Hollywood director Sam Mendes doesn’t usually design high-performance sports cars. But he made an exception for James Bond. Mendes, who directed the latest 007 franchise film (in theaters November 6), worked with legendary auto designer Marek Reichman to create the movie’s signature vehicle: the Aston Martin DB10. Their aesthetic goal: “It had to have the look of the character driving it,” says Reichman, Aston Martin’s chief creative officer. “It had to have a predatory nature.”
And it had to be (almost) one of a kind. Though Aston Martin has been building Bond’s cars over the course of 25 years, this is the only one that won’t eventually hit the production line. As its name implies, the DB10 is a limited run of 10 state-of-the-art concepts. Reichman’s engineers tailored each car to its scene. Some have roll cages. Some have flamethrowers in the exhaust. Plot spoiler: It’s disguised in such a way that it will surprise audiences. “We had to make the design imperceptible,” Reichman says.
Of course, even Bond’s previous consumer-ready Aston Martins didn’t come with flamethrowers. The genius of these concept cars is that they are harbingers of what’s to come to the market. The DB10 shares a burly posture with Aston Martin’s One-77, a previous concept car, but its longer wheelbase gives it a stout, grippier stance. Beneath its skin, it incorporates the carmaker’s three-year-old, 420 hp Vantage coupe, employing the same 4.7-liter V-8 engine. And in a first for Aston Martin, the DB10 has acquired LEDs for headlights, giving it a thin, sharp, menacing stare. The LEDs also have a practical benefit. They shave weight off the front end and make it lighter. Any time you can take advantage of reducing mass, that has a performance advantage, “ says Reichman, who also designed the company’s first $2 million car—the limited-edition (24 in all) track-only, 12-cylinder, 800 hp Vulcan hypercar.
That car you can buy. The DB10 you can’t. “There will be so many people asking: ‘Can I have one? Can I have one?’” says Reichman, who won’t divulge the car’s production cost. “But there’s only one person who can have this car and drive it. And that’s 007.”
0-60 Speed: 4.7 seconds
Engine: 4.7 liter V-8
Top Speed: 190 mph
Number Produced: 10
This article was originally published in the October 2015 issue of Popular Science, under the title “The Real Star of the James Bond Movie.”