What the road testers said at the time

VANTAGE - - Buying Guide Gaydon-era Dbs -

‘STEP­PING STRAIGHT from the susurrus re­fine­ment of the Merc, the As­ton seems loud, harsh and crude. It isn’t, of course, just rel­a­tively so, its tem­per­a­ment and char­ac­ter grav­i­tat­ing at least some of the way to­wards the ex­treme rep­re­sented by the Fer­rari 599. The As­ton is a great car in which to at­tack big dis­tances, and if it doesn’t do it with quite the Zen-like calm of the Bent­ley and Merc, it’s com­fort­able and easy on the nerves and more en­gag­ing than ei­ther.

Clear within the first few miles is the im­prove­ment in the damp­ing [com­pared with the launch car that the mag­a­zine had pre­vi­ously tested], which feels sub­stan­tially firmer than be­fore but, im­por­tantly, much more con­trolled at speed. The steer­ing’s bet­ter, too, with greater pre­ci­sion about the straight-ahead and more feel on lock.

Good as the ear­lier car’s gearchange was, this one is slicker still – though it’s still set too far back and teamed with a dead throt­tle ac­tion and late clutch bit­ing point – and the ce­ramic brakes are phe­nom­e­nal, the best here.

On chal­leng­ing roads, the DBS feels lithe, thread­able and im­mensely quick. Third gear is good for pretty much ev­ery­thing on the twistier stuff, pro­vid­ing just about per­fect lev­els of flex­i­bil­ity, outright pace and en­gine brak­ing. The steer­ing is ac­cu­rate and well-weighted and body con­trol is ex­em­plary. It makes no at­tempt to steam­roller rucked and rut­ted sur­faces into sub­mis­sion in the man­ner of the Bent­ley and the Merc, but rather tracks the un­du­la­tions with no wasted body move­ment, us­ing damp­ing to de­sen­si­tise its im­pact. That said, no-one dreams of press­ing the but­ton that ac­ti­vates the firmer of the As­ton’s two damper set­tings. The car’s dom­i­nant dy­namic trait is its skit­tish rear end, even with trac­tion con­trol en­gaged, to re­mind you that, thing of sonic beauty that the DBS en­gine is, it packs a bru­tal punch.’ – DBS man­ual vs Bent­ley Con­ti­nen­tal GT Speed and Mercedes CL65 AMG, evo mag­a­zine, March 2008

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