Have you ever looked across a crowded room and said to yourself, “Wow, he or she sure is hot . . . except for that nose!” Yeah, well, the new Aston Martin DBS Superleggera is like that. It works from a whole bunch of different angles, but the entire grille treatment is way off.
Specifically, the radiator aperture, the opening, is way too big and out of proportion with the rest of the car. Sure, I understand there are thermodynamic concerns here (i.e. this thing has to put out a ton of heat and has cooling needs slightly less than Chernobyl on a bad day) but the people from Gaydon could have finessed that a little better.
Or, let’s set the dead fish where it belongs, at the Milanese drafting tables of Superleggera, the Italian design maestros that sculpted the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera. Superleggera, the Italian auto design firm famed for their work on early Ferraris, Alfas, Lancias and such, were tapped by the venerable Aston Martin to have a tilt at a sort of hot-rodded DBS, and the result is pretty fantastic.
Apart from that nose.
Of course this is not the first time AM and Superleggera have worked together, having collaborated on the DB4, 5, and 6 Mark 1. The new DBS Superleggera is clothed in impeccably sculpted carbon fiber body panels. Gone are the days of the Italian firm using ultra-thin aluminum alloy body panels, hand beaten into shape and then suspended over the spaceframe chassis with a multitude of teeny, tiny little tubes to hold the entire thing up.
Nah, time marches on, and as cool and old school as that was, molding even lighter body panels out of composites is a much better way to go.
Power & Performance
All this new tech adds up to a dry weight of 1693kg (around 3,700 lbs.) and tips the weights and measures with a 51:49 weight distribution. In other words, just a little nose heavy. Which sort of follows, given that the DBS Superleggera is powered by Aston Martin’s 5.2-liter twin-turbo V12, cranking out 725PS and 900Nm of torque. That translates as 715 ponies and around 660 lb-ft. of grunt.
All this veddy British goodness rides on your choice of two alloy wheels: the standard “Y” Spoke Forged Wheel or the Lightweight Twin Spoke Forged Wheel. Both are mounted with Pirelli tires.
Add all that up and the DBS Superleggera dispatches a zero to 62 mph time of just 3.4 seconds, hits 100 mph in 6.4 seconds, and tops out at 211 mph. Aston further mentions this beast of a ride has enough mid-range power to accelerate from 50 to 100 mph in 4.2 seconds. In fourth gear. Impressive.
Transmission, Chassis & Technology
Speaking of gears, the DBS Superleggera uses a new, rear-mounted ZF eight-speed automatic/mechanical limited-slip differential with torque vectoring. Yes, the DBS Superleggera is rear-wheel drive only. The chassis itself is the latest generation of the lightweight bonded aluminum structures first seen on Aston’s DB11. There’s forged double wishbones at the front and a multi-link system at the back. Adaptive damping is standard, and both the powertrain and chassis offer three dynamic modes; GT, Sport, and Sport Plus.
And although the Superleggera aims to be “Super Light” as the name implies, it does not scrimp on the goodies. Keyless entry, tire pressure monitoring system, a 360-degree camera, and Park Assist are in the mix. The stereo has DAB plus Bluetooth audio and phone streaming, and iPod, iPhone, and USB playback.
The satellite navigation system is fully integrated; the WiFi hub, plus all the in-car infotainment systems use a central LCD screen, controlled via a dial.
Pricing & Availability
Prices start at $304,995 in the USA with deliveries expected to begin this fall.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. His forthcoming new book The Future In Front of Me, The Past Behind Me will be available soon. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz