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Car Review: 2009 Aston Martin DBS

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Our second review: this time about a car for sale on the secondhand market. An Aston Martin DBS from 2009 in Obsidian Black. A supercar that most people can only fantasize about. A car that was the desktop wallpaper on my laptop for many years. It’s very hard to write an objective review without ending up with a bunch of enthusiastic primal sounds and screams. I mean: James Bond drove this model in Casino Royale. Owyeaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!

When this car was first purchased it was ridiculously expensive. Nowadays these can be found on the secondhand market for a little more than a third of their original cost. But at over a 100.000 € this car is still reserved for the happy few. Now that we discussed the elephant in the room we can move on to the car itself.

The Aston Martin DBS was first introduced to the public at the 2007 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It served as the new Aston Martin Flagship.

Because of my length of 194 cm, I always begin with the same test: “Can I get in and out of the car easily?” and “Do I have enough room to sit comfortably?” Getting in and out of the DBS was easy. This makes sense because it’s a Gran Tourer. Built to drive long distances in comfort and style. That said: the headroom was a bit tight. So I had to program the seats to the lowest possible position.

Once seated: you immediately notice the intuitive design of the dashboard. It’s organized in a way you will instinctively find the necessary elements. The ECU key belongs in the center of the console. Once in place, the 12 cylinder monster comes to life. Next you push the Neutral, Park, Reverse or Drive button and off you go. Parking sensors are a handy feat because the car is quite large and has poor visibility.

The car has ridiculous power, no denying that. This won’t stop the DBS from driving smoothly even at very slow speeds, the monster underneath patiently awaits it’s time to be unleashed. You can feel the power of the 5.9 liter V12 in how smooth and effortless this car accelerates. Similar to how a bodybuilder effortlessly picks up a 30 kg weight. The smooth motion is a tell sign for the enormous power, 516 HP/ 420 lb-ft at 6000 RPM. The only downside to that smoothness: you need tobe mindfull of you speed or you will surpass the speed limit in seconds. It simply doesn’t feel as fast as it’s actually going.

Once the congested city streets make way for open roads. It’s time to push the “Sports” Button. It’s not just faster shifts and harder suspension with this car. You hear the difference instantly. And you feel the difference even more when accelerating. In standard mode the car accelerates very gradually and in a comfortable way. In Sport mode, it makes you forget this is a GT: the acceleration is so explosive it nearly shreds your face off.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, it was Aston Martin’s ambition to create a car that is both a comfortable car for road trips and a ludicrous racecar. That said: when driving on the Belgian B-roads the car never truly loses its GT feel whilst cornering. Our roads are just too crappy to drive the car hard in sports mode. To truly enjoy this mode you need to drive it on a circuit. (May I suggest the Nürburgring where it was tested and  developed?)

The 6-speed automatic gearbox tries very hard to make you forget about the manual gearbox. It shifts just as fast as the manual one and when I drive it, I’m sure it shifts faster than I could shift the manual gearbox. But is it really better? That question boils down to: What side of the DBS do you enjoy the most? The elegant and refined Doctor Jekyll (automatic) or the raw face shredding Mister Hyde (Manual)? I prefer the first, because I would rather take this car on a trip, cruising through the British B-roads than take it out on a track day at the Nürburgring (It would scare me to death). The only downside to the automatic gearbox is the lack of that typical exhaust sound when downshifting. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

The 2009 model was the first in which the Bang&Olufsen stereo is standard. I tested it and it sounds great! Not great enough to prefer it over that amazing V12 soundtrack though. The built-in navigation system is about the only thing that tells you: “this is not a 2016 car”

The design: Powerful but elegant lines. Back wheel arches that flare out. It was love at first sight when I saw this car for the first time almost 10 years ago. After driving the DBS the love is stronger than ever before. It will remain in my top 5 most beautiful cars ever.


Plus points:

  • V12 soundtrack
  • 2 supercar personalities in one package
  • Design
  • James Bond feeling
  • Dropped so much in value, it can only go up from this point.

Minus points:

  • Only the happy few can afford to own and maintain this car.

Conclusion: I remember my heart breaking, when James Bond crashed his Aston Martin DBS in Casino Royale. I relived that feeling when I saw the car drive back into the dealer’s storage. I will have to go cold-turkey on this one. At the same time I feel blessed for the opportunity. Some might call this type of car ridiculously elitist and theoretically they are absolutely right. But when you get to experience it first-hand you realize this is a piece of art. It makes this world a more beautiful place.

If you have this kind of funds, the DBS is worth considering: V12 cars are a dying breed. Buy one now, take good care of it and in about 15 years you will have a huge return on investment.

Pictures and Review: Jonas

Review was made possible by Lieven Gheysens and his team at Bavaria Motors

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