How does the new tip of the spear shape up?

First introduced in 2001, the Aston Martin Vanquish enjoyed its position at the top of Aston’s lineup for roughly 17 years, most recently with the highly impressive Vanquish S released in 2017. Now, however, the Vanquish must give way to the even-more-impressive DBS Superleggera, the British brand’s latest V-12-powered range-topping super GT car. Indeed, the DBS Superleggera is truly a mighty thing to behold, but how mighty is it next to the outgoing Vanquish? Read on for the details.

Continue reading for the full story.

2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera vs. Aston Martin Vanquish Exterior

left right

Note: 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera pictured on the left, Aston Martin Vanquish pictured on the right.

The DBS Superleggera’s styling brings all the good stuff that Aston is known for, including a stance akin to a sprinter on the block.

First off, let’s take a look at the styling that both of these machines bring to the party, starting with the DBS Superleggera. Here we find the aesthetics take heavily after Aston’s past models, sporting the same cues Aston is known for, including a low, wide stance, long hood line, and cab-back proportions that seem to push the whole thing back onto its rear haunches, like a sprinter on the block.

However, the DBS Superleggera sets itself apart thanks to a host of special features, starting with a larger intake up front. The headlights get unique housings set with V-shaped daytime running lights, while a set of vents adorn the pumped-up hoodline.

Moving to the side, we see the carbon fiber body gets finned vents just behind the front wheels, while the rear end gets a massive set of fender flares to give it even more of a tail-end emphasis. The wheels are offered in two unique designs and six different finishes, all of which get a lightweight construction and 21-inch diameter.

Comparison: 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera vs. Aston Martin Vanquish Exterior
- image 785037
In the rear, the DBS Superleggera gets a few aero elements influenced by of the DB11.

Speaking of the tail, the DBS Superleggera uses a very broad rear design set with some thin-strip taillight sections that run from fender to fender, plus quad exhaust tips. Back here, we also see elements of the DB11’s aero influence, with further cues including Aston’s signature “curlicue” and “Aeroblade.” Up front is an F1-inspired double splitter element as well.

At speed, the DBS Superleggera produces as much as 180 kg (397 pounds) of downforce, the most of any production Aston ever built.

Next up is the Vanquish, which was originally designed by the well-known British talent Ian Callum and provided the groundwork for such jaw-droppers as the One-77 and preceding DBS. The Vanquish also made an appearance in 2002 in the James Bond film Die Another Day, and is widely considered one of the best-looking vehicles of the modern era.

Also offered as a droptop under the Vanquish Volante nameplate, the standard Vanquish Coupe gets all those classic lines you’d expect from such a vehicle. Indeed, the DNA is quite clear seeing these two vehicles side by side, and like the DBS Superleggera, the Vanquish also utilizes carbon fiber body panels to cut the weight, with exposed carbon fiber seen along the side skirts. In the corners, there’s a set of forged alloy wheels.

Comparison: 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera vs. Aston Martin Vanquish High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 461498
The Vanquish was originally designed by the well-known British talent Ian Callum, and provided the groundwork for such jaw-droppers as the One-77 and preceding DBS.

Up front, the Vanquish gets LED daytime running lights, while the grille and central intake are significantly smaller compared to the modern DBS Superleggera. However, buyers who opted for the Vanquish S got their hands on a set of extra aero bits, with a carbon fiber splitter up front and a carbon fiber spoiler in the rear.

Customization options for both vehicles are plentiful, with further equipment and options offered through Aston’s Q service.

Finally, these two vehicles are close in terms of the exterior dimensions, with one glaring exception - overall width, where the DBS Superleggera adds an impressive 9.5 inches to the Vanquish’s 75-inch measurement.

Exterior Dimensions Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Aston Martin Vanquish
Overall Length 185.5 inches 185.8 inches
Overall Width 84.5 inches 75 inches
Overall Height 50.4 inches 50.4 inches

2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera vs. Aston Martin Vanquish Interior

left right

Note: 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera pictured on the left, Aston Martin Vanquish pictured on the right.

Inside the DBS Superleggera, the cabin layout is supposedly all-new, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at it. The center console looks like it comes straight out of 15 years ago.

Situate yourself in the DBS Superleggera, and you’ll find a new layout dressed in leather and Alcantara, plus copious high-end trim throughout. The design is supposedly fresh out the oven, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at it - the center console looks like it comes straight out of 15 years ago. That said, the three-pod gauge layout does look rather tasty, while the quilted upholstery option for the doors and seats give it extra flair as well.

Speaking of the sitters, the DBS Superleggera gets a set of Sport Plus performance seats to grip passengers while exploring the car’s monstrous grip levels. There’s also a sport steering wheel to match, which is offered in a chunky, geometric shape, plus there’s a ton of customization options for those looking to make theirs uniquely their own.

Standard tech onboard includes keyless entry and a 360-degree parking camera with park assist and a distance display. There’s also a DAB audio system, Bluetooth support, phone streaming, and both iPod and USB playback features. An integrated satellite navigation system keeps you headed in the right direction, while a Wi-Fi web connection keeps you on top of the latest as it happens. Running it all is an LCD infotainment screen mounted on top of the dash.

Comparison: 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera vs. Aston Martin Vanquish Interior
- image 563418
Inside the Vanquish, the center console uses an upward sweeping design similar to the DBS Superleggera, stretching up and into the dash.

Inside the Vanquish, the center console uses an upward sweeping design similar to the DBS Superleggera, stretching up and into the dash, meeting the windshield along the way. Touch-sensitive controls reduce the number of clunky buttons used, while an optional squared-off steering wheel makes it all turn where you want it to go.

Leather and Alcantara are once again the upholstery materials of choice here, while the seating arrangement once again uses a 2+2 layout. Passenger room is bit below that of the DBS Superleggera, however customers were offered the option to remove the rear bench at no additional cost, if desired. Additional customization options are once again offered through Aston’s Q service.

Unfortunately, the Vanquish is somewhat notorious for its rather lackluster infotainment setup, starting with its pop-up central infotainment screen. Measured at 6.5 inches, this digital readout is about 1.5 inches smaller than the screen found on the DBS Superleggera. Bluetooth and smartphone streaming features are standard, while a backup camera is optional. Finally, a 13-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system provides the tunes.

2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera vs. Aston Martin Vanquish Performance

left right

Note: 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera pictured on the left, Aston Martin Vanquish pictured on the right.

While it might have a pair of turbos to muffle the good noise, you can bet the DBS Superleggera still has the acoustic cajones to tickle your ear holes.

Like any proper GT car should, the DBS Superleggera gets a front-engine, RWD drivetrain layout. Providing the motivation is a twin-turbo 5.2-liter V-12, which Aston says was mounted as low and far back as possible to maximize weight distribution and lower the center of gravity. Peak output is rated at 725 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 900 Nm (664 pound-feet) of torque between 1,800 and 5,000 rpm.

Put the hammer down, and the DBS Superleggera will sprint from 0 to 62 mph in a scant 3.4 seconds. One-hundred mph arrives in 6.4 seconds, while a fourth-gear pull at 50 mph will yield 100 mph in 4.2 seconds. Top speed is rated at 211 mph.

While it might have a pair of turbos to muffle the good noise, you can bet the DBS Superleggera still has the acoustic cajones to tickle your ear holes. Helping it achieve those soundtastic characteristics is a new exhaust plugged by an active valve system, which provides different notes and sound levels depending on the mode you’ve selected.

Sending the power to the axle is a rear-mounted eight-speed automatic transmission from ZF, which comes with a lower final drive for greater acceleration - this thing might be turbocharged, but it still puts speed at the top of the list when it comes to what’s most important!

Helping to lay the smack down is a mechanical limited-slip differential and torque vectoring system. Under the skin is an evolved form of the bonded aluminum structure from the DB11, with the suspension composed of forged double wishbones in front and a multi-link in the rear. Adaptive damping comes as standard, using a variety of sensors to make it all work, while three driving modes (GT, Sport, and Sport Plus) offer adjustability for the scenario at hand. Finally, Pirelli tires make it all stick.

Comparison: 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera vs. Aston Martin Vanquish Drivetrain AutoShow
- image 481453
Like the DBS Superleggera, the Vanquish mounts a V-12 powerlpant up front. However, in the Vanquish, displacement is uprated at 5.9 liters, and there are no turbos bolted to it.

Then there’s the Vanquish, which, like the DBS Superleggera, mounts a mighty V-12 powerlpant up front to drive the rear wheels. However, in the Vanquish, displacement is uprated at 5.9 liters, and there are no turbos bolted to it - aspiration is all-natural, making the Vanquish one of the last of its breed. Active valves in the exhaust ease the acoustic assault when asked.

Power ranges up to 568 horses at 6,750 rpm and 465 pound-feet at 5,500 rpm, slightly uprated over the preceding model’s 565 horsepower. All told, the Vanquish drops a very impressive 3.8-second 0-to-100 km time, which, when it was first produced, made it the quickest accelerating series production car in Aston’s history.

As if that weren’t enough, Aston followed it up with the Vanquish S model, which was tuned to produce as much as 600 horsepower, making another record as the most powerful Aston Martin ever produced. The 600 ponies also cut into the 0-to-62 mph time substantially, reducing it to just 3.5 seconds.

Comparison: 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera vs. Aston Martin Vanquish High Resolution Exterior
- image 461491
The Vanquish added a new eight-speed automatic transmission as standard equipment for the 2015 model year.

Helping it to achieve these performance numbers was a new eight-speed automatic transmission from ZF, which was added as standard equipment for the 2015 model year and used to replace the outgoing model’s six-speed automatic transmission. Aston moved the gearbox into a transaxle layout for better weight distribution, while also adding a new final drive that helped to improve fuel economy and emissions. As a result, mpg saw an increase of about 7 percent - not that it really matters. The new transmission was also 3 percent lighter and more compact than the six-speed it replaced, and it managed impressive shift times of just 130 milliseconds.The final drive ratio also pushed top speed above the 200-mph mark in the Vanquish S (201 mph, to be exact).

To underpin the Vanquish, Aston once again employed a lightweight aluminum structure, with independent double wishbones used at both the frontend and the rear end. Standout components include the use of coil springs, anti-roll-bars, and monotube dampers.

The 2015 model year update also brought extra chassis upgrades to the table, including relatively rudimentary drive modes and stiffer suspension settings as well. The three-stage adaptive dampers were used as you would expect, with settings for either more cushiness, or harder settings for greater handling crispness and composure when driving aggressively. The Vanquish was also the first Aston martin offered with launch control, while Dynamic Stability Control and Positive Torque control were offered as standard.

Additional carbon elements were used to keep it as lightweight as possible, with the final curb weight tipping the scales at 3,834 pounds. Finally, ventilated carbon ceramic brake discs haul it down, while Pirelli’s P Zero keeps it glued to the road. Tire sizing comes to 255/ZR20 in front, and 305/30ZR20 in the rear.

Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Aston Martin Vanquish
Engine 5.2-litre bi-turbo, V12 with stop/start cylinder deactivation 48-valve 5935 cc V12
Drive Front mid-mounted engine, rear-wheel drive Front mid-mounted engine, rear-wheel drive
Compression ratio 9.3:1 11:1
Maximum power 715 HP @ 6,500 RPM 568 HP @ 6650 RPM
Maximum torque 663 LB-FT @ 1,800-5,000 RPM 465 LB-FT @ 5500 RPM
Acceleration 0-62mph (0-100km/h) 3.4 seconds 3.6 seconds
Maximum speed 211mph 201 mph
Transmission Rear mid-mounted ZF eight-speed automatic Touchtronic 2 six-speed automatic

2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera vs. Aston Martin Vanquish Pricing

left right

Note: 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera pictured on the left, Aston Martin Vanquish pictured on the right.

Pricing for the DBS Superleggera starts at a heady $304,995, with the numerous equipment options padding the bottomline even further. Deliveries kick off in Q3 of this year.

All told, the Vanquish isn’t far off in terms of pricing, slotting in at $294,950.

Final Thoughts

left right

Note: 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera pictured on the left, Aston Martin Vanquish pictured on the right.

The DBS Superleggera is every inch the right machine to replace the Vanquish, but the big question lies under the hood.

When you break it down, the DBS Superleggera is every inch the right machine to replace the Vanquish. The exterior styling is an obvious evolution of its predecessor’s lines, albeit with a much more exotic attitude and a more aggressive all-around presence as well. The new aero bits give it a more modern edge in terms of performance, while the interior improves on the old just as you’d expect it to.

The big question lies under the hood, where the DBS Superleggera gets a pair of turbos to help it dole out the power. Granted, max output is significantly higher than that in the Vanquish or even the Vanquish S, but purists will undoubtedly deride the addition of forced induction as sullying the driving experience.

If that sounds like you, grab the checkbook and plunk down your $300K for a Vanquish S now before they go away, and you’ll have all the glory that is an all-atmosphere twelve-cylinder at your command. Or, alternatively, wait a bit and get the faster, more potent, more technologically striking DBS Superleggera, and leave all those purists in the dust. The choice is yours.

Further Reading

Here's the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera!
- image 784962

Read our full review on the 2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera.

2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S High Resolution Exterior
- image 695571

Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S.

2014 - 2015 Aston Martin Vanquish High Resolution Exterior
- image 563425

Read our full review on the 2015 Aston Martin Vanquish.

no article
- image 741345

Read more Aston Martin news.

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: