Aston Martin DBS Superleggera: A lighter, more powerful Vanquish successor

The Aston Martin Vanquish, the marque’s muscular super-GT, is riding off into the sunset, but fear not: Its replacement will be here shortly, and while Aston has been coy on the details, vehicles spied testing -- and the name of the upcoming car, the DBS Superleggera -- hint at what we can expect.

This is a logical time to turn back to the DB-derived naming scheme: 2018 marks 70 years of DB-badged Astons; the name is a nod to David Brown, the industrialist who purchased the company in 1947 and shepherded it to one of its most glorious eras. Of course, the “S” part of “DBS” stands for…Super? Sports? Supreme? We like the last one the best.

Graham Kozak is associate editor at Autoweek, an affiliate of Automotive News.

And it’s not the first time DBS has appeared on an Aston. Aston’s hopscotch approach to naming makes keeping track of this model’s lineage a little bit confusing. The first generation Vanquish was built from 2001-2007. The second has run from 2012 to now. Between the two Vanquishes, Aston built the DBS, which fulfilled roughly the same role as top dog in the lineup. But that car actually borrowed its name from a tourer built from 1967-1972.

As for the “Superleggera” part -- that harkens back to the creations of Italy’s Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera, which developed a lightweight auto body construction method employed on the likes of the Maserati 3500GT, early front-engine Lamborghinis and the Aston Martin DB4, DB5 and DB6 Mark 1. The last time the Superleggera script appeared on an Aston was 1971.

Aston says the name “provides a hint as to what can be expected of this upcoming model.” If so, the DBS Superleggera should to be substantially lighter than the DB11 upon which it is based -- although in this age of carbon fiber, we wouldn’t be surprised if moulded composites played the part of Carrozzeria Touring’s intricate, weight-cheating space frame-and-alloy construction methods.

But it also needs to be more powerful -- it wouldn’t do to have your brand new super-GT be down on horses compared to the rest of the lineup. The outgoing Vanquish S gets 580 hp, which now looks a little weak when compared to the turbocharged 600-hp DB11 or the 630-hp DB11 AMR. 700-plus hp is rumored from a tuned-up version of the DB11’s in-house-developed, twin-turbocharged 5.2-liter V12.

Visually, the DBS Superlegger distinguishes itself from the DB11 with a new face -- with its big grille, it actually looks more like a traditional Aston than the DB11 and new Vantage -- and a new rear end with quad tailpipes. And as the Vanquish that preceded it, the new super-GT will come in both coupe and convertible (“Volante”) versions. We expect to see one or both of those variants sans camouflage in the next month or so.

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