They say you should never meet your idols… But I did.
Aston Martin’s iconic cars have long been an idol of mine. So when I was invited to the unveiling of the new DB10, built especially for James Bond in his new film, Spectre, I was beside myself.
To make things just that little bit more special, I was informed that although I wouldn’t be able to drive the DB10 (there are only 10 in existence and even the guys at HR Owen weren’t allowed to drive it) they would have the new DB9GT on hand for a drive… just so “you can get a feel for what it’s like behind the wheel”. Oh, and they also had the beautiful DB5 from Goldfinger, so that was nice too!
So the DB10… in fairness I can’t say that much – the pictures speak for themselves and it really is a thing of beauty. It’s a shame it will never be put into production, as it has something about it… something you can’t put your finger on that makes it stand out from the previous incarnations of the DB marque – the bonnet seems more prominent, the boot smaller, meaning the cockpit – and that really is what it looks like… a fighter jet cockpit – is set right back. The overall effect is stunning, and the trademark grill at the front, unadorned by anything so crass as a number plate, just looks mean. I loved it.
But then there was the DB9GT… the one I was able to play with.
I’m no stranger to ‘fast’ when it comes to cars… I’ve taken a Lamborghini Gallardo through its paces, and the Tesla I reviewed last month would hit 60 in a tad over 5 seconds. But neither of these compared to this. The Lamborghini, too harsh, rough and shouty. The Tesla – too quiet. The D9GT had the best sound system I’ve experienced. Not the Bang & Olufsen stereo – I mean the 6 litre V12 engine. The sound cannot be mistaken for any other car of it’s ilk. The burble that evokes thoughts of gentlemen (such as Bond) rather than sports stars, and the rise in the note as you press the throttle more reminds you that although Bond is a gentleman, he can hold his own in a fight too.
The noise was truly intoxicating, and when you had to let off the throttle (which happened quite quickly) the noise on the overrun was a delight too. But enough about the noise, which is really an accompaniment to the whole experience. And the rest of the experience was tremendous.
The power was great – it really moves and puts the power down with a 6-speed box smoother than some automatics I’ve driven with a lot more cogs involved. Then you see the small button in the centre of the dash marked ‘Sport’. We’ve all seen a sport button in cars, and sometimes you can feel a difference when it is pressed if you pay attention, sometimes less so. This button kicked you in the back as you hit the seat and everything changed. The throttle was more responsive, the gear change quicker, and the exhaust also pitched it up a note (sorry – back to the noise again).
Okay – I should try and actually review the car. I expected quite a lot of discomfort, poor visibility and a recurring thought of “don’t let me bend it, don’t let me bend it, don’t let me bend it.” But I was surprised… In a good way.
The seats were comfortable, you could fit kids in the back… they might be somewhat snug, but they would fit, and the visibility was fantastic… Good news when you’re pulling out of junctions in something as expensive as some flats
So it looks good, it sounds great, and it goes like… I don’t know what to compare it with, but my god it felt good. And to top all that, it is almost practical. You wouldn’t want to take it to Waitrose on the weekend, but it does deserve the GT badge. Originally, GT stood for Gran Turismo – indicating that the car that bore the badge was capable of sustained driving for longer distances, and this car is comfortable enough for that – with kids – and that engine note would not get boring. If it did, the Bang and Olufsen stereo would come in handy.
What struck me most, was the quality and attention to detail. While striving for performance, the design team at Aston Martin refused to compromise on quality. The door shuts, the radiator cover at the front of the (massive) engine bay, the handbrake finishings were all metal of the highest quality. The copious leather used inside was everywhere – even where you couldn’t see it with the doors closed. There really was no compromise. The car could be lighter if they did, meaning it would go quicker. But really, 540bhp and 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds really is fast enough.
I met my idol, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Now all I need to do is save up £140k…