Aston Martin DBS Superleggera: is a Volante version in the works?
Verdicts are in on the British marque’s sporty grand tourer
The covers have finally come off the replacement to Aston Martin’s Vanquish grand tourer, the highly anticipated DBS Superleggera.
The Superleggera is the first to use the name - which means "lightweight" in Italian - since Sean Connery drove an Aston Martin DB5 Superleggera in 1964 James Bond movie Goldfinger.
Like many of the marque’s recent models, the new DBS Superleggera marks a radical departure from its predecessor, the design of which can be traced back to the company’s 2004 DB9 flagship.
Here’s everything you need to know about the DBS Superleggera:
Price and release
According to Autocar, the DBS Superleggera will cost around £225,000 - around £25,000 less than its Ferrari 812 Superfast rival.
A release date has yet to be confirmed, but the sporty grand tourer is expected to arrive later this year.
Will there be a Volante version?
There certainly will be. Aston Martin often releases a convertible version, badged Volante, shortly after launching a new coupe model, so a drop-top version of the recent DBS Superleggera comes as little surprise.
Auto Express has spotted the convertible grand tourer testing at the Nurburgring in Germany, the 12.9-mile circuit regularly used by manufacturers to try out their new machinery.
According to the magazine, the DBS Superleggera Volante should “stick closely to the DNA of the coupe that launched earlier this year”.
This means the drop-top will be powered by the coupe’s 715bhp 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12 engine, capable launching the grand tourer from 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds. The regular DBS Superleggera is capable of hitting speeds of up to 211mph, but Volante versions are usually slightly slower than their coupe counterparts.
Given that Aston Martin has not yet officially confirmed the Volante model, there’s no word on how much it will cost or when it’s due to arrive in showrooms.
However, convertible models often carry a £10,000 to £15,000 premium, so expect the DBS Superleggera Volante to cost around £240,000.
What do the critics think?
Critics have finally got behind the wheel of the DBS Superleggera following its public debut last month, to find out whether the grand tourer can compete with the rival Ferrari 812 Superfast.
The DBS, unveiled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex, is arguably defined by the 5.2-litre twin-turbocharged V12 engine that sits beneath its long bonnet, says Auto Express. The same motor is found in the cheaper DB11, but the new model sees the power upped from 600bhp to 715bhp.
This helps the DBS achieve a 0-62mph time of 3.4 seconds - one second faster than its Ferrari rival - and a top speed of 211mph. But despite those impressive figures, the DBS “feels less frenetic than the Ferrari, thanks to its slower steering”, the magazine adds.
Aston Martin has kitted out the new car's interior with “top-shelf” materials and “a B&O sound system that will disappoint none”, says CNet. The only fault with the cabin is that it “feels no more special than the DB11” on which it is based, the tech news site reports.
The light steering and ride quality offered by the DBS add up to a driving experience that is “far from fatiguing”, CNet continues, although the car’s carbon ceramic brakes can be “a bit touchy when working through casual traffic”.
The DBS is practical, too, with a “fairly generous” boot, and rear seats that can comfortably accommodate two “younger family members”, according to Evo.
Overall, the new grand tourer is a relaxed alternative to the “much more aggressive” Ferrari 812 Superfast, the magazine says. The DBS also trumps other rivals, such as the Bentley Continental GT, on performance and styling, Evo concludes.
Design and interior
The DBS Superleggera incorporates a number of design elements from its DB11 and Vantage siblings, including the sleek headlight styling and sculpted bonnet.
However, the grille is significantly larger on the new car, and resembles those seen on Aston’s racing-focused AMR machines. There are also large air ducts in front of the wheels, which might be used to cool the car’s brakes.
Inside, the grand tourer’s cabin “is very much like the DB11”, adopting the same flat-bottom steering wheel and swooping centre console, says Auto Express.
The company is dedicated to improving the material quality of its interiors, and that’s evident in the DBS Superleggera, the magazine says. Aston Martin is also offering more customisation options through its design consulting team.
Engines and performance
Under the bonnet sits the same 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12 engine as the DB11, but according to Evo, Aston’s engineers have upped the power output from 577bhp to 715bhp. This has been achieved through a number of small upgrades that add up to a significant boost to performance.
Coupled to the engine is an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox that channels power towards the rear-axle through a mechanical limited-slip differential, which aids traction, the magazine adds.
That formidable mix helps the car achieve 0-62mph in just 3.4 seconds, with a top speed of 211mph.