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wT BQ VIDEO: Driving Bond's Aston Martin DBS V12 flat out! | James Bond Nederland
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VIDEO: Driving Bond’s Aston Martin DBS V12 flat out!

I was given the opportunity to drive an Aston Martin DBS V12 for a few days. This is the company car James Bond used in the films Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. An opportunity I grabbed with both hands. Because as a James Bond fan, when do you get the chance to drive the beast of a V12?

Our favourite secret agent never has to worry about his transport. The secret service always makes sure it has the fastest and most beautiful cars at its disposal. British car manufacturer Aston Martin has been inextricably linked to the James Bond films since 1964.

Not one but three Aston Martins

As I drive up the avenue of the Louwman Museum in The Hague in a Lexus Lexus NX450h+ F SPORT LINE, three British surprises await me. Despite the beautiful weather and the three great cars in front of me, I step out of the Lexus reluctantly. That’s because of the ‘climate concierge’. Together with the automatic air conditioning and seat cooling, it provides a lovely climate. The car is a plug-in hybrid and has an electric city range of 98 kilometres. Totally different from the Aston Martins.

Leaving the car, I see three beautifully styled cars. There is an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, a V8 Vantage Roadster and the very beautiful DBS V12. The DBS is the same car James Bond drove in two previously mentioned films. I need a moment to let the beauty come to me. How beautiful these cars are! Their stunning design and powerful presence make me smile.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

I start my tour of the three cars with the V8 Vantage, designed by Ian Callum. The car looks like a blueprint for the DBS V12, which stands next to it gleaming in the sun. And that is not surprising: Callum’s design of the DB9 and DBS was inspired by this V8 Vantage. This V8 has 380hp/284kW and can sprint from 0 to 100 in 5 seconds. And its top speed? 280 kilometres per hour.

With the Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster, a long journey to, say, the Côte d’Azur is certainly no hardship. Of these three cars, I am clearly more attracted to this one because it can drive without a roof. Besides, this bolide represents British allure, class and speed. The automatic transmission is also considerably better than that of the coupe version, which you have to rev-match. If you don’t do that properly, the coupe jerks every time the gearbox shifts.

Three Astons, which one to pick?

James Bond Netherlands is, of course, all about the world’s most famous secret agent. Naturally, I choose the Aston Martin DBS V12 to start my journey. The car exudes a subtle form of aggression. The powerful design features a wide front spoiler with several air intakes, side skirts, carbon fibre mirror caps and a ducktail spoiler on the tailgate. Details that perfectly match James Bond’s refined appearance: subtle, but tough when the situation calls for it.

Compared to previous models, the DBS V12 is certainly not a standard Aston Martin, but one that has received a significant power boost. For instance, this model features adjustable exhaust mufflers and a sport mode for adjusting braking, throttle response and steering. Weight was saved by making extensive use of carbon fibre, which also improved the car’s rigidity.  Personally, I think this is the most beautiful Aston Martin of its time. One that is perfectly designed. Every line and component has a purpose. For me, this design is complete. Of course, Aston Martin added the famous ‘swan doors’ to the design. These doors raise slightly at the rear to reduce damage from, for example, curbs. Swan doors have been used at Aston Martin since the DB9 in 2004.

Discovering the interior of the DBS V12

As I sit down in the car through these special doors, the expansive, adjustable leather seat embraces me firmly. I immediately feel at home. Although the DBS V12 is a sports car pure and simple, it does come with a luxurious interior. I am almost enchanted by a beautiful array of gauges. The needles of the tachometer and speedometer (up to 330 km/h) turn, unusually, counter-clockwise. For legal speeds in the Netherlands and Belgium, by the way, the needles remain in the lower regions.

There are a few things that do stand out about the interior of the DBS. Although it is an expensive-class car, many buttons are plastic, the levers on the steering wheel are clearly from Ford, and the navigation system is from Volvo and visibly dated. This can be explained because Ford Motor Company (also owner of Volvo at the time) owned it when the DBS was released. The interior grips me. It is small and narrow, yet I really don’t want to leave. Especially not when, after studying the interior, you start thinking about driving this bolide.

Making the atmospheric V12 roar

After realizing that I am now really in an extremely sleek sports car full of luxury and feeling more and more like James Bond, it is time to wake up the 6.0-liter V12. Aston Martin has said goodbye to the traditional key and introduced the crystal Emotion Control Unit (ECU) in 2009. I insert the ECU into a designated slot in the center console, apply the brake and then can push the “key” through.

What happens next is almost beyond description. My neck hairs immediately stand up, my ears are on edge and a huge smile appears on my face. The V12 comes to life! With a tremendous sense of drama, the engine makes itself heard loud and clear. A sound that few of us will ever experience live: just over 3,000 have been produced worldwide. As the car idles beautifully, I can’t resist a few taps on the aluminum throttle. The engine sound swells and becomes a bit vulgar. This car does not sound like your average Fiat Panda or Toyota Camry!

I must let you in on a little secret. The Aston Martin DBS already has a wonderful engine sound when it comes out of the factory. But the owner of this particular car chose to remove the mufflers and catalytic converters. The beast breathes freely through a straight pipe. It is simply not possible to miss this car as it drives by! And what is also impossible to miss is the wide grin on my face!

But back to the engine. The figures about it don’t lie. Our DBS is equipped with a 6.0-liter V12 with 517 hp/380 kW and sprints to one hundred kilometers per hour in 5 seconds. The top speed of the car we are driving, equipped with an automatic transmission, is 295 km/h. The manual version of this car has a top 307 kilometers per hour. The engine can certainly take more, but it is tuned for gear ratios.

Driving the Aston Martin DBS V12

Driving the Aston Martin DBS V12 is an experience full of thrills. In an earlier video about the Aston Martin DB11, I called it a gentlemen’s club on wheels. The DBS V12 is certainly no exception. The difference is that this is a club with two completely different personalities.

The car automatically starts in comfort mode. In this mode, the DBS is relatively softly sprung and shifts at low revs. You can hear the V12 hum quietly in the background. But when you put the car into sport mode, it changes immediately. The mufflers, steering response and gearbox behavior then adjust. The gearbox of the V12 then immediately downshifts and the DBS continues on its way as if on rails. And then you want only one thing: to drive rapidly to the horizon.

With the power of the V12 engine, that’s no problem at all. I shifted down a few gears with the aluminum paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. Aston Martin is not just about high speed in a straight line, but also its cornering. Even though our car was on a set of aging tires, that didn’t make the handling in the corners any less impressive. When turning in, it does what you want it to do and you can easily get to your apex.

There is certainly no body roll when cornering. The carbon ceramic brake discs should also be used properly from time to time. If you don’t do that regularly, the discs will squeak loudly. You can hear this well in the video when I park the car to check the glove box for Q-Branch gadgets.

But that’s not all: in addition to the aforementioned driving modes, there is also a circuit mode.  In this mode, the Electronic Stability Program is disabled. Leaving everyone behind in a cloud of tire smoke with a poweslide is guaranteed. Even without this mode, it is possible to make the occasional playful slidings with ease.

We are about to end the days of testing. And during these days with all that power, the Aston Martin DBS V12 did enjoy a sip of fuel. Also, don’t be surprised that a car like this consumes a liter of gasoline every four to five kilometers. If you really do your best with leisurely driving you even manage to achieve eight to nine kilometers per liter. All I can say is that this is a raw beast with luxury and that, above all, puts a huge grin on your face while driving. And unfortunately: a fuel card not included. 

The connection with James Bond

Aston Martin has been the supplier of automobiles for the James Bond films since Goldfinger (Aston Martin DB5, check out my video via the link), with the exception of the Roger Moore Bond films and part of the Pierce Brosnan era. Connery drove a DB5 in two of his films. Dalton drove a V8 Vantage, and Brosnan brought out his personal car in GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), and The World is Not Enough (1999). MI6 provided him with a BMWs. An exception was made for Die Another Day (2002). He drove an Aston Martin Vanquish in that outing.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

As I drive with the DBS, I reflect on the history of the model in the James Bond films. It wasn’t Daniel Craig who first got to drive an Aston Martin DBS in his first two James Bond films. No, this honor goes to Australian actor George Lazenby, who received the keys to a DBS in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). He didn’t drive a DBS V12 but received one with a V8 under the bonnet as a company car. The Aston Martin DBS V8 had a 5.3-liter engine, 282hp/207kW, and sprints from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in 6 seconds.

Bond drives near at the coast when he sees a lady walking into the sea. He immediately takes his Aston Martin DBS onto the beach to rescue her. At the end of the film, we see the DBS again. As Bond and Tracy Di Vincenzo’s wedding car. Complete with flower garlands that give it extra flair. When 007 stops to remove the garlands from the car, another car approaches. Driven by Blofeld and Irma Bunt. Bunt fires a volley at the car. Tracy dies instantly.

Casino Royale (2006)

After years of absence, Aston Martin returns in Die Another Day (2002). Pierce Brosnan gets behind the wheel of a V12 Vanquish. The collaboration between Aston and EON Productions is a long-standing one. Bond also drives an Aston Martin GT in Casino Royale (2006) . It’s an Aston Martin DBS V12, the car that I’m driving for this video. MI6 has delivered the car, in silver-gray “Casino Royale,” to Montenegro. With a few modest gadgets from Q-Branch, of course.

The poker game determines the fate of Le Chiffre. An underworld banker who must recoup all his money, which he invested and lost in airline stocks. By the way, it’s not his money but that of Mister White and his henchmen. An unknown man and organization to 007, whom we only get to know as such in Spectre (2015).

Le Chiffre makes an ultimate attempt to eliminate James Bond. James rushes to his DBS to administer the antidote to himself. More importantly, his heart could fail at any moment. It’s Vesper Lynd who saves him.

The same Vesper is kidnapped after Le Chiffre’s loss. Bond doesn’t hesitate for a moment. gets in his Aston Martin DBS and goes after her. When he sees a bound Vesper lying in the middle of the road at the last moment, he abruptly turns the steering wheel.

Seven barrel rolls later, Bond ends up in the grass. The DBS is completely destroyed. It was a world record. This year, the movie The Fall Guy, starring Ryan Gosling as Colt Stevens, broke the record. A car made eight barrel rolls in the air.

Quantum of Solace (2008)

Who took his beloved Vesper from him? This question is central to Bond in Quantum of Solace (2008). It was Vesper who led 007 to Mr. White at the end of Casino Royale. With White in the boot, he sets off in an Aston Martin DBS V12 in Quantum Silver towards Siena, Italy. When two Alfa Romeo 159s appear, chaos erupts around Lake Garda.

A very fast-paced action scene full of gunfire, lorries, cars, a shovel, the Carabinieri, and a marble quarry follows. Blink twice, and it’s over. Bond loses his door immediately in the tunnel where the chase begins. Through the quarry, he finds himself back on the road, where he miraculously shoots the driver of the last 159, sending it dramatically tumbling into the ravine in slow motion. In just two and a half minutes, the entire chase is over. Guess i’ll keep our DBS out of harms way…

No Time To Die (2021)

The twenty-fifth and currently last James Bond film is full of Aston Martin models. In addition to the almost obligatory DB5, we see a Valhalla and a DBS Superleggera. A sporty version of the DB11. Aston has been much more thorough with this model than with our driving subject. The front end is more aggressive, and the rear has been restyled.

wiki_No_Time_To_Die_voertuigen_aston_martin_dbs_superleggera

In the film, we only briefly see the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera. The car clearly plays a supporting role alongside the DB5. It’s Agent Nomi who picks up Bond after the dramatic events in Norway. She takes him to the military airfield nearby. There, Q is ready with a fully fueled Boeing C-17 Globemaster III. The DBS does a nice powerslide as they drive onto the airfield.

Luxury and comfort: The Lexus NX 450h+

Our borrowed Lexus NX450h+ from Lexus Nederland is, of course, incomparable to the power delivered by the Aston Martin DBS V12. With the 450h+, you make a conscious choice. It’s one of comfort, high seating positions, and Japanese top quality. Lexus has been leading the lists of reliable automobiles for years, and the Japanese themselves are convinced of it. They provide their models, just like Toyota’s, with a standard ten-year warranty!

The design of the NX450h+ appeals to me. The front end is high, instantly recognizable as Lexus with the trapezoid grille, and equipped with piercing Matrix LED headlights with standard automatic high beam function. At the rear, the continuous light bar takes center stage. The boot floor is a bit high, but despite the plug-in hybrid drivetrain, there is space in the trunk for all our recording equipment.

The special F SPORT LINE seats are excellent. They offer ample support from all sides, are electronically adjustable, heated, and ventilated. Lexus equips its NX models with a 14-inch Lexus Link Pro multimedia screen that works intuitively. Everything is where you expect it to be. Our crew car has the Mark Levison audio system, which sounded excellent on our trips to and from our filming locations.

Power is a secondary factor in the NX450h+. But when you do need it, the car doesn’t disappoint. The four-cylinder engine combined with two electric motors delivers 306hp/227kW. A continuously variable transmission is standard. When demanding a lot of power, the car makes its presence known. Due to the plug-in hybrid drivetrain, all-wheel drive is standard.

Our crew car is a Lexus NX 450h+ F SPORT LINE in Sapphire Blue and costs 82,790 euros. The NX range starts from 61,995 euros. This NX350h Comfort Line has to do without a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. The numbers came directly from our Dutch Lexus headquarters.

The crew,: Jorrit, Johan, Jan and Allard. Not on photo; Vighnesh my beloved editor via v-mp.com

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Jorrit van der Valk

Grondlegger van James Bond Nederland in 2006. Heeft als doel Nederlandse en Vlaamse 007-liefhebbers van James Bond nieuws te voorzien. Jorrit maakt graag videoproducties voor James Bond Nederland en heeft een passie voor de geheim agent. Zijn favoriete film is The World Is Not Enough, de eerste Bond-film die hij in de bioscoop zag.

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