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Aston Martin DBS Superleggera spotted at the Nürburgring

Will Beaumont
6 Jun 2018

Aston Martin’s DBS Superleggera will replace the Vanquish and has been spied testing on track


Aston Martin’s rapid succession of new car launches shows no signs of stopping. It was only recently that the all-new Vantage, the DB11 Volante and the DB11 AMR arrived on the scene, yet Aston Martin is already gearing up to release a new flagship model, the DBS Superleggera, to replace the Vanquish S.

Aston Martin’s new top model been spotted testing at the Nürburgring again and, just as before when it was seen being subjected to wintery conditions, it’s only been lightly disguised with a matte black paint job and some roughly applied panels and tape.

> Click here for more on the all-new Aston Martin Vantage

The DBS title has been used by Aston Martin for its flagship models before, the current Vanquish’s predecessor for one. This previous generation DBS was clearly related to to its contemporary DB9 as both shared the same basic design, yet the DBS was made more aggressive with prominent spoilers and extra vents.

Like the earlier DBS, the new Superleggera shows clear links with another car in the Aston Martin line-up, this time the DB11. Even with the disguised bodywork, we can see the DBS Superleggera prototype has the same floating roof, slim hips and curved rear haunches as the marque’s turbocharged V12 GT car.

In now traditional DBS style, the new car looks to have a bigger front splitter, a more significant rear diffuser, larger side skirts and a fixed rear spoiler. More substantial changes have been made to the front, however, the DBS Superleggera has smaller headlights than the DB11 while the grille opening is notably bigger – similar to the ones seen on Aston’s more extreme AMR models.

The bonnet of this DBS mule has two large, square holes cut into it, suggesting the final car will have bigger bonnet vents for additional cooling. Not only that, but Aston Martin has said the Superleggera title (meaning ‘super light’ in Italian) isn’t just for show, and the new DBS will be lighter than the DB11. As a result we expect the bonnet, amongst other panels, will be constructed from carbonfibre.

At the back of the prototype you can see four, rather than two, exhaust tips exiting just above the new diffuser. However, three plastic panels obscure any changes made to the rear lights.

An interior shot of the new car has now also emerged, but it doesn’t really show what the DBS will look like on the inside. The only significant changes over a DB11 interior are the extra wires and safety cut-off buttons necessary in a prototype car.

Naturally, there’s no word on performance figures yet, but we do know the engine used will be an uprated version of the DB11’s 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12. The current Vanquish S produces 595bhp from the ‘old’ 5.9-litre naturally aspirated V12, 5bhp less than the DB11 – so it isn’t unlikely for the Superleggera to have over 600bhp.

> Click here for our Aston Martin DB11 review

We don’t expect the new DBS Superleggera to be quite as powerful as the Ferrari 812 Superfast, with its 789bhp naturally aspirated 6.5-litre V12. Instead, the DBS is likely to be closer in terms of power to the 626bhp Bentley Continental GT. With similar power but less weight, the new DBS should be considerably more potent than the DB11 as well as the Bentley.

Although mechanically similar to the DB11, the DBS Superleggera will undoubtedly be a more focused drive than its relative. With the new Vantage, Aston Martin has shown us it’s capable of tweaking its new platform to create a true drivers’ car. The firm’s smallest car might not be perfect, but it has the speed, poise and aggression to suit its edgy looks. Some of the lessons learnt from the Vantage have been used to improve the DB11 with the new AMR version, the DBS Superleggera will follow a similar philosophy but taken to an even greater extreme.

The flagship Aston isn’t expected on sale until 2019, so there’s been no hint at how much it might cost. The Vanquish S that the Superleggera will replace is just shy of £200k, so we’re expecting the new car to exceed the £200k mark. 

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