Tech Trends '09: Licensed to Thrill Page 2


B&O is known for its flourishes - CD doors that open at the wave of your hand, TVs that swivel into optimal viewing position - and it has brought a taste of this magic to the DBS. When you power up the system, two speakers rise from the corners of the dashboard, revealing tweeters featuring B&O's Acoustic Lens technology. This bit of sly-tech seems right at home in a car meant for Bond.

After firing up the sound system, my first impression was that the music was phenomenally well balanced between the front and rear speakers. With my head positioned for driving, I was cocooned in a beautiful blanket of leather, carbon fiber, and aluminum, with glorious sound coming equally from every direction. As I rifled through my iPod's contents, everything sounded superb regardless of the genre, instrument, or vocalist. From the delicate strains of Diana Krall on piano to the massive, brash horns of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy to wailing hip-hop and techno drumbeats, nothing was lacking.

The car's heavily dampened interior creates a listening environment geared toward a loud, immersive, tactile experience. Best of all, vocals were clearly understandable and properly located. Unlike many car-audio systems, where voices and instruments emanate bizarrely from the door panels or dash vents, the acoustic lenses performed exactly as intended, anchoring the soundstage across the windshield. While my home system is impressive by most standards (see "My DIY Home Theater Makeover," February/March, available online), this delivered an excitement and intimacy I rarely get at home. And while this system plays extremely loud, it retains clean, tight imaging and detail, with no hint of fatiguing distortion. Bass from the 8-inch subwoofer is massive, inspired, and savage when necessary but never loses the taut quickness that delivers punch and low-end resolution. More importantly, nothing rattles, strains, or buzzes. Just like the ferocious V12 engine, no part of the system offers any comment short of "Do you want more?"

Wearing a fabulous Brioni tuxedo and tooling around Manhattan in a car that cost more than my house, I couldn't help but feel, er, sexy. Accordingly, I called up Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack" on my iPod and let the system rip. The speakers reveled in it, rewarding me with a sonic experience that resonated through the semi-aniline leather sport seats like a full-body massage.

As you'd expect, the car features additional technologies. For instance, there's Bluetooth integration for hands-free cellphone operation, steering-wheel control of the sound system, a GPS navigation system that unfolds theatrically from the dashboard, and adjustable seating with multiple memories and heaters.

Those well heeled enough to consider buying the DBS should also spring for Jaeger-LeCoultre's AMVOX2 DBS trans- ponder. For an extra $30,000, your wrist will share in the technology of a chronograph available solely to DBS owners. Beyond keeping time, the transponder lets you remotely lock and unlock the vehicle by pressing its sapphire crystal.

Certainly, the DBS is not for everyone. In fact, Aston Martin plans to make only 130 of them available to the U.S. annually. But the lucky few who do get to drive one - let alone own it - will experience a car and a sound system that leave the soul both shaken and stirred!