Aston Martin's DBS Superleggera is nearly as much of a knockout as its rare Vulcan model
Aston Martin's DBS Superleggera: Supercar son of Vulcan The DBS Superleggera is fluid and confident in the way it moves, even with maximum power. PHOTO: ASTON MARTIN

Aston Martin's DBS moniker was used in 1967 and 2007 to denote an ultimate variant of its DB9 series. Both cars were featured in James Bond movies - On Her Majesty's Service (1969) and Casino Royale (2006).

The new DBS Superleggera, which can be interpreted as an ultimate variant of the DB11, is more stunning than the two previous DBS cars.

It reminds me of the insanely expensive (US$2.3-million or S$3.1-million) 831hp Aston Martin Vulcan, of which only 24 were ever made.

The most obvious similarity is the front grille, which occupies nearly the entire front snout.

The front wheel arch strakes and wide side valence also seem to be lifted from the Vulcan.

The rear is different, with a full-width tail-lamp and a prominent rear spoiler in lieu of the Vulcan's monstrous wing. Below the bumper is a small replica of the Vulcan's rear diffuser.

The DBS Superleggera is both wider and lower than the DB11, but is 72kg lighter. Lightweight components include a carbon-fibre propeller shaft and Brembo carbonceramic brakes.

The car is powered by a 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12 producing 725hp (instead of 600hp in the DB11). It propels the DBS to 100kmh in 3.4 seconds, making it the quickest street-legal Aston Martin to date.

It hits a top speed of 340kmh (18kmh faster than the DB11), despite a downforce of 180kg (110kg in the DB11). More impressively, it takes 4.2 seconds to go from 80kmh to 160kmh - a feat Aston Martin claims is unmatched in this class.

The car's suspension is 15 per cent stiffer and 5mm lower than the DB11's. But it is still supple over challenging roads.

There are three drive modes: GT, Sport and Sport Plus. GT is the default setting and it is the best setting for everyday driving or even brisk driving, delivering near limousine levels of refinement.

Sport mode firms up the suspension, but maintains a supple ride. The transmission shifts down automatically for cornering in this mode.

Sport Plus puts the engine and transmission in full attack and is best left for track use.

Damper settings in any of the modes can be configured separately.

Surprisingly, for such a powerful car, the DBS Superleggera is not intimidating even when driven hard. There is a fluidity and confidence in the way it moves, even with maximum power. Its chassis responds coherently and its steering offers accurate feedback.

In absolute performance numbers, the DBS Superleggera does not match the Ferrari 812 Superfast. But the Aston's full potential is more accessible.

Dynamically, it is one of the most accomplished super grand tourers around. But its exquisite design allows it to stand out boldly against other supercars.

I am rooting for this car to appear in the next James Bond movie.