This website uses cookies to enhance and provide your experience.

We review the 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera

111
Enlarge

The Car.co.uk verdict:

4.5

The fastest road-going Aston Martin ever made. That sentence alone will probably see the entire run of Superleggera’s sold in 3.2-seconds it takes for this monstrous new DBS’s twin-turbo V12 to haul the car to 60mph. The British GT car maker’s new flagship is something to behold; it’ll leave DB11s in its dust, and the aerodynamically optimised muscular body simply will not fail to turn heads.

That said, at £225,000 before you’ve added any carbon accessories – you’re coming into a world of Ferrari 812 Superfast speed and Bentley Continental GT Supersports luxury. Fortunately for Aston Martin, the Superleggera will go toe-to-toe with anything that even takes a glance in its direction. Blistering speed, size-defying agility, and smouldering good-looks – this new DBS has got them all in abundance.

Pros

  • Acceleration between 50-100mph is nothing short of mind-blowing
  • Contender for the best-looking road car on the planet
  • A world of customisation options to make your Superleggera perfect for you

Cons

  • At £225,000 and upward, it’s a very costly car
  • It’s wide and bulky enough to scare you when you pass cars on country roads
  • You’ll spend a lot of time standing next to unleaded fuel pumps

At a glance

  • Looks
  • Practicality
  • Engine & power
  • Reliability
  • Equipment & options
  • Interior
  • The drive
  • Cost
  • Safety
  • Why buy

Looks

5 out of 5

Truly one of the most beautiful cars in production today

Aston Martins always look good, but the DBS Superleggera takes things up a notch. As a car fan, it’s difficult not to get a childlike sense of wonderment getting up close to Aston’s new flagship model; every line is a work of art – and when you understand how functional those lines are, you appreciate what a masterpiece you’re looking at.

The DBS Superleggera sits 5mm lower than the DB11 – and the track is slightly wider too. This more squat stance makes the car look like it should be rumbling through the pit at Spa or Le Mans, rather than tangling with British country roads. Upon closer inspection this racing pedigree becomes even more apparent – the Superleggera’s enormous grille and sophisticated carbon splitter house F1 style Venturi airflow tunnels that don’t just direct air around the car – but also through its largely carbon body.

Although based on the DB11, there are clear physical differences that set the Superleggera one step further up the ladder. There’s that gorgeous carbon boot lip that shelters the airflow outlets – as well as the full-width lights that run beneath it. Both these details put a squeeze on boot lid space – so the traditional winged logo is gone too.

It’s reported that the development team at Aston Martin have described this new DBS as ‘a brute in a suit’ – and it’s a very well-made suit. It’s a matter of opinion of course – but stood side-by-side with the Ferrari 812 Superfast that it’s made to rival, the Superleggera looks the more aggressive and powerful machine.

Practicality

3.5 out of 5

A Super GT car that could almost be your daily driver

It’s questionable whether any 725bhp car could be reasonably be used as a daily driver – but if they can, the Superleggera’s got to be close to the top of the list.  Ultimately, this is a Grand Tourer (albeit one that Aston Martin refer to as a ‘Super Grand Tourer’), so there’s room for a bit of luggage, and the cockpit’s a comfortable place to be.

If you’re planning a driving holiday, you’ll have to pack fairly light – as boot space only just-about creeps into what anyone would consider reasonable. There’s some top-end function that you lose for performance reasons too; for instance, there’s no hands-free boot opening – since the sensors don’t work well with the swathes of carbon that make up the back-end of the Superleggera.

Visibility is great out of the front and serviceable out of the rear window – although the wing mirrors that sit on top of more aerodynamic features are really effective. Of course, parking sensors and a decent view of your surroundings via the infotainment system help to prevent any costly errors of judgement when you’re parking too. Clearly, this isn’t an city-run-around car – but engage the more sedate GT mode from your steering wheel, and you’ll be able to use it comfortably around town, without feeling too much like you’re tangling with a sabre-toothed tiger.

Engine & power

5 out of 5

Outrageous power and gearbox-shredding torque

The DBS Superleggera is the fastest and most powerful road car that Aston Martin has produced to date. Its beating heart is an exquisite 5.2-litre V12 twin turbo engine that produces 725bhp – a staggering 150bhp more than the same engine that sits in the DB11. Amazingly, there are no hardware changes to the engine to create this extra power; instead, just engine management adjustments were needed to let it loose. 

Of course, it’s not totally fair to suggest that a couple of software changes are all that’s needed to transform a DB11 into this terrifying Superleggera – because, quite frankly, the sheer amount of torque the engine now produces would pull the DB11 to pieces. An almost incomprehensible 900Nm (665lb) of torque is produced by the V12 – and Aston Martin has limited that torque in 1st and 2nd gears to prevent untimely destruction of the already uprated gearbox. As such, this is a ludicrously fast car from launch – but when you hit 3rd, you feel like an afterburner’s kicked in to take you supersonic.

To put that monumental amount of power onto the road, Aston Martin has worked with Pirelli to create bespoke tyres – 305mm wide at the rear of the Superleggera. It’s frightening to think about what this DBS would do to a set of tyres that aren’t designed with this power in mind though – as they’ll still scrabble for traction at launch. In the DB11, this engine is incredible: In the DBS Superleggera, this engine reaches full Hulk potential. 

Reliability

4.5 out of 5

Ever-improving Aston Martin reliability

Since the DBS Superleggera is a brand-new car, it’s impossible to get a good handle on exactly how reliable it’s going to be – but, fortunately, there’s a good stable of existing Aston Martins that we can use as a gauge.

Generally speaking, reliability across the range is good. Recalls have been at an absolute minimum for the last few years, and there’s nothing new on the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera spec list that stands out as being unknown and a cause of concern. Time will tell just how reliable this new DBS is, but it should be up there with the best.

Equipment & options

5 out of 5

Fully loaded – with an almost endless list of accessories to add

As you’d expect from a (Super) Grand Tourer, there’s plenty onboard to help justify the not-insignificant Aston Martin DBS Superleggera price tag. As standard, you’ll get keyless entry, parking assist, Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto connectivity, and even a WiFi hub.

The infotainment system isn’t quite the mission-control you might expect from Aston Martin. It’s absolutely adequate, but it’s actually a last-generation Mercedes unit that’s now been retired in Merc’s top-end vehicles. Come down the dash a little and you’re met with a beautiful looking climate control system: If there’s a criticism to be levelled at the interior design team at Aston, it’s simply that these handsome touchscreen controls are really difficult to use when the car’s in motion.

When you’re ready to order your DBS, you’ll be able to choose from 35 colours; a host of different roof, mirror, louvre, and light-housing colours; privacy glass; 5 different 21” wheels; 5 brake caliper colours, and a world of other carbon details. Inside, there’s an almost countless combination of colours and leather options – including whether or not you want to match your stitching to your leather – and which badges you’d like embroidered or embossed into your seats.

If you’ve exhausted the options list and you’ve still got money to spend, Aston Martin can even arrange a bespoke set of luggage that you’ll just about be able to squeeze in the boot. Your 4-piece set will match the upholstery of your car – and adds another £4,000 to your bill.

Interior

4 out of 5

Beautiful workmanship – with nothing left to chance

By this stage you’ve probably got a good idea what you can expect from the interior of the DBS Superleggera; it’s outstandingly well put-together and, for the most part, crafted from the highest-quality materials. It’s another clear step-up from the DB11.

Race style seats keep you comfortable, and you’re surrounded by plenty of carbon trim – unless you decide to swap it out for another finish as you wade through the huge options list. The steering wheel feels suitable for the monumental job it fulfils and the gear change paddles behind it are beautifully engineered. When you get over the initial impact of the interior, you start to notice some outstanding details – matching patterns occur from the roof-lining right down to the quilting in the seats, and there’s no metal-coloured plastic trim in sight – it’s all the real deal.

Unfortunately, closer inspection reveals a couple of very slight issues in the Superleggera. There’s the occasional cheap feeling component – the air-vents for instance – and there’s Aston Martin’s on-going resistance to putting a glove box in their cars. Moving the electric seats for the first time is slightly unsettling too – as the motor used sounds like it’s labouring hard and really groans. No big deal really – and all will be firmly forgiven when you hit 3rd and feel the full extent of the torque…

The design team responsible for this new DBS have even gone to the extent of making sure the very best leather is used to upholster the interior. The usual grain that you’d expect to see from leather is missing – because that’s imperfections in the hide that’s normally used. Instead, you get amazingly smooth, high-quality leather – from extremely well-pampered cows. No stone is left unturned in the pursuit of sophistication in this flagship machine.

The drive

4.5 out of 5

Breath-taking performance – but definitely not ‘superlight’.

If you speak a little Italian, you’ll know there’s an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed. ‘Superleggera’ translates as ‘Superlight’ – but this a car with an 1,800kg kerb weight – and it isn’t slight; it’s a big imposing beast when you’re tearing down winding country lanes.

This isn’t a big car that shrinks around you as you drive it either, when you’re hurtling from 50-100mph you’re aware that you’ve got some bulk – it just that you’ve got 665lbs of torque to make sure it’s not an issue.

So, why’s it called Superlight? Well, there’s a slight Italian swipe from Aston Martin toward the English-named ‘Superfast’ 812 Ferrari that contends with the car on performance and price – but there’s also aerodynamics to consider. Part of the reason the DBS is such a beast is because of the way it cuts through the air. Flat out, the DB11 creates somewhere in the region of 20kg of lift – but, with its airflow tunnels and repurposing of the air around it, the Superleggera creates 180kg of downforce as it hits 211mph. What’s more, there’s no drag to speak of. Superlight it might not be – but since it slices through the air with the speed and grace of a gazelle, who cares if it’s got the waist measurement of a hippo?

0-60mph comes in 3.3-seconds – and 0-100mph in 6.4-seconds. That said, it’s when you hit 3rd and 4th that the Superleggera really gets fruity. The Ferrari 812 Superfast will cover 50-100mph in 5.2-seconds. The Aston? That monstrous V12 sees to it a whole second is wiped off the Superfast’s time – covering 50-100mph in 4.2-seconds. 0-60mph in the DBS is exciting – 50-100mph is terrifying. If you buy a Superleggera, you will never ever get bored of putting your foot down.

Of course, this is a rear-wheel-drive Super Grand Tourer, not a hypercar, so don’t be tempted to switch your stability control off when you’re hitting the corners hard – as grip gives up fairly easily without it. Fortunately, you’ve got gigantic 360mm rear and 410mm front carbon ceramic discs that’ll never fade - making sure you’re always prepared for the road in front of you.

Outstanding handling, 211mph, and acceleration that’ll make your passengers cry. There’s a lot to love about the way the Superleggera drives.

Cost

4 out of 5

A Super Grand Tourer that’s approaching a quarter of a million pounds…

There’s no getting around it, The Aston Martin DBS Superleggera price starts at £225,000 – and it’s likely to run well beyond a quarter of a million pounds if you’ve excitedly ticked boxes on the options list.

Now, cost and value are totally different things – and to get a good feel for whether or not the Superleggera is good value means lining it up next to some of the alternatives. If you’d like a Ferrari that occupies the same Super GT category, you’ll be looking at the 812 Superfast – impacting your bank account to the tune of around £260,000; with no real discernible improvement on the Superleggera’s performance.

If it’s rapid luxury and prestige you’re looking for – why not consider a Bentley Continental GT Supersports? At around £215,000 without any options, you’ll save yourself a cool £10,000 or more – but do you really want the ostentatious looks and fact Superleggera’s will pass you for fun?

It looks like the DBS Superleggera occupies a league of its own. Let’s face it, if you want to own the fastest production Aston Martin that’s ever existed, you already know you’re going to be paying handsomely for it. It’s difficult to say that £225,000 is a well-priced car – but if you’re in the market for a masterpiece, this one’s virtually untouchable.

Safety

5 out of 5

Euro NCAP won’t crash one – but you’ll be well protected if you do

With the low production numbers planned for the DBS Superleggera, there won’t be a Euro NCAP crash-test taking place – but it’s fair to assume that such a big car based on racing technology will do a good job of keeping you safe if anything untoward happens.

Onboard, there’s plenty of safety equipment. You’re protected by side curtain, dual-stage front, seat belt, and knee airbags – and there’s blind spot warning along with front and rear LED lights to help you avoid trouble in the first place.

Why buy

4.5 out of 5

An incredible car with an incredible engine

The Superleggera is a truly outstanding car. It’s not without its imperfections; the gearbox doesn’t feel as lightning fast as it might when you’re at high-revs, and the rear seats are little more than decoration – but none of that matters when you’ve got an opportunity to keep the accelerator to the floor on the way to 100mph.

There’s no Aston Martin DBS review complete without dwelling on how this new flagship model looks. The fact that the gaping grille and the sweeping lines all contribute to the remarkable way this beast manipulates the air is a medley of incredible engineering and amazing aesthetics.

There’s something about this Superleggera and Aston Martin in general that captures the imagination. Perhaps it’s the James Bond effect, or perhaps it’s just because many other prestige marques don’t have quite the same classy homegrown appeal. Whatever it is, this new DBS stands head and shoulders above virtually any other vehicle you’ll see on the road. £225,000 is a lot of money – but can you honestly put a price on having “The fastest road-going Aston Martin ever made” in your garage?