Engine capacity: 6.0-litre V12
Power output (hp @ rpm): 510 @ 6500
Top speed (mph): 191
0-62 mph (seconds): 4.3
Fuel economy (mpg): 17.3
CO2 emissions (g/km): 388
It has been over six years since Daniel Craig first introduced us to the Aston Martin DBS in spectacular fashion with a devastating barrel-roll in the James Bond film Casino Royale. Now the Warwickshire-based company is launching this special edition of the car to keep its super-rich customers and accident-prone spies happy.
At £186,582 the DBS Carbon Edition doesn't come cheap – it's Aston Martin's most expensive car after its £1.2 million One-77 super car. Nearly £200k gets you all the bling kit and engine muscle that comes as standard on the DBS, plus a heavy sprinkling of ultra-light carbon fibre, a choice of two widely extravagant paint jobs (each model gets seven coats of paint and 25 hours of polishing) and enough quilted-leather luxury to satisfy an oligarch.
Oligarchs and wealthy spies, it seems, aren't in short supply. Just like Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Lamborghini and Porsche, Aston Martin saw a mini-boom in 2011 with over 4,000 rolling off its production line thanks to strong international demand. Likewise spies, it seems, are happy to overlook the environmental contradictions. It might be a "lightweight" Carbon Edition but there's nothing subtle about its thirsty V12's emissions – it emits as much carbon per kilometre as three Ford Fiestas.
Economy and price aside – you can't judge an Aston Martin by the same criteria as a city runaround – the new DBS is staggering as always. Aston Martins may be built to be driven, but they are bought to be looked at and the Carbon Edition doesn't disappoint. Paired with an eye-catching flame orange paint job and the guttural roar as its V12 gains in cadence, it's assured to turn heads wherever it goes. No wonder that Ford has gone for a similar look to the Aston's distinctive grill for the latest Mondeo concept unveiled at the Detroit Motorshow this month.
On the road the long-held consensus has been that the DBS is more of a continent-crossing grand tourer than brutish B-Road bruiser. It's not a view I hold. I'm no James Bond behind the wheel but hit the throttle and well before you hit the rev limit it starts to fidget and squirm like a proper track car. And if you're foolish enough to put the hammer down by bringing up the revs and shifting down the nose rises slightly, its rear bites down and it just surges forward, eating up the road ahead at a spellbinding rate. Ease back off the accelerator, though, and it's smooth and refined.
Inside the refinement continues with acres of leather and well laid-out and roomy cockpit that I happily spent hours in without the slightest back twitch or leg cramps. Gone is the much-maligned Volvo sat-nav, replaced with an easy-to-use Garmin system. Sadly the entertainment and audio interface lets the Carbon Edition down. Yes, Aston's attention to detail extends as far as a nifty pen filling an empty switch slot, but it's near impossible to pair the Bluetooth or navigate your iPod's library via the stereo.
The DBS is a true rear-wheel drive beast then, with lighting-fast performance and near-Bentley levels of luxury, but fantastic colour scheme aside there is not much to convince Q that the £6k premium for the Carbon Edition is a wise use of government money. I still think 007 will be queuing up to buy one though.