The DBS Superleggera has to get an awful lot right in this section to inspire the sort of confidence and assurance you need to really enjoy a car of this size, bulk and effortless pace on the road.
The perfect mixture of lateral grip, body control, steering response and handling agility, tempered against long-striding high-speed stability, ride compliance and grand touring comfort, isn’t an easy one to concoct. And, as both the Ferrari 812 Superfast and the Bentley Continental GT have already proven this year, even with the latest chassis and suspension technology it’s still easy to narrowly miss the super-GT class’s pimple-like dynamic bullseye to one side or the other.
But this time, Aston Martin hasn’t missed. The DBS Superleggera can satisfy the need, at times, to be supple-riding, easy-going and undemonstrative. Leave the car’s powertrain and suspension set to GT mode and its bump absorption is somewhere between that of a 12-cylinder DB11 and a Vantage. Its ride filters and isolates a little; feels fluent and breathes with longer-wave inputs; massages away the nastiest shorter and sharper edges without fussing; and yet keeps the Aston’s body flat and level, and always in close contact with the road. A fairly negligible bit of head toss, as the car’s laterally stiff rear axle deals with bigger inputs affecting one side of the axle or the other, is the closest the car ever gets to being uncomfortable.
From GT mode, you can ramp up the car’s dynamic temperament via Sport and Sport Plus now and again, as your mood takes, trading ride compliance off against tauter vertical body control and slightly keener steering response as you go – and dialling up the DBS’s dynamic character well into super-sports car territory, making it as compelling a driver’s car as most could ever want it to be. Though several testers said that they would seldom use the Sport Plus suspension settings on UK roads, most were glad of the option to.
And none had a bad word to say about the perfectly judged weight and pace of the car’s power steering, which communicates the cornering load going through the front tyres particularly well and never lets you feel anything other than intimately connected to the road.
On track could so easily have been where the DBS Superleggera came unstuck: all 700 horsepower and 1910kg of it, driving through one axle shod with fairly humble Pirelli P Zero tyres.
Although you certainly need to be aware that you’re inviting a fairly lurid driving experience if you deactivate the driver aids and seek to fully deploy its power and torque even on dry Tarmac, the DBS doesn’t ever make you feel like you’re dicing with peril. It’s not quite the big, soft, tenderly skiddable oldschool Aston, instead gripping harder and carrying greater speed than any Vanquish might have; but it’s also more predictable and benign when pushed beyond the limit of grip than some rivals, while also more balanced, agile and exploitable than others.