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New flagship super-GT has world-class fast grand touring capability, handling and driver involvement. Will Aston’s Vanquish successor be the third hit in a row for its second-century plan?

All of a sudden, there is a gap in the market. We’re talking about a small and niche, but also an enduring and very meaningful, gap.

It pertains to large-capacity, front-engined ‘super’ grand tourers. These might be a rare sight on the road but they are among the most prestigious and best loved of all the exotic breeds, with the finest sporting pedigree.

Ian Callum’s 2001 Vanquish would still be my all-time favourite Aston to look at, but this runs it close. It is easily the best-looking Aston we’ve seen in the Marek Reichman era, and needed to be too. Bravo

Regular Autocar readers may have earlier surmised the gap in question might be Ferrari-shaped: specifically one best plugged by the 812 Superfast – but that car turned out to be more supercar than transcontinental express, and simply too overwhelmingly full-on to nail the traditional super-GT brief. It’s for this reason that an otherwise extraordinary Ferrari attracted only qualified praise during its road test this summer, and why Aston Martin now has a gilt-edged opportunity.

The car out to seize that opportunity is the new DBS Superleggera. This halo model would seem to emphatically tick every box on the most time-honoured checklist in the business.

Presence and elegance are subjective matters, but the Superleggera unquestionably has them. So too a V12 engine with more power and torque than any full series-production Aston to date. And most encouragingly, it’s arriving at a time when the chassis experts at Gaydon, spearheaded by eminent dynamics guru Matt Becker, have not only found their mojo but seem to grow it with every new model.

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These are interesting times for arguably the most famous British automotive marque. It is simultaneously settling into its new status as a public limited company, throwing open the shutters at a new plant in South Wales and weighing up the benefits of flying in components in the event of a no-deal you-know-what.

But today we get to focus solely on what matters most. Is the DBS Superleggera worth its top-of-the-pile status? And can it be considered the genre-defining machine Aston Martin the old Vanquish never quite was?