The Aston Martin DBS Superleggera at the international launch. Picture: LERATO MATEBESE
The Aston Martin DBS Superleggera at the international launch. Picture: LERATO MATEBESE

We have driven the new Aston Martin DBS Superleggera, but you will have to wait until August to read our driving impressions of the new model due to an international embargo.

But Marek Reichman, chief creative officer at Aston Martin, took us through his latest project at the international launch.

Based on the DB11 V12 variant, the DBS Superleggera sits at the top of the current Aston range and is described as a Super GT aimed at the Ferrari 812 Superfast.

One of the most beautiful modern cars to come from the stable, the DBS Superleggera (the latter means super-light in Italian) name originates from an Italian coach building company Carrozzeria Touring back in 1936. The Superleggera name not only means super-light, but also refers to a vehicle building process, which comprises the use of duralumin — a trade name for one of the earliest types of age-hardenable aluminium alloys. It originated in the Zeppelin industry prior to the First World War.

Aston Martin has brought back the Superleggera name for the DBS. Picture: LERATO MATEBESE
Aston Martin has brought back the Superleggera name for the DBS. Picture: LERATO MATEBESE

The Italian nomenclature is a return to form for Aston Martin as the name first appeared in both the DB4 and DB5 Superleggera built models.

The original Superleggera system is no longer used in high-volume construction as the body would not meet modern impact resistance standards, not to mention the cost of manufacture and the risk of corrosion between the aluminium panels and steel frame.

Carbon fibre

Things have progressed since the original, and the DBS Superleggera, according to Reichman, consists of some lightweight construction that includes a carbon fibre clamshell bonnet, optional carbon fibre roof (2kg lighter than metal roof) and a carbon fibre boot and propshaft. Overall, the vehicle is 70kg lighter than the DB11 it is based on.

The gaping front grille might look slightly oversized in the pictures but I am happy to report that in the metal it is elegant, sporty even, as it complements the low and wide stance of the vehicle, which might not be as obvious in the pictures.

Not one panel or angle of the car looks out of place and the entire body is beautifully sculpted, like a piece of automotive art. The new venturi airducts on the bonnet give the front end a cleaner look as there is little in the way of additional addenda and air blades for additional aerodynamics, while the rest of the air flows over the vehicle and into an integrated spoiler. Unlike the spoiler on the DB11 that deploys at speed, the DBS’s fixed gurney-like unit, finished in carbon fibre, also ornates the rest of the package.

In the company of the predatory Vantage and the elegant DB11, both of which were on display adjacent to the DBS Superleggera, it is quite obvious that the latter is the most striking and most powerful of the trio.

"Being the most powerful in the range, the DBS’s design was deliberately meant to project this image. If you had to ask someone to point at the most powerful model of the trio, they will inadvertently finger the DBS," says Reichman.

Being based on the DB11’s 5.2l twin-turbo V12, the DBS turns up the wick to the tune of 544kW and 900Nm — 86kW and 200Nm more than the DB11 — while it also comes with a new, conventional torque converter ZF eight-speed gearbox to better cope with the additional torque figure.

Three models of the DBS Superleggera, which have all been spoken for, will arrive in SA in October this year with a base price of R5.65m.

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