Given that three quarters of DBS buyers will choose this new automatic version of the Aston Martin, it seems odd that Aston Martin has made them wait nearly a year for it. Offering the DBS as a manual only at first at least reinforced its macho credentials and put some clear water between it and DB9 on which it is worryingly closely based, given the gulf in prices. But despite the hard nut image, this is a real auto; a development of the torque converter six speed ZF box offered in the DB9, rather than the automated manual offered in the Vantage. The controls are all familiar; the PRND buttons are arrayed along the top of the dash, there’s one fixed paddle each for up and downshifts, and a sports button sharpens the shift speed by a further 5%. It has already been tuned to be 20% quicker than the DB9’s. The result is slick, seamless shifting in town and changes you can really feel without being harsh, a full effort. Performance is unchanged, but the price goes up by three grand. Our only reservation is that we do really come to like the manual, not least for the rare opportunity it affords to manage a 510 bhp, 6.0 liter V12 unaided.
The launch of the auto brings a few tweaks to the DBS. Tiny rear seats rather than a luggage shelf for $2495 doesn’t seem like the furniture purchase of the decade, but the lightweight wheels at $1995 look hot, save 2kg of unsprung mass each and show off more of the carbon composite discs. The upgraded B&O 1000 watt sound system with its mad pop-up speakers come free. And did you notice that we made it to the end of a story about the Aston DBS without mentioning James Bond even once? Oh, bugger..