Aston Martin’s new DBS Superleggera is a beautifully brutal grand tourer

Updated on July 4 2018

When the DB11 first teased its perfectly-ratioed massive clamshell bonnet to the world a year ago, hearts were stirred, and it looked like Aston Martin was back in the grand tourer business again. Even so, it didn’t take long for gearheads to lose focus on the suave 600hp coupe, especially when the year has been a bumper one for supercars. Allow us then to introduce its evil twin: The Aston Martin DBS Superleggera. Here’s why the Vanquish S replacement is a big deal.

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The 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera.

The DBS nameplate isn’t another marketing buzzword to attract attention — it actually has a legacy. First used on their 1967-72 grand tourer coupe, the DBS went on to become the quintessential James Bond car, from being a missile-equipped weapon in Diamonds are Forever to getting barrel-rolled in Casino Royale.

The Superleggera suffix — also revived from the original DBS in 1967 — means “super light” in Italian, and pays homage to the historic lightweight construction of famous Italian coachbuilder Touring. The legendary collaboration between the two once paved the way for other greats such as the DB4, 5, 6 and Mark 1.

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Based on the DB11’s platform, lightness is achieved via full carbon-fibre body panels. These panels shave 72kg off its V12 counterpart despite being fitted with the same 5.2-litre turbocharged powertrain, which was tinkered to unleash 715 horses worth of beastly power and 900Nm of torque to the rear tyres. Your next task is to then find a spot of land vast enough for its bespoke 21-inch Pirelli P Zeros to take you to 100kph in a blistering 3.4 seconds. Keep going and you’ll hit the top speed of 350kph — the same as its closest rival, the Ferrari 812 Superfast.

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New tweaks enhance the performance of the grand tourer on straights and around the bends.

But it’s not all straight-line fun with the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera — it picks up where the DB11 AMR left off with performance. A lower adaptive suspension, bespoke geometry settings, mechanical differential and torque vectoring by braking all help make the DBS feel pointier and stay flatter around the apex.

Aesthetically, the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera is best described as the DB11’s delinquent sibling, with slashes and bulges courtesy of significant aerodynamic upgrades. The bodywork now features extensive underbody aerodynamics, a rear diffuser, a front splitter and a new Aeroblade 2 rear wing. The latter is responsible for generating 60kg of downforce at the front, and 120kg at the rear — the most of any road-going Aston Martin yet. The honeycomb front grille has been magnified to match the power, as with the new quad exhaust system, tuned for “quality noise” instead of the usual “more noise”.

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Mercedes-AMG continues to outfit Aston Martin’s interior with state-of-the-art tech.

Inside, the DBS Superleggera serves up the entertainment that Ferrari’s 812 Superfast sorely lacks. The classic interior layout includes all the technical bits and bobs you love from Mercedes-AMGs, thanks to the dream collab established last year. At the rear, the iconic winged badge on the boot is replaced by the marque’s name spelt out — the first car by Aston Martin to do so.

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The DBS Superleggera is the first Aston Martin to not feature the winged badge on the rear boot.

As expected, this car will require far more cash than the regular DB11. To be optimistic, it will still be slightly more affordable than the 812 Superfast. This is, after all, Aston’s rowdiest Super Grand Tourer, one where performance is finally not exchanged for comfort.

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(All images: Aston Martin)