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.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Chief tester
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 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?

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Aston Martin range

Driven this week

  • Jaguar E-Pace P300
    First Drive
    19 November 2017
    Jaguar’s second SUV faces up to the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. Tough task, so is the E-Pace up to it?
  • Jaguar E-Pace D180
    First Drive
    19 November 2017
    Not the driver’s car many would hope from any car wearing the Jaguar badge, but the E-Pace is an attractive and interesting addition to the compact premium SUV ranks
  • Subaru Impreza
    First Drive
    17 November 2017
    The fifth-generation Subaru Impreza is much improved from top to bottom, but a poor engine and gearbox keep it trailing in this competitive class
  • Ford Fiesta Vignale
    First Drive
    17 November 2017
    We get a first taste of Ford’s poshest Fiesta in turbocharged diesel form
  • Seat Arona
    Car review
    17 November 2017
    Seat is on a roll but can the Arona, its new junior SUV, cut it in such an ultra-competitive class?