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First look: Aston Martin uncovers DBS Superleggera

Super light: Weighing in at 1790 kilograms, the DBS Superleggera is 72kg lighter than the recently-superseded V12 DB11, thanks to its carbon-fibre body and bonded aluminium sub-structure.

Aston Martin Australia sells entire 2018 allocation of brutal DBS Superleggera


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27 Jun 2018

ASTON Martin has uncovered its “brute in the suit”, the DBS Superleggera, with the sold-out grand tourer priced from $517,000 before on-road costs ahead of Australian deliveries starting as early as late October this year.
However, buyers looking to place an order for the DBS Superleggera are currently facing about a ten-month wait as Australia’s 2018 allocation of 25 examples has already been spoken for, while the local allotment for 2019 is yet to be finalised.
Speaking to journalists at a DBS Superleggera media preview event in Melbourne last month, Aston Martin Australia and New Zealand regional manager Kevin Wall made the new model’s place in the company’s range clear.
“For us, this is a DB11 on steroids,” he said. “There has been some talk around that this is a replacement for Vanquish – this is not the case.”
As such, rumours that the Vanquish nameplate will soon return on a mid-engined sportscar, which looks to take on the Ferrari 488 GTB and McLaren 720S, have gathered further steam.
“In fact, the team at Gaydon are calling (the DBS Superleggera) ‘the brute in the suit’,” Mr Wall continued. “You’ll see what they mean.”
The DBS Superleggera sits below the track-only Vulcan and forthcoming Valkyrie hypercars in Aston Martin’s line-up, but these two models are not available in Australia.
Motivated by a 5.2-litre twin-turbocharged V12 petrol engine shared with the $428,000 DB11 AMR, the retuned DBS Superleggera produces 533kW of power at 6500rpm and 900Nm of torque from 1800rpm to 5000rpm, – up 63kW and 200Nm over the former.
These outputs are exclusively sent to the rear wheels via a rear-mounted eight-speed ZF torque-convertor automatic transmission. A rear mechanical limited-slip differential with torque vectoring helps to optimise handling.
As a result, the DBS Superleggera can dash from standstill to 100km/h in 3.4 seconds while on the way to its top speed of 340km/h, at which point 180kg of downforce is being generated over its rear wheels. Thus, it is 0.3s quicker and 5km/h faster than the DB11 AMR.
In-gear acceleration is also mighty, with the sprint from 80km/h to 120km/h taking just 2.0s in fourth gear, while reaching 160km/h requires an extra 2.2s.
Comparatively, the 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 petrol engine in Ferrari’s $610,000 812 Superfast produces 588kW at 8500rpm and 718Nm at 7000rpm, enabling a 2.9s triple-digit sprint and a 340km/h terminal velocity.
Weighing in at 1693 kilograms, the DBS Superleggera is 72kg lighter than the recently-superseded V12 DB11, thanks to its carbon-fibre body – excluding the aluminium door panels that are shared with the latter – and bonded aluminium sub-structure.
The independent suspension set-up features double-wishbone front and multi-link rear axles that each incorporate coil springs, anti-roll bars and adaptive dampers, with the latter controllable via three dynamic driving modes – GT, Sport and Sport Plus.
Braking is handled by a carbon-ceramic package, which consists of 410mm discs with six-piston callipers up front and 360mm rotors with four-pot stoppers at the rear, while 21-inch alloy wheels wrapped in mixed Pirelli P-Zero tyres (265/35 front, 305/30 rear) are placed ahead.
The DBS Superleggera’s exhaust system features quad tailpipes and active valves to ensure there is a suitable bark to match its bite. This noise can be altered by the aforementioned driving modes.
Measuring in at 4712mm long, 1968mm wide and 1280mm tall, the two-door DBS Superleggera is 27mm shorter, 28mm wider and 1mm taller than the V12 DB11, which has the same 2805mm wheelbase.
The aggressive exterior design is highlighted by the honeycomb front grille, front splitter, Curlicue front wheelarch vents, side strakes, Aeroblade II rear bootlid spoiler and Formula One-inspired double-rear diffuser. Full-LED headlights, tail-lights and daytime running lights are also included.
However, trainspotters will notice that Aston Martin’s signature winged badge is missing from the DBS Superleggera’s bootlid, which instead features the brand’s name spelt out for the first time.
Inside, the similarities between the four-seat DBS Superleggera and DB11 are clearer, highlighted by the common centre stack and dashboard designs, which are punctuated by Daimler’s 8.0-inch infotainment system and touchpad controller as part of a deal with the German giant to share some components.
While Caithness leather and Alcantara upholstery is standard, Balmoral full-leather trim is optional, with each covering the Sports Plus seats and steering wheel with fixed paddle shifters.
Other standard equipment includes satellite navigation, digital radio, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, heated front seats, keyless entry, surround-view cameras, park assist and tyre pressure monitoring.
Estimated claimed fuel consumption on the combined cycle test is 12.3 litres per 100 kilometres, while carbon dioxide emissions have been tested at 285 grams per kilometre.
When questioned if a drop-top Volante or performance-honed AMR version of the DBS Superleggera were on the cards, Mr Wall explained he was not aware of any plans.
He added that the arrival of the DBS Superleggera is not expected to have a negative effect on sales of the mechanically related DB11 line-up, which has recently expanded with V8 and Volante options.
“I think it’s a different kind of buyer from what we’ve had (with DB11),” he said. “People that are buying DB11 now, there’s a little bit of a shift from V12 to V8 … and (Volante’s) going well. I wish we could get more production of Volante for this market – that would be good.
“It’s maybe too early for me to give you a definitive answer (on the DB11 sales impact) … but we’ve had a lot of people walking in from (Ferrari) having a look.”
When questioned by GoAuto if performance enthusiasts considering Ferrari and other supercar brands would represent this ‘different kind of buyer’, Mr Wall said: “I suspect you’re right.
“We’ve got to look after our own owners first, because they’re a loyal bunch and we look after them very well, but certainly (the DBS Superleggera) will attract some people from other brands – there’s no doubt about that.
“We would love more female (Aston Martin) buyers, but they’re proving a little elusive to date.”
He also confirmed that Aston Martin has been holding local preview events since last month, with small groups of customers given a sneak peek at the DBS Superleggera ahead of its international debut this week.
As previously reported, this marks the third use of the DBS moniker, which first appeared on the 1967 model before returning on the 2008 GT made famous by the 2007 James Bond film Casino Royale.
The Superleggera designation – Italian for ‘super light’ – pays homage to Italian automotive coach-builder Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera, which worked with Aston Martin on the 1958 DB4, 1963 DB5 and 1965 DB6 Mark I GTs.
Australia sales of Aston Martin Coupes and Volantes (including the DB11, Vanquish and Vantage) have taken a hit this year, with 59 examples sold to the end of May – a 6.3 per cent decrease over the 63 deliveries made during the same period in 2017.

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