Aston DBS: TG mag's Intercontinental Missile of the Year | Top Gear
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Best of 2018

Aston DBS: TG mag's Intercontinental Missile of the Year

Want to shrink the roadmap? You need to keep it simple

Published: 31 Dec 2018

A simple car, the DBS Superleggera. Might seem funny to say that about a £225,000 car lavished with leather and luxury, but allow me to explain. Its purpose is clear – it’s a super GT, a car dedicated to the art of going a long way and feeling special while doing it. Of being effortless, while making you aware of its abilities. Now, it can only do this if every component is pulling in the same direction. And pulling hard.

Which the engine most certainly is. Ignore the 715bhp headline – it’s the 663lb ft of torque that matters most. Over 100lb ft more than a BMW M5, it defines the way the DBS drives. Fourth gear is good, you just vary the flex of your foot – a little goes a long way here. It’s almost as if the standard measures of acceleration are irrelevant. Zero to 62mph? A DBS owner would never get involved in something so charmless. Fifty to 100mph in 4.2secs in fourth? Now you’re talking.

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Aston has been able to unshackle the DB11’s 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12 for use in the DBS because it uses an entirely different gearbox. Still a ZF eight-speeder, but a high-torque version with physically different gears to cope with the extra torque loading. The transmission’s weight penalty is more than offset by intelligent weight saving, features such as carbon body panels ensuring the DBS is 72kg lighter than its sibling. You’d still think they’d be two peas in a pod, but there’s a clarity to the DBS’s mission statement, and a control to its road manners, that together make it a much more cohesive machine.

Let’s say it drives with an easy athleticism. It’s like watching Mo Farah run; you can see from the speed that effort is being put in, but doesn’t it look effortless? And that’s the DBS through and through: everything is designed with a singular purpose, and so it comes across as a simple car. And simplicity has powerful advocates: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” said Leonardo da Vinci, while Sir Isaac Newton said: “Nature is pleased with simplicity. And nature is no dummy.” Art and science there, in full agreement with each other. And who are we to go against the flow of such intellectual powerhouses? A simple car, one with a clear mission statement and superb execution, fully deserves an award.

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