What lies beneath the DBS is a chassis that, in many areas, sets new standards for Aston Martin and approaches its very best rivals. Most impressive is the new damper system. You can firm them up by pressing a button on the dash, whereupon the ride will deteriorate quite considerably, but left in normal Comfort mode the DBS rides with a fluency we consider to be unrivalled in its class.
The Volante is also first class on most road surfaces, but fold the roof back and there is a small but noticable reduction in rigidity.
It’s true that the steering could do with more feel, but it remains very precise and perfectly weighted. And with three turns across its locks, it eschews the modern fashion of fitting very quick steering racks with the aim of making a car feel responsive but, more often than not, simply making it feel more nervous.
This translates into a car that is fabulously easy to drive. The body control is good enough at sane speeds for the car’s considerable size not to be a problem, the steering ensures you hit every apex and the brilliant Brembo brakes are untaxed even by a car of this performance potential. The only serious criticism concerns a lack of traction. On damp roads the DBS will spin its rear tyres in third gear, while if the road is wet the traction control light can become a constant companion.
More impressive is the level of refinement Aston Martin has achieved. Road roar becomes oppressive only on very coarse surfaces, wind noise is well suppressed, and the big V12 is vocal when you want it to be and near silent the rest of the time. Given the excellence of its ride, it makes for a formidably able long-distance tourer.