The Aston Martin DBS Superleggera is the boutique British automaker’s latest exotic offering and here are 11 important things you should know about it.
An even faster, sharper vehicle than the already capable DB11 AMR, this machine is designed to be a super grand-tourer, meaning it offers limitless speed and engaging dynamics along with an acceptably comfortable interior and a ride that’s not overly harsh. It seems Aston Martin has checked all the appropriate boxes here. Still, here are 11 finer points about this oh-so-special car.
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11. engine, Engine, ENGINE!
“The car, it is absolutely dominated by what is under the hood,” said Paul Barritt, vehicle line director for DB11 and DBS at Aston Martin. With 5.2-liters’ worth of twin-turbo, 12-cylinder perfection it’s hard to argue with that comment. Whipping up 715 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque, this super GT outmuscles the DB11 AMR, its next of kin, by 85 ponies and a whopping 148 units of twist. Not bad for an engine that, mechanically is unchanged.
SEE ALSO: 2019 Aston Martin DB11 AMR Review
10. Totally (Torque) Tubular!
And that V12 masterpiece connects to an aluminum torque tube enclosing a carbon fiber driveshaft, just like all other Aston Martin sports cars, one that spins a new eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox, the firm’s high-torque 8HP95 unit. “And then attached to that,” explained Barritt “is a shorter final-drive ratio with a mechanical limited-slip diff. So, not only have we dramatically increased the power and the torque, we’ve then shortened the gearing.” Predictably, these alterations result in breathtaking speed.
9. The Performance is Nasty
The DBS’s performance stats were something Barritt could rattle off the top of his head without a moment’s thought, so memorable they are. “Naught to 60 miles an hour is 3.3 seconds, naught to 100 miles an hour in 6.4 and then on to a top speed of 211 [mph],” he said. The DBS Superleggera could be even faster if not for one issue.
8. Get a Grip!
“[Acceleration] all comes down to, can you get it through that contact patch?” said Barritt. “That’s always the challenge… And that’s really the limiting factor with all this.” The car’s custom-made Pirelli tires affixed to standard 21-inch wheels simply can’t withstand the spacetime-bending force of nearly 700 pound-feet of torque, even if they’re 10 millimeters wider than what’s fitted on the DB11.
7. It’s Meant to be Heard
The DBS Superleggera features a quad-outlet exhaust system, one Barritt describes as being redesigned to “emphasize the V12 firing orders,” something that makes it about 10 decibels louder overall than the DB11, a change that patently when in the Sport Plus driving mode. It burbles and cracks, sharing its glorious sounds with every passersby.
6. A Super Grand-Tourer
Clearly, the DBS sits at the top of the DB11 range, but it’s not quite as sporty as Aston Martin’s two-seat Vantage. “So, if you talk about roll angles as a guide, then DB11 is 3 degrees per G roll, Vantage is 2.1 and this is 2.6. So, you can sort of see how it sits in the [family],” said Barritt. Indeed, the Superleggera is an eager driving partner, with instant turn-in from the steering wheel and, of course, ferocious acceleration, but it does all this without a bone-jarring ride, meaning it stays true to its grand-touring roots.
5. Whoa to Match the Go
Making sure it stops as fiercely as it accelerates, the DBS is equipped with standard carbon ceramic brakes. “They’re 410 millimeters at the front, 360 millimeters at the rear,” said Barritt. “They are big.” But beyond just adding fancy binders, engineers did more tuning to alter how they feel. “And then we’ve worked on the brake pedal as well. So, it has a much shorter travel than our other cars and it’s really nicely weighted,” noted Barritt. “It’s a really lovely effort progression, and when you do need to stand into the brake, you know, the car absolutely stops. It’s really confidence inspiring.”
4. Hidden Aerodynamics
“It’s not an overtly aero car, I know [it doesn’t have] big wings, but it’s a very effective aero package,” said Barritt of the DBS Superleggera’s wind-tunnel-tuned body. At top speed it greatest a whopping 180 kilograms (397 pounds) of downforce.
SEE ALSO: 2018 Aston Martin DB11 Volante Review
Creating all this is a carefully tuned body that sculpted in both places you can see and others you can’t. The front splitter manages airflow both over and under the vehicle, while at the rear you find Aston Martin’s innovative Aeroblade II, a virtual spoiler of sorts, complete with a fixed blade, unlike the movable one on the DB11. The outlet duct is also twice as wide on the DBS, for generating much greater downforce.
“And underneath the car there is a series of guide vanes, guiding devices and undertrays that create various suction points as you go down the car to manage the airflow,” said Barritt, adding that really there’s nothing like this aerodynamic package on the standard DB11.
3. A Different Kind of Familiar
Unlike some rival automakers, Aston Martin has been striving to make its vehicles look like they’re part of the same family, though not exactly the same. Compared to the DB11, Superleggera is more aggressive and slightly wider, something you notice, particularly from the front. Comparing these two vehicles to the smaller Vantage Barritt said, “You really can’t mistake the three cars when they’re all lined up together, which is a really important thing for us because, you know, we have been accused of over the last generation of the cars of being a little bit too similar. So, we’ve deliberately gone and made them very different.”
2. “It’s a Bargain”
Nothing with a base price around $310,000 could ever be labeled a value, Barritt nonetheless described the DBS Superleggera as “a bargain for what it is” because of the ridiculous performance and ample prestige it offers. Some of its rivals, which include cars like the Ferrari 812 Superfast, Rolls-Royce Wraith and Lamborghini Aventador, are all more expensive out of the gate, though not wildly so.
1. Is This It?
When asked whether this car represents the limit of what Aston Martin engineers could do with the DB11 Barritt commented, “We all know that the progress of performance never stops, so we won’t stand still, either,” an encouraging sign they could extract even more speed and smiles from this capable platform, though we might have to wait for this theoretical next step to manifest. “Right now, yeah, this is absolutely the pinnacle,” he said.
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