Modern culture loves a good restart, and Aston Martin is in a quite epic one. It all started with DB11, the first episode in a modern retooling of a loved franchise, sporting generations of passionate fans, as some Marvel Cinematic Universe features would kill. After the V12 DB11 came to predictable V8 and convertible variations on the theme, followed by the smaller, lighter and harder edge of Vantage. Then Aston really beat DB11 up to 11 with the racer.
Where do you travel from there? Larger, baths and faster, of course. Welcome to $ 304,995 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera, a car with pedigree and beauty to make even the most practical car purchases a little weak in your knees. It also has the power: 71
A strong foundation
DBS Superleggera is the latest adaptation of the formula that made DB11 so successful including the same basic structure and suspension and even the same 5.2-liter twin turbo V12 spinning an eight-speed automatic transmission . This car then shares more than a small DNA with DB11, but it's not to say that nothing has changed.
There is a new ZF transmission on the back, which is needed to handle the massive 663 pound foot of torque – 150 more than DB11 and 130 more than the Ferrari 812 Superfast
The increase in performance comes solely thanks to increased boost, almost 3 PSI (0.2 bar) worth, plus a new exhaust. Aston did not even throw a token stamp upgrade or any other revision beyond software to boost V12 up to the amazing 663 lb-ft with torque and 715 horsepower. But more power means more heat, so cooling was heavily upgraded to compensate, something DB11 owners should think about before calling their friendly local tuners.
A revised suspension tune divides the difference between the plenant DB11 and the evil Vantage, although the general configuration is more common with the former than the latter. Carbon ceramic brakes around are standard and there is much more carbon in the entire car, resulting in a weight reduction of 159 pounds over DB11 if you specify the optional titanium-exhaust and lithium-ion battery. The Superleggera brand on the snout is more than marketing. It's 3 732 pounds if you count, with a 51:49 front: backweight distribution.
A beautiful look
As most of the underpinnings are shared between DBS and DB11, it's not surprising that the styling is also family-like. While the doors and the glass are actually the same between the two cars, everything else turns this new Aston into something else. While DB11 is a nice car, DBS Superleggera is a sultry, blaze and wave in all the right places to announce abilities and intentions.
It starts on the front with a nose flowing in much the same way as the DB11, now opened to provide more airflow. The cap has large perforations, which gives an aggressive first impression. Aston Martin's traditional horizontal side rail behind the front wheels was replaced here with a higher series of threads designed to stabilize airflow around the side of the car.
On the backside, DBS DB11's C column entry, which in turn feels air through the back of the car and channel it upwards into the back of the bumper to create a crush. But on DBS, a solid aerodynamic lip supports the air flow. This tweak, plus a double diffuser mounted under the rear bumper and many other massages, creates a combined 400 pounds downspeed at maximum speed, most of any production Aston Martin.
Everything means that it will be planted in speed and cool at the border, but be sure that it will always be your head even when you're still.
Hitting the road
The Alps of Bavaria and Austria offer some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet. For those who are more interested in driving, the roads twist between these creepy peaks and twist in some very convincing ways. Unfortunately, not only automotive journalists are drawn to this global tourist destination. In fact, most of my station was behind the usual European collection of slow wagons and small rentals that swam from bakery to path.
The public can destroy the drive, but they certainly eliminate any doubts about what kind of drawing DB11 creates. The heads were turned and the fingers pointed at each of the little towns I led through. I lost the story of the number of clever snapshots that were caught by me behind the wheel in this long, low, sharp rocket. A barking and rubbing of the exhaust certainly helped, but be sure that DBS Superleggera is a car with first-class presence.
That traffic also gave me good opportunity to try what is in some way the hardest part of a car like this: Comfort. Making a brutally fast car is hardly easy, but making a brutally fast car comfortable and soothing driving is a serious challenge. In this regard, Aston Martin for the most part succeeded . DBS offers DB11's heated and cooled seating, which is both supportive and spotless, top-shelf materials and a B & O sound system that does not disappoint. If there is a mistake here, the interior really does not feel more special than DB11, a strong contrast to the outside.
The steering is easy and the overall driving experience is far from fatigue, but the carbon brakes are a little careful when working through casual traffic. Worse, their squeals started to congratulate my nerves after a while. DB11 is still the better tourist, if only with a hair, but DBS is meant for those who want more engagement, and when the traffic eventually removed, I could confirm that it delivers.
Although the suspension, which is always composed, even in its most sporty setting, DBS hits the corners with amazing animation. The nose feels incredibly keen and while the 21 "Pirelli P Zero tires offer amazing levels of grip, the meat of ais not enough to cope with all that power. Those with anything but a featherlight application of the correct pedal will feel the traction control a lot, and it's far from subtle.
You will also feel that torque is cut in the first gear. The purpose of rescuing the transfer from spinning into an early grave is torque cut at 150 feet in first gear when in Sport + mode, the most aggressive. But if you're down in GT mode, it's the most relaxed you're losing 200. In others, you get 530 pound feet and it's not until the third gives you full power – and then only if you're in Sport + .
This means that in GT mode, you're actually limited to 463 ft-lbs, and while it's not small, it actually feels a little slow, especially when you approach the upper part of the ribbon. Impromptu bursts of acceleration require switching from GT through Sport and Sport +, which is still an unfortunately slow process, and requires about one second per touch on wheel-mounted mode to change. (Something like the Porsche Sport Response button, giving you 20 seconds of full prayer by pressing a button will help a lot.)
But in the third gear and in the proper driving mode, the bar here is nothing short of epic . Really missing amounts of power will push you back into the seat and hard. With the maximum power available in all the remaining five gears, you're incredibly likely to run out of your way before you run out of speed. In the right environment, however, DBS can hit a full 211 mph.
Aston Martin DBS Superleggera is amazing to see, and while it has a few feelings, a monster partner is more than living up to appearance. The DB11 might still be a bit more comfortable tourist and Vantage the more goal-conscious experience, but the unbelievable speed of DBS really sets it apart from its superbil's sibling.
And what about the competition from Ferrari? The electronics and driver help Aston are a little rudimentary compared to what's coming out of Maranello these days, and while I did not test DBS on a closed circuit, I expect 812 Superfast to be, well, faster. That would be the more exciting choice as well. But as far as the more nuanced aspects of a Super Grand Tourer are concerned, not only do the exciting parts of the road dominate, but also over the long strokes in between – and turn your heads all the way – DBS Superleggera is a scary, goal-conscious and beautiful animal.
Editor's Note : Roadshow accepts multi-day vehicle loans from manufacturers to provide editorial reviews. All evaluated vehicle reviews are carried out on our turf and on our terms. But for this feature, the manufacturer covered travel expenses. This is common in the automotive industry, as it is far more economical to send journalists to cars than to send cars to journalists.
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