Hot on the heels of the V8 Vantage, Vanquish successor will feature in Aston’s model blitz as harder, faster V12 model
The upcoming Aston Martin DBS Superleggera will spawn a convertible version that looks set to become the brand’s fastest drop-top yet.
Following the confirmed launch of the coupé in June, the DBS Superleggera Volante, which has just been spotted testing for the first time, will arrive to create a pair of high-performance successors to the current Vanquish and Vanquish Volante.
Power will come from a significantly enhanced version of the DB11‘s turbocharged 5.2-litre V12. The current Vanquish S uses a 6.0-litre V12 unit with 595bhp, suggesting the DBS Superleggera’s boosted unit could offer in excess of 700bhp.
In keeping with the Superleggera name, which has through history been reserved for only the highest-performance Astons, the DBS Superleggera will move away from the luxury-focused Vanquish and its present rivals, such as the Bentley Continental GT, to compete against proper performance models such as the 789bhp Ferrari 812 Superfast.
Company boss Andy Palmer stated his intentions for this harder Vanquish successor to Autocar last year, alongside confirmation that the convertible version would follow.
More recently, Aston chief creative officer Marek Reichman emphasised the DBS Superleggera’s potential, stating that the brand has «pushed the boundaries of performance and design to give this car a distinct character and ensure it’s worthy of the heritage and weight that this name carries».
Early mules for the DBS Superleggera, described as “bloody good” by Palmer, were based on a DB11 because the car’s structure is an adjusted version of that car’s (as well as the new V8 Vantage’s). Palmer has previously emphasised the adaptability of the new structure, telling Autocar that each car that it is spawning is helping Aston shed «perceptions of old technology, old platforms and the question of whether we can survive as an independent manufacturer».
Although it’ll share some parts with its siblings, the DBS Superleggera’s harder focus has been clear from even the earliest stages of development. Mules were fitted with larger aerodynamic pieces, hinting at the higher downforce that will be produced by the finished model.
Now that test cars wearing their own bodywork have been spotted, it’s clear that the DBS Superleggera will also differ from its siblings with larger headlights and a more muscular rear section. The car appears to corner with less body roll, pointing to a firmer chassis set-up.
A first sighting of a test car’s interior (above) appears to give little away as to what the final car will look like inside. The cabin is identical to that of the DB11, suggesting the finished DBS will be trimmed and equipped with a version of that interior, rather than an all-new design.
The DBS Superleggera is part of a major product offensive for Aston. The British marque will also launch the DBX SUV in 2019, to be built at Aston’s new factory in St Athan, Wales. In addition, there will be two Lagonda models. The first will be a saloon, previewed by the recent Lagonda Vision Concept, in 2021 and it will be followed by an SUV to rival the Bentley Bentayga in 2022.
Aston plans to launch a mid-engined rival to the Ferrari 488 GTB and McLaren 720S in 2021. The car, which will inherit the Vanquish name, has been signed off for production and will use an all-new powertrain.
The new cars will sit beneath the brand’s halo model, the Valkyrie hypercar.
Additional reporting by Sam Sheehan