Aston Martin DBS Superleggera: Monster Power Meets Premium Luxury
Twin turbo V12 with 715 horsepower makes this new DBS one of Aston Martin’s best ever.
The majority of the focus of the media and many attendees at the ongoing 2018 Los Angeles International Auto Show is the new vehicle debuts, but while the 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera has been seen before, it is guaranteed to draw loads of attention at the show. After all, in addition to striking exterior styling and the premium cabin that you would expect from a range-topping Aston Martin, this new DBS features a twin turbocharged V12 that delivers a whopping 715 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque.
Meet the DBS
The 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera is based on the DB11 AMR, with much of the body, the chassis and the suspension being shared between the two. Where the DBS differs is in the front end design, the power output and the weight, of course. Superleggera translates to “super light”, so it should come as no surprise that this car is 154 pounds lighter than the DB11. This weight loss was achieved by replacing aluminum components with carbon fiber, with the most significant pieces being the huge hood, the deck lid and the roof panel.
While the hood is carbon fiber to help save weight, it also features unique vents while extending out over a huge central grille that runs from the hood to the front splitter. That large opening is flanked by two smaller ducts, each of which supplies cool air to one of the six heat exchangers, but the addition of the front splitter helps to improve stability at high speeds.
To be exact, where the DB11 has 45 pounds of downforce out back and 100 pounds of lift up front at high speed, the DBS has 265 pounds of rear downforce and 132 pounds of front downforce. As a result, the car is far more stable at high speeds, and with a top speed of 211 miles per hour, stability is important.
The heart of the 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera is the same 5.2-liter twin turbocharge V12 that is found in the DB11 AMR. No components of the engine are changed from one car to the other, but with the extra heat exchangers and a unique tune, the DBS offers 715 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque. The DB11 offers “only” 630 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, so the engine tune applied to the Superleggera adds 85 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque. Those are incredible numbers for an engine tune by a manufacturer, making you wonder how much more power an aftermarket tuner could unleash.
In any case, all off that V12 power is sent to the rear wheels by means of a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission, helping this Aston dash from a stop to 60 in the low-three-second range while reaching the aforementioned top speed of 211. However, this car isn’t just about acceleration and top speed. Like most modern Aston Martin models, this is a grand tourer, designed to handle sharp turns and deliver smooth ride.
Unique Ride Tuning
The Aston Martin DBS Superleggera is more stable at high speeds thanks to the added aero work, but the engineers also tweaked the power steering system and the suspension setup. The electronically-assisted power steering system has been tuned to be more aggressive, giving the driver more control with better responsiveness. The dampers were also retuned to handle the load of all of that power, helping to make the car more enjoyable at all speeds, with a setup that is not quite as stiff as the DB11 AMR, but stiff enough to allow this big coupe to carve through the corners.
The 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera is the brand’s flagship and the price reflects that. The DB11 AMR starts at $244,081 while the DBS starts at $308,081 and that doesn’t include the $4,500 carbon fiber roof. In other words, the Superleggera in its loaded form is better than $100,000 more than the DB11, but it is hard to argue with the advantages of the DBS over the closely-related DB11.
Photos for Team Speed by D.M. Ciminelli