Aston’s extraordinary grand tourer

The car maker has returned to its happy place and is doing what it does best. Sarah Moore reports.

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The Aston Martin DBS Superleggera is a mighty car, says Top Gear. "Not explosive, not urgent, but mighty." Though it shares underpinnings with the DB11, the Superleggera is a "more muscular machine in every way", with the key addition of a high-torque version of ZF's eight-speed gearbox.

"I'm not sure a car weighing a shade under 1.7 tonnes without fluids counts as very light'," says Matt Saunders on Autocar. However, the car earns its name from its mix of lightweight body panels, more than 80% of which are made out of carbon fibre composite. And the company has at last "fully uncorked" its turbocharged V12 to liberate 715bhp and 664lb ft of torque.

The Superleggera can go from 50mph to 100mph in just 4.5 seconds. That's what 664lb ft of twist from 1,800rpm achieves: this kind of simple, near-instant low- and mid-range thrust that makes mid-sized-SUV-level kerb weight just melt into irrelevance and steep Alpine passes seem as good as level for all the difference they make to your explosive forward momentum, says Saunders.

The uprated turbocharged V12 is "simply staggering" in the way it drives the car forward from low revs and on towards its limiter, while the exhaust note that goes with it is nothing short of extraordinary, says Mat Watson on Driving. As party tricks go, this deep and unrelenting push feels marvellous, "so effortless and accessible and secure and sonorous that it's a luxury all by itself", says Top Gear. At speed, the engine is "a sophisticated purr of noise, wind no more than a ruffle, the ride so impressively damped you don't notice the work it's doing".

Aston is returning to its happy place with the Superleggera, says Saunders. It is doing what it does best and making the kind of world-class, time-honoured, grand touring driver's car it has made so well for decades. It is "stunning, searingly rapid and yet deliciously cultured".

Price: £225,000. Engine: 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12.Power/torque: 715bhp/664lb ft.0-62mph: 3.4 seconds.Transmission: eight-speedautomatic, rear wheel drive.

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