If you’re looking to add pure thrills to your bucket list, then hopping behind the wheel of James Bond’s company car from the new movie Spectre would have take to the cake.
This, my fellow Bond fans, is the Aston Martin DB10 – and it’s one hell of a looker.
Built specifically for the Spectre movie, this pristine ‘hero’ edition is one of only 10 in existence, so just getting the green light to test drive the DB10 has been an heroic feat in itself.
In the entire 24-film Bond franchise spanning over half a century, this is the first time Aston Martin has designed a car from scratch just for the film. Previously, Bond cars were based on series production cars.
And the high-end British luxury carmaker has a long and enviable history of supplying 007’s ride, dating back to the 1964 classic Goldfinger, when Sean Connery drove the iconic DB5 – regarded by many as one of the most beautiful Aston Martins ever created.
Drop-dead styling, simple lines and a grille to die for meant the DB5 remains at the top of the world’s most desirable autos list and according to Aston’s director of design, Marek Reichmann, the DB10 was created as a modern interpretation of that iconic car.
The design itself was actually penned by Sam Holgate, the youthful exterior designer at Aston who’s back-wall sketch was spotted by Bond director Sam Mendes on a visit to the design studio to discuss concepts – the rest, they say, is history.
It might not be a production model, but rest assured the DB10 is a sure-fire window into the future design language that will serve as a blueprint for the next generation of Aston Martin’s road cars.
They built the car in a staggering six months – usually it takes several years to design and build a new car. Its underpinnings are V8 Vantage S, but the DB10 is slightly longer and gets a much wider track.
One look at those flared-out hips sitting on extra-wide Pirelli 305s (almost as wide as Aston’s One-77 hypercar) and you instantly recognise this as something entirely different to the current Vantage.
Creditable speculation suggests the next-generation Vantage will blend this DB10 with the outrageously styled Vulcan. A faster, purer car with more intent, to compete directly with the junior supercar set. And for that, we can’t wait.
Like the DB5, there’s a natural simplicity to the DB10’s shape that is its most captivating feature. It’s staggeringly beautiful from any angle, with that rare combination of macho and elegance in equal measure – something Aston Martin’s designers have been realising for decades, despite critical ups and downs along the way.
Holgate says his aim with the DB10 was to create an Aston that was purer, yet more contemporary than anything in the current range.
He cites the slimline taillights and hidden LED stoplight as features that could be seen in future product, though the ducktail and extra tough carbon-fibre rear bumper are my favourite elements.
The shut lines have been reduced to a bare minimum and the clamshell bonnet seems to go on forever, as if the entire carbon-fibre body is one seamless form.
The bonnet vents are special too – just a series of perfectly machined holes, rather than the usual two-piece unit, and only visible to the eye up close. Engineers used heat mapping in order to position the holes for the maximum cooling effect.
The DB10’s super-low shark nose grille is an entirely different take on the standard, more upright Aston face. Holgate describes it as a more sinister and in line with 007’s darker side in Spectre.
Even the side strakes are cleaner, yet far more prominent than previous designs, while conveniently providing the perfect handle to open the bonnet.
The interior treatment is a huge departure from anything Aston Martin has done before. It’s infinitely less cluttered and much more driver focused and according to Holgate, that’s also what we can look forward to in new-gen Astons.
There’s an unusual switch or two inside here, but like all Mi6 operatives, I’ve been sworn to secrecy and promised a night or two in the Tower of London should I dare to divulge.
All the usual Aston-quality detail is here, including beautifully upholstered leather sports seats with contrast stitching (these are better cushioned and more comfortable than any Vantage I’ve sat in.
The superbly crafted steering wheel fabricated in Alcantara leather look more One-77 than standard Aston, though this one’s got a finger print scanner attached. There’s also a new style of shifter (superb in the hand) with a built-in trick up its sleeve.
The non-functioning instrument cluster is a new three-binnacle unit, laden with plenty of unusual gadgetry, which I can’t quite work out. Additionally, there’s a new style of rotary controller for the infotainment system, but again, it’s inert and all for show.
As pure made-for-movie cars, the entire compliment of DB10s are un-registrable and as such, unable to be driven on public roads, so our drive was confined to closed roads within HQ confines.
Under the bonnet is the same naturally aspirated 4.7-litre V8 from the Aston Martin V8 Vantage S, so it sounds extra angry due to the removal of much of the sound-deadening material.
While Aston’s V12s pack a lot muscle, I’ve always favoured the Vantage S for its pureness and race car-like exhaust note.
The clutch is nicely weighted, though I suspect our ‘Hero’ tester’s unit has had plenty of wear, as take up is at the very end of the pedal travel. Once rolling though, and throttle response is reassuringly Vantage – fast and furious.
Despite not having sufficient road ahead to properly open it up, the DB10 feels reassuringly similar to its Vantage S lineage – only the Bond car is of course much lighter due to its carbon-fibre body.
Of course, none of that really matters. What matters is the fact that I’m piloting the same car that James Bond drove in the movie Spectre – and I’ve got video to prove it.