As much as we love the Aston Martin Vanquish, it is now getting on a bit. It’s one of the few remaining links to ‘old’ Aston, and as the British manufacturer continues to reinvent itself, it needs to be replaced. And that’s precisely what Gaydon has done with this: the DBS Superleggera.
Chief designer Miles Nürnberger fondly referred to it as a “brute in a suit” at a preview event we attended a few weeks ago, and we can see why. Under that classy yet angry body, you’ll find a 5.2-litre V12, twin-turbocharged for your pleasure. It develops 715bhp and 664lb ft of torque, which is what you might call sufficient.
It’s the same engine used by the DB11, so you’re probably wondering what Aston Martin had to do to extract an extra 115bhp, but the answer is nada. There are no mechanical changes here, just a software fiddle to change the boost pressure, giving you an idea of just how under-stressed the engine is in the Superleggera’s waftier cousin.
It’s also 72kg lighter thanks to the extensive use of carbonfibre in its construction (its body panels are made from the stuff, among other things), making it very, very fast: 0-62mph happens in 3.4 seconds, while 0-100mph is done in just 6.4. In fourth gear, 50-100mph is achievable in four seconds, which is a second quicker than a Ferrari F12 manages. At the top end, it’ll keep going until you reach 211mph.
The suspension setup is derived from the V8 DB11’s, which is considerably firmer than that of the V12 model. Adaptive dampers are fitted as standard, with GT, Sport and Sport Plus modes varying the stiffness. At the back you’ll find a mechanical limited-slip differential.
Where it gets really interesting is the aero side of things: the DBS generates more downforce than any other production Aston Martin, and it does so without any big wings or other devices jutting out of the body. It’s all down to clever stuff you can’t see, like a carefully sculpted underbody that aids airflow, and a development of Aston’s Aeroblade system that’s best thought of as a spoiler made of air.
The interior is - as you’d expect - a festival of carbonfibre, wood, and delicious quilted leather. Oh, and a smattering of Daimler electronics. To hammer home the car’s sportier nature relative to the DBS meanwhile, the huge paddle-shifters for the transaxle-mounted eight-speed automatic gearbox are pinched straight from the Vantage.
Like what you see? The DBS Superleggera will set you back £225,000 and up in the UK, or $304,995 if you’re Stateside. First deliveries kick off during the third quarter of 2018.