The last Aston Martin. At least until the Valkyrie moves upwards. And even when it does, this is the car that embodies the values of the Aston brand better than any other. Potentially powerful double-turbo Aston Martin Dbs Superleggera V12 in front, rear wheel drive, 2 + 2 design inside. How powerful? 715 bhp. Aston refers to this as a “gross in a suit “. Yes, I’m serious.
It is located above the Vantage (‘ Hunter ‘) of £ 120k and the DB11 (‘ Gentleman ‘) of £ 140k-£ 175k (‘ Gentleman ‘) at the top of the range of three powerful models, and it has carbon body panels to help justify the sale price of £225.000.
As you can see from the proportions, underneath has much in common with the DB11, the same platform and the basic engine, but the key addition is a high-torque version of the ZF eight-speed gearbox. This is able to cope with 700lb ft of torque, approaching 200lb ft more than the standard ZF gearbox in the AMR DB11. It’s not just a software recalibration, this gearbox has a different casing to contain the reinforced internal parts.
The key figure, says Aston, is not 715 bhp, but the 663 lb ft are available from 1,800- -5, 000rpm. Aston is keen to point out that a Ferrari 812 superfast falls short with 134 lb ft and makes you wait until 7.000 rpm to get those 529lb ft. However, as we will see, DBS is a very different type of car. But not a slow one. By sending its power through a mechanical LSD, it has the ability to reach 62 mph in 3.4 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 211 mph: three-tenths and 3 mph faster than the DB11 AMR. Not big earnings on paper, but actually…
The message is clear: the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera can share bases with the DB11, but this is a more muscular machine in every way. 72 kg lighter weight thanks to the carbon body and capable of generating 180 kg of aerodynamic load (Division 60:120 front and rear) at maximum speed without drag penalty compared to the DB11. That’s for stability more than any scams focused on the track, because the front of the DB11 actually generates a slight elevation. Dynamically, the DBS Superleggera is placed in the space between the sporting Vantage and the GT-ish DB11.
For DBS, read DB11, just a little more glamour. Still, four seats (the most strident of all the car are the complaints emanating from forced on wheels), the boot has an identical size and shape (wide, not deep), but the general atmosphere is very familiar.
The version has been improved, the options are certainly more extensive and has been given a sharper touch to the blades, but this is still a more closed cabin, less organized and easy to use than a Bentley Continental GT. The center console is still tight, there is still no room to place the large and heavy key, and the seats do not feel more enveloping than those of the DB11.
The quality of the material is sublime, the quality of construction is more than acceptable, but the design and design needs work. This would have been the time to solve it.
This Aston Martin Dbs Superleggera is a powerful car. It’s not explosive, it’s not urgent, it’s powerful. The fourth and fifth gear sweepers are where they are. Why? Because at those speeds in those gears you can actually use torque, it allows the thrust to push you towards the next straight. As the tricks of the party progress, this deep and relentless thrust feels wonderful, so effortless, accessible, safe and sound that it is a luxury on its own.
This character defines the DBS Superleggera. Only in terms of design and price is this a rival for a Ferrari 812 superfast (English car with Italian name, Italian automobile with English name-rare, eh?). The 812 is a wild in comparison, the engine a masterpiece, the ultra-active and hectic auto, handling a constant bombardment.
Consuming a continent? You’d have the Aston every time. You can have the shortest final unit of the Vantage (2.9:1 instead of 2.7), but this is still a long-legged machine, with only 2.000 revolutions per minute at 70 mph in eighth. At that speed, the engine is a sophisticated purr, the wind is nothing more than a steering wheel, the trip has been dampened so impressively that you do not notice the work you are doing. It stays level and quiet, but not smooth: it has nothing of the vertical float and the slack that used to damage the DB11.
It is this composure in almost all conditions that characterize DBS. He manages to rise above the turbulence. Like the DB11, it is not an easy car to position in the city: the bonnet is long and the visibility is damaged by the confluence of the Pillar A and the mirror. But their manners are polished, they respond well to the accelerator and the brake, they lubricate themselves through the gears, all the time accompanied by this engine of purr and approved suspension. Even here it moves more athletically than the DB11.
It shares the same dual-link front and rear triangle configuration, but lowers 5 mm, uses larger 21-inch rims and features custom geometry configurations. Increased front and rear inclination to sharpen curves and shrubs are also stronger. Like Vantage and DB11, the engine and chassis can be selected with the steering wheel buttons, passing through GT, Sport and Sport Plus modes.
In the type of roads you would enjoy managing DBS, Sport works very well. I suspect that in the UK you might want to push the suspension back to Comfort, but on the softer roads of Germany and Austria the stricter control of sport was not an exact penalty. And it felt good here. The steering is heavy (there are two maps, one for Comfort, one for Sport/Sport Plus), but it is accurate with a rack that is fast enough to ensure that it rarely moves the hilt, but never makes the front feel darty or irregular . Partly because of the weight you are working with when you apply a blockage.
The whole car is well-judged. It moves like a piece, it behaves cleanly and is deeply satisfying. It is only in the output of the slow curves that you need to observe the torque, to moderate the throttle, that you want to immerse yourself in the menus to loosen the traction control. There is still, under duress, a small proportion of the twisting that the DB11 suffered.
But that’s just enough when you have 663 lb ft trying to find your way to the track. And that push is easily handled. Partly because the traction control is activated more smoothly now, partly because the torque is not as blunt as the figures suggest. It is not until the revolutions of the needles pass more than 2,500 rpm that you feel all the effects, but at that moment you need to start concentrating, because the speed that the DBS launches forward is much more surprising than the DB11.
The motor never gets taut, not even at 7.000 rpm. He just does what he does with calm and dedication. The 50 mph jump of 50-100 mph on the fourth march is shipped in 4.2 seconds. It’s a very fast car. Quick supercar, but with kinder manners. And it sounds lovely. 10db stronger than the DB11, says Aston, but still not obnoxious, and the bursts and explosions in Sport and Sport Plus have been well judged.
The front end, which uses tyres 10 mm wider than the DB11 and a thicker anti-tip bar, is sharp and accurate without being aggressive, while the 51:49 weight distribution (gearbox is a rear gearbox), helps keep the DBS well balanced and n a whole corner. As I said before, the car just moves well. If a component felt a bit out of tune, it was the brakes, although a pad update is due before deliveries begin in September.
Costs and Reliability
I suspect DBS is an easy sell for Aston dealers. It’s a more assertive and powerful car than the DB11, and for the rich, the price differential of £50.000 probably isn’t here or there. So who’s going to buy the AMR DB11 now? The cheapest V8 I can see a role for; The Aston Martin Dbs Superleggera V12, minus. It is more discreet what can attract some, but surely the vast majority will want the one that seems to have worked. Speaking of how it looks, I wasn’t sure when I saw it in the pictures, but it’s actually fantastic, much more appealing and flashy than the DB11.
Rivals? Well, as mentioned above, the 812 superfast is another fish kettle, so you’re looking at the Bentley Conti GT. On paper is slower, but with 4WD it is more able to deploy its power at relevant speeds. But the Bentley is also substantially heavier, so it is based more on the electronics of its chassis and is less rewarding when driving: it does not have the same simplicity and clarity of communication as the Aston. That said, how long before Aston has to lean against the pressure and think about 4WD?
For all of Aston’s claims about DBS’s sporting ability, this is not a radical change, but another Aston GT pod pea. More sharp and muscular than before, but essentially very similar to the DB11. No doubt it will sell, but surely at the expense of sales DB11.
We’ve heard a lot about the extra investment you’re investing in Aston and here’s not where it’s gone. Instead, the Aston Martin Dbs Superleggera is another model to keep the company running until the new St Athan plant is set up to build the DBX crossover. That, plus the Valkyrie and the mid-motor supercar (indeed, seven models over the next seven years), will be Aston’s chance to show that there is more to the company than a family range of sports GT.
That may sound like I’m firing DBS. I’m not. It is an excellent sport GT and will adapt perfectly to the people it is aimed at. It is a DB11 more tense, more alert and athletic, faster and better to handle. It has the ability to take your breath away, and it is currently the only Aston you can say that about.