag from a master criminal with a sideline in sledgehammer humour, I say show me the table and I’ll strap myself to it.

And yes, I know that was Goldfinger, but at my age I must be allowed to mix my megalomaniacs from time to time. So from now on, it’s three pedals only and a lever I can punch aboutthe gate like it’s Hervé Villechaize’s face, understood?

INTERIOR

Aston Martin DB10's cockpit

A tricky brief, broadly well realised but with some notable and, to be honest, really rather disappointing exceptions.

Now that I’m in my mid-90s (so ancient, indeed, that I can’t remember when I was born but most authorities agree it was around 1921) a certain old English traditionalism should be allowed without ever creating the impression that I am some kind of dilettante, Sobranie-smoking lounge lizard.

Many of the styling cues are rumoured to appear on the DB11 that non-secret agents will be able to buy soon

This is a note struck to perfection by the use of leather. But at the same time, I must be seen to be embracing modernity and I find much in the carbonfibre accents that speaks well of my cold, hard character and monochromatic outlook on life.

The dials are excellent, too, and prove a point lost on Aston Martin these past dozen years, namely that it is entirely possible for an instrument panel to be stylish and easy to read, all at the same time. But I’ll reserve the closest I come to real praise for the steering wheel, whose rim shape and thickness fit my hairy knuckles to perfection.

However, I’d lose all the buttons mounted on the wheel: I have no desire to be seen trying to emulate those pasty-faced, lily-livered, message-wedded Armco-dodgers who pass for racing drivers these days.

And now the less impressive aspects, the least of which was the near-terminal consequences of someone forgetting to load the machine guns.

I’m actually more annoyed about the lack of stowage space on board. In the light of the smoking ban, I suppose I must accept the deletion of the humidor, but there’s not even anywhere to chill the Dom Perignon.

Need I remind you that the last time we spoke on this subject, you promised me that the champagne would be kept in a computer-controlled, gyro-suspended, independently cooled centrifuge that would match in exact, equal and opposite measure every movement of the car, so that even if said car spun through 720deg, not a single bubble would be released from the precious liquid. Q, it hasn’t even got a bloody cupholder.

Finally, there are the windows. Which genius thought it a good idea for them not to open? I have suffered some indignities during my time in the field (see ‘crown jewels’) but none compared to having to open the damn door to chat to the charming senorita in the Kamm-tailed 1750 Alfa Spider parked next to me in one of Rome’s famous traffic jams.

She actually laughed at me, and although I could hardly blame her, you may find when you open the boot of the DB10 that Miss Lynd is now no longer the only object of my affection to meet with a watery end shortly after having crossed Bond.

ENGINES & PERFORMANCE

The Aston Martin DB10 is completely tailormade

Sometimes I really do wonder, Q. When you told me it did 0-60mph in 3.2sec, were you just trying to wind me up because at the time you thought I’d never get to drive it, or have you spent so much time in the laboratory that you and the real world are now as strangers to each other?

I got really excited about that – in an entirely cool kind of way, you understand. But what did it do on the test track? Yes, 5.7sec. I reckon the 2CV was quicker than that rolling down the hill.

Turning off the traction control involves rummaging around in the passenger footwell, not an elegant solution

In the interests of fairness, I must concede that the tests were conducted in less than ideal conditions, by a pair of perhaps larger than average technicians hobbled by a non-functioning revcounter, a slightly slipping clutch and a keen awareness that breaking the car would result in the publication of several blank pages in a well-known weekly car magazine.

They estimate that, in ideal circumstances, the car would have at least matched the 4.6sec claimed for the standard V8 Aston Martin Vantage, upon whose internals, I am told, the DB10 is actually based, but that 3.2sec would require almost as great a leap of the imagination as Aston Martin an invisible Vanquish, a tiger sitting on command, a parrot being used as a plot device and Denise Richards playing a nuclear physicist.

However, your staff must be commended for providing such an impressively broad torque band from the 4.7-litre engine, a far more useful tool to an agent in a hurry than a theoretically higher peak available only for one revolution, just before maximum power.

The technicians were struck in particular by its ability to travel from 50mph to 70mph in 6.9sec in top gear – as fast, they say, as a Porsche 911 GT3 RS, whatever that is.

RIDE & HANDLING

DB10 is tail happy like any RWD Aston Martin...

Even you will know that I have always considered the way a car addresses the road to be of the utmost importance.

It’s all very well giving it enough grip to dislodge my dentures every time I turn the wheel, but if it doesn’t present itself properly, it’s not worth a damn.

The DB10 has excellent stability in fast corners leaving the driver stirred but not shaken

It is for precisely this reason that I persuaded three successive Ms over a period of more than 50 years to retain the DB5, before the current incumbent took up the position.

The DB10 is not the best in this regard because, despite its other limitations, I have always regarded the DBS (in which my dear wife was dispatched by what I must concede was a quite exceptional shot by Irma Bunt) as the most comfortable company car I’ve run. As an aside, do I need to remind you that, 46 years on, the almost appropriately named Ms Bunt remains at large?

I digress. The DB10 provides sufficient ride quality to survive clattering down several dozen steps without dislodging my waist-training corset, so I think we can categorise that as ‘good enough.’ As for the handling, it is hard to think how it can be improved.

God knows it certainly wasn’t the power that allowed me to keep clear of the clutches of the evil Mr Hinx during our impromptu high-speed sight-seeing tour of the capital.

This is where I talk about understeer and oversteer, right? Not today, kiddo. To me, the rather important question is could I set the cruise control and then steer it with my feet while perched on the roof locked in a life and death struggle in an entirely implausible location with an opponent of quite exceptional size, ugliness and stupidity?

And on balance and so long as the window issue referred to elsewhere can be resolved, I’d saythat I could.

If we must talk about drifting, of course it does: it’s a rear-wheel-drive Aston Martin with a big V8 at one end and a limited-slip differential at the other. You could drift it if you were old enough to take a driving test.

MPG & RUNNING COSTS

007's Aston Martin DB10

I know this is a standard category in this kind of pro-forma assessment, but seeing as I am unable to remember having even bought let alone owned anything ever, it may be that there is actually no one on earth more poorly qualified to complete this section than I.

Even so, I hope and expect the fuel consumption to be abysmal. It would be a sad day indeed when an unreconstructed dinosaur like me considered driving a frugal car a more effective way of saving the planet than killing all the bad guys.

Imagine the headlines: ‘Blofeld’s back and this time we really are all going to die, but that’s okay because 007’s just cracked 50mpg.’ 

VERDICT

Bond's ideal company car - the Aston Martin DB10

I feel I have addressed the car’s strengths and weaknesses and need bore myself no further going over them again.

The more useful conclusion I can reach is to judge the DB10 relative to the other cars you have seen fit for me to drive in the past.

Handsome, unruly; near-perfect in my book. Underwater mode an omission

If we gloss over the Germans (please), we’re left with a smattering of Lotuses (or should that be Loti? I read Chinese at university) and the Astons. Clearly, Aston Martin the Volante was a terrible mistake, but the remainder have been broadly fit for purpose.

Between it and the DB5, I confess to being torn. As a piece of equipment, the DB10 is more effective, but as a personal statement, I incline towards the Superleggera bodywork.

By contrast, the Esprit was my most effective tool, but far from the first choice of transport for a gentleman.

So although I hate compromise, I am forced to conclude that the DB10 does indeed offer the best blend of what I need and what I want from a car. Although I hold fond memories of the Espirit and my DB5, but the Aston Martin Vanish…I mean Aston Martin Vanquish and the original Bentley in make my top five company cars.

I hope that by the time we meet again, its many shortcomings will have been addressed, the windows will open and the V5 will have been transferred into my name. If 009 wants the Omega, she’s welcome to it. 

Aston Martin DB10 2014-2015 First drives