The latest Aston Martin DBS Superleggera is no stranger to the Driven team as we first drove the vehicle at its global media launch in Berchtesgaden, Germany last year and it impressed us with its beautiful contours and brutal, yet effortless performance. Now we bring you a review of the vehicle on home turf and on our favourite backroads to see whether our first impressions of the model were warranted.
Reacquaintance of a product is something rather prudent in our line of work as it re-introduces you to said vehicle to either confirm your initial impressions or give you another perspective of the vehicle’s talents or lack thereof.
In the case of the DBS Superleggera one thing’s for sure, its design remains the most compelling in its segment and a vehicle you can simply pore over for hours on end and it will still captivate the imagination. However, the DBS is not just skin-deep, so we devised a plan to take the vehicle on some of our favourite driving roads in Gauteng to see what the big GT can do in those environs.
THREAT OF INCLEMENT WEATHER
The day before I collect the DBS for evaluation, the heavens decide to open in a rather unprecedented manner for this time of the year. A thought crosses my mind. Should I call and cancel? But my conscience tells me to bide my time and see if the conditions improve by the break of dawn.
The following morning, the rains continue to fall and while there is an overbearing feeling to just forget about testing this one, I go against the odds and make my way to the Aston Martin quarters. Upon my arrival, the rain abates and a ray of sunshine peeks ever so slightly through the grey skies, as though rewarding my due patience.
TAKING TO THE ROAD
Before setting off, I slip snuggly into the driver’s leather pew and make myself comfortable before firing up that 5.2-litre V12 twin-turbo powerplant. It barks into life with a raucous rumble before settling into a burbling idle note. Pushing out 533 kW and 900 Nm, it is an immensely powerful powerplant with deep reserves of muscle and torque – the latter of which is reduced in the first three forward gears, to give you a more linear delivery.
That’s not to say there’s no scrabbling of the rear tyres, quite the contrary, but rather there’s some meaningful forward progress when you summon those galloping horses under the hood.
Depending on driver mode, the DBS can be as supple as any would-be GT should, soaking up road imperfections with utmost aplomb, although it must be said that the Continental GT does this bit more admirably. Where the DBS boxes clever is in the way it straddles between its GT and Sportscar roots with self-confidence. On a slightly bumpy road as those on the outskirts of the Vaal, the DBS preferred the sportiest damper settings to get on with the business of speed distillation. In the softer settings, I felt a considerable shift in weight to the rear axle when you push down on the throttle, rendering the front a touch too light to carry steering inputs decisively.
WHAT OF ITS DAILY USE?
Dial back everything to its softest settings and the DBS manages to be a docile, almost nondescript daily cruiser that can be used on the daily should the owner so wish. The cabin continues to be a plush, leather and Alcantara festooned sanctuary and a great place to spend one’s time while on the road.
It must be mentioned, however, that the plastic air vents tend to detract from an otherwise very luxuriant setting and for me the only fly in the ointment on the DBS part. Other than that anomaly, the DBS is a well-sorted proposition for the discerning GT buyer.
Taking aim at the Bentley Continental GT and the Ferrari 812 Superfast, the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera manages to borrow from both its rivals to arrive at a model bearing the best of both worlds. Sure, the Bentley has the most bespoke interior and finishes of the lot, while the Fezza is a brutal thing to drive with an intoxicating V12 engine note. The DBS, meanwhile, is the prettiest swan in this GT pond and the fact that it is equally comfortable and fast makes it a rather compelling proposition indeed.
Report by LERATO MATEBESE | Images © LERATO MATEBESE