“Not that anyone’s ever going to miss it,” says Becker, “because we’re somewhat traction limited even as it is...”
How limited? Allow Becker to elaborate: “The other day we were doing some performance testing and it broke traction on a straight, dry road. In fourth gear.” Now consider that this is a car with the traction advantage of having a gearbox between its rear wheels and a far tighter limited-slip differential than that found in the DB11. Fourth!
I clamber aboard to see what he’s talking about. It’s not so much the amount of power you notice but the shockingly immediate and relentless way it is delivered, along with an unforgettable, bellowing soundtrack.
At least from the passenger seat and particularly because of the noise (which is 10dB louder than the DB11) it doesn’t feel like a turbo engine at all, but a snarling, howling V12 of about ten litres displacement.
But what of all this Superleggera stuff? With a kerb weight likely to approach 1800kg, this is clearly no lightweight. “Cars get heavier as they add power because you need to control that power with bigger brakes, wheels and tyres, stronger suspension and additional cooling. So even to stay the same weight an achievement. Yet the DBS is actually 70kg lighter than the DB11,” says Becker, who cites the use of carbonfibre for all of the car’s aerodynamic addenda plus the enormous front bonnet, rear deck and brakes as the prime movers behind the weight loss. Yet for all the titanic performance that results, the car still feels like a grand tourer from the passenger seat, and it’s largely the suspension choices made by Becker and his team that account for it.
“Some things we had to do: we needed a wider track [10mm front, 20mm rear] and bigger tyres to handle the performance [these have grown by one section at the front and two at the rear],” he says. “And of course we worked on the springs and dampers while Pirelli came up with a bespoke P-Zero tyre for the car which works really well: it’s quiet and very progressive when it starts to slide.
“But the secret is in the fine tuning. We could have given it traction by making it very soft at the back but that would have spoiled its balance, in fact we achieved it with the compliance bushing in the rear suspension. We have a higher bias on the limited-slip differential too, the engine mounts were tuned to keep the powertrain more stable under heavy loads and we took some damping out of the steering to make it feel cleaner.”