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Engine options, top speed, acceleration and refinement

Using Aston Martin’s kerb weights, the DB9 has a power-to-weight ratio of 256bhp per tonne, while the DBS has over 300bhp per tonne, which means it carries the mark of an extremely serious performance car.

So read nothing into the fact that its 191mph top speed is just 4mph higher than that claimed for the DB9, for that is purely a function of its additional downforce. Concentrate instead on the fact that despite the traction disadvantages of its front-engined, rear-drive configuration, the DBS flings itself to 100mph in 8.7sec, passing 60mph in 4.2sec on the way.

Despite being more potent, the DBS emits fewer CO2/km than the DB9, as Aston tries to cut emissions model by model.

The Aston continues to delight when you look past such bald numbers. Despite its apparently sky-high torque peak, in fact there’s solid urge available from as little as 2500rpm that just gently builds in urgency until peak power is reached 4000rpm further around the dial. Better still, the V12 has never sounded better in its nine years powering Astons. Rich and sonorous in the mid-range, its voice evolves to an urgent, piercing howl as it nears its 6900rpm cut-off; every decibel is what you’d hope for in a 21st-century Aston Martin.

Power is rated 510bhp at 6500rpm. Peak torque remains unchanged at 420lb ft, but it comes in at 5750rpm rather than 5000rpm. Then again, carbon panels and ceramic brakes have dropped the kerb weight of the DBS by a claimed 65kg relative to the DB9, so there is less work for that torque to do.

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And while it will find its detractors, we are great fans of the simple six-speed gearbox. The linkage to the Graziano ’box slung between the rear wheels has been much improved since we first tried a manual DB9, and with a light and progressive clutch, a shortened final drive and a fast-yet-precise action across the gate, it is a decent gear lever away from providing a transmission perfectly suited to the DBS’s character.