Aston Martin has revealed the DBS Superleggera, its fastest and most powerful sportscar that has the Ferrari 812 Superfast in its sight. The British manufacturer has revived the DBS nameplate last seen in 2012 for the new model, which effectively replaces the Vanquish S as its performance range-topper. The Superleggera suffix means ‘super light’ in Italian and harks back to the original DBS from 1967. The Vanquish name will now be saved for the firm’s McLaren 720S-rivalling mid-engined supercar, due in 2021.
While it effectively replaces the Vanquish S, the new DBS Superleggera has a different brief. Aston Martin’s exterior design chief, Miles Nurnberger, said the name was “just wonderfully romantic”, and added: “This car is what it says it is. If we’d gone with another generation of Vanquish, you’d have a different car here.”
The new DBS Superleggera is based on the underpinnings of the DB11 and shares the same Aston-made turbocharged 5.2-litre V12 engine. The unit has been reworked to make 725hp, compared with 639hp in the DB11 AMR. In the Superleggera, the engine generates 900Nm, available at 1,800-5,000rpm. That’s 201Nm more than the DB11 AMR.
To handle the extra power and torque, the rear-wheel-drive DBS Superleggera gains a new transmission and gearbox, with a drive ratio of 2:9:1 (compared with 2:7:1 on the DB11). This means a claimed 0-100kph time of 3.4sec, a 0-160kph in 6.4sec and a 0-200kph time of less than 9sec. All these figures are traction-limited.
The Superleggera sports a bolder front grille, along with new headlights and tail-lights, to further differentiate it from the DB11, as part of Aston’s plan to put more space between the cars in its range. It is the first car not to feature the brand’s winged logo on its rear boot lid, with the name Aston Martin spelt out there instead.
Also new is a quad exhaust system, which has been tuned to produce a “more expressive” noise, according to chief engineer Matt Becker. That makes it 10db louder than the DB11.
The bodywork features a front splitter, extensive underbody aerodynamics, a rear diffuser and a new Aeroblade 2 rear wing, generating 60kg of downforce at the front of the car and 120kg at the rear. The 180kg total downforce is the most of any road-going Aston Martin, yet the DBS produces the same drag as the DB11, which makes just 70kg of downforce.
The DBS Superleggera has a dry weight of 1,693kg. It sits on bespoke Pirelli P Zero tyres, with 21-inch wheels.
Despite those figures, Becker said the car has been designed to combine comfort and performance.
Becker said extensive tuning work has been done on the ESP and traction control to cope with the torque and how quickly it builds up. He added: “It has a playful nature. If you slide the car and know how to drive, it gives you all the information you need to make the right decision about when to put your foot on or off the throttle.”
Aston Martin is targeting existing Vanquish customers as well as Ferrari buyers who want “something that is as quick but less intimidating”, according to Nurnberger.
The DBS Superleggera is due to go on sale later this year in coupé form. A Volante version, which has already been spied testing, is set to arrive in early 2019.
Aston Martin DBS Superleggera vs Ferrari 812 Superfast:
Power: 725hp vs 800hp
Torque: 900Nm vs 719Nm
Top speed: 340kph vs 340kph
0-100kph: 3.4sec vs 2.9sec
Dry weight: 1,693kg vs 1,630kg