This fast torque of the town is no light­weight

IN­DUS­TRY NEWS/ There is much ex­pec­ta­tion around the new As­ton Martin DBS Su­per­leg­gera, writes Ler­ato Matebese

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS -

We have driven the new As­ton Martin DBS Su­per­leg­gera, but you will have to wait un­til Au­gust to read our driv­ing im­pres­sions of the new model due to an in­ter­na­tional em­bargo.

But Marek Re­ich­man, chief cre­ative of­fi­cer at As­ton Martin, took us through his lat­est project at the in­ter­na­tional launch.

Based on the DB11 V12 vari­ant, the DBS Su­per­leg­gera sits at the top of the cur­rent As­ton range and is de­scribed as a Su­per GT aimed at the Fer­rari 812 Su­per­fast.

One of the most beau­ti­ful mod­ern cars to come from the sta­ble, the DBS Su­per­leg­gera (the lat­ter means su­per-light in Ital­ian) name originates from an Ital­ian coach build­ing com­pany Car­rozze­ria Tour­ing back in 1936. The Su­per­leg­gera name not only means su­per-light, but also refers to a ve­hi­cle build­ing process, which com­prises the use of du­ra­lu­min — a trade name for one of the ear­li­est types of age-hard­en­able alu­minium al­loys. It orig­i­nated in the Zep­pelin in­dus­try prior to the First World War.

The Ital­ian nomen­cla­ture is a re­turn to form for As­ton Martin as the name first ap­peared in both the DB4 and DB5 Su­per­leg­gera built mod­els.

The orig­i­nal Su­per­leg­gera sys­tem is no longer used in high-vol­ume con­struc­tion as the body would not meet mod­ern im­pact re­sis­tance stan­dards, not to men­tion the cost of man­u­fac­ture and the risk of cor­ro­sion be­tween the alu­minium pan­els and steel frame.

CAR­BON FI­BRE

Things have pro­gressed since the orig­i­nal, and the DBS Su­per­leg­gera, ac­cord­ing to Re­ich­man, con­sists of some light­weight con­struc­tion that in­cludes a car­bon fi­bre clamshell bon­net, op­tional car­bon fi­bre roof (2kg lighter than metal roof) and a car­bon fi­bre boot and prop­shaft. Over­all, the ve­hi­cle is 70kg lighter than the DB11 it is based on.

The gap­ing front grille might look slightly over­sized in the pic­tures but I am happy to re­port that in the metal it is el­e­gant, sporty even, as it com­ple­ments the low and wide stance of the ve­hi­cle, which might not be as ob­vi­ous in the pic­tures.

Not one panel or an­gle of the car looks out of place and the en­tire body is beau­ti­fully sculpted, like a piece of au­to­mo­tive art. The new ven­turi airducts on the bon­net give the front end a cleaner look as there is lit­tle in the way of ad­di­tional ad­denda and air blades for ad­di­tional aero­dy­nam­ics, while the rest of the air flows over the ve­hi­cle and into an in­te­grated spoiler. Un­like the spoiler on the DB11 that de­ploys at speed, the DBS’s fixed gur­ney-like unit, fin­ished in car­bon fi­bre, also or­nates the rest of the pack­age.

In the com­pany of the preda­tory Van­tage and the el­e­gant DB11, both of which were on dis­play ad­ja­cent to the DBS Su­per­leg­gera, it is quite ob­vi­ous that the lat­ter is the most strik­ing and most pow­er­ful of the trio.

“Be­ing the most pow­er­ful in the range, the DBS’s de­sign was de­lib­er­ately meant to project this im­age. If you had to ask some­one to point at the most pow­er­ful model of the trio, they will in­ad­ver­tently fin­ger the DBS,” says Re­ich­man.

Be­ing based on the DB11’s 5.2l twin-turbo V12, the DBS turns up the wick to the tune of 544kW and 900Nm — 86kW and 200Nm more than the DB11 — while it also comes with a new, con­ven­tional torque con­verter ZF eight-speed gear­box to bet­ter cope with the ad­di­tional torque fig­ure.

Three mod­els of the DBS Su­per­leg­gera, which have all been spo­ken for, will ar­rive in SA in Oc­to­ber this year with a base price of R5.65m

The As­ton Martin DBS Su­per­leg­gera at the in­ter­na­tional launch, left. As­ton Martin has brought back the Su­per­leg­gera name for the DBS, be­low.

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