PITY JAMES BOND: In 'The World Is Not Enough', poor old 007 was forced to conduct his usual derring-do in a German car! With a touch of schadenfreude, one can't help but think that his loss will be somebody else's gain... Somebody, that is, with around 90,000 to spend on a car.
It's not only small boys who savour the scrummy-scrumptious looks
of Aston Martin’s convertible DB7. Settled snugly behind the steering wheel, the first thing you see is the covetable 'spread wings' Aston Martin motif, mounted atop the dash like a Red Beret's badge of honour.
In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World a person's worth was defined by letters. In the 21st Century brands and logos define who we are.
And in the real world, Aston's 'wings' are up there with the Hubble telescope.
But owners don’t buy an Aston Martin DB7 just for the badge, or even the fact that it’s universally regarded as one the World’s Most Beautiful Cars. They buy it because every car is a sculpture in metal, hand-built by craftsmen — a rarity in today’s built-by-robots-for-robots world.
And, of course, for its exclusivity: the DB7 might be the best-selling Aston of all time, but only 18 are made each week. And as any supermodel will tell you, good looks alone aren’t everything. One need only travel a few swift miles to appreciate the DB7’s sporting GT nature: a heady combination of taut, grippy, predictable handling allied to bags of usable performance from its supercharged six-cylinder
3.2-litre 24-valve engine.
Gatso-runners will be impressed by the figures — 165mph and 0-60 in 5.6 seconds. Lucky owners will be reassured by the truly superb brakes: a dab on the pedal quickly reining in the DB7's creamy 335bhp.
But to say the DB7 Volante is all about speed is as criminal as calling
a single malt a whisky. Raise the suede-lined power hood and you have a snug grand tourer with room in the boot for two sets of golf clubs. Driving the DB7 to and from the clubhouse, however, will be infinitely more satisfying than anything that can be managed on the green.
Despite losing its coupé head, there’s no scuttle shake in the svelte Volante. Not a squeak, rattle or groan. Topless or otherwise, the cabin is an oasis of timeless good taste that looks and feels exactly like one expects a £90,000 car to look and feel: expensive, with lashings of real star quality.
The climate control is both simple to use and brilliantly effective —
you can choose to be roasted, frozen or cosseted on demand. Build integrity is faultless, especially the quintessentially British interior
that is beautifully fitted out in acres of hide and wood. Buy a DB7 and you get a free hotel — an Aston Hilton! The only question is, not do you want one (of course you do, darling!) but should you find the extra £7,450 for one of the fabulous V12-engined DB7 Vantage Volantes?
As Paul Newman once said: "Why go out for a hamburger when you can have steak at home?" Drive the DB7 and you’ll understand exactly what he meant. Of course, he was talking about sex. But as any psychiatrist will tell you, a man's sports car is his mistress!
Aston Martin DB7 Volante
Maximum speed: 165mph | 0-60mph: 5.6 seconds
Overall test MPG: 17mpg | Power: 335bhp | Torque: 360lb ft
Visit Aston Martin's website