WORDS: JEREMY TAYLOR | PHOTOS: ASTON MARTIN
Before Aston Martin’s director of design left the company in 2021, away for a brief and unlikely sojourn at Dacia, Miles Nurnberger helped unveil the DBS Superleggera. At a preview event, he branded the Vanquish replacement a ‘brute in a suit’ – a label that inevitably stuck.
Five years on and, as much as the DBS still fills said suit, Aston has created a suitably ferocious farewell for its V12 bruiser. The 770 Ultimate is the manufacturer’s most powerful production car ever – ignoring the bonkers Valkyrie hypercar, because that isn’t a full production model.
The final-edition 770 features an uprated version of the twin-turbo V12 powerhouse – 5.2 litres of madness that now develops 770PS (759bhp) and 900Nm of torque. That power hike propels the Ultimate coupé to 211mph, along the way covering 0-60mph in 3.2 seconds and 0-100mph in 6.4 seconds.
The power boost is achieved by modifying air and ignition pathways, creating a seven percent increase in maximum turbo pressure. Revised software for the ZF eight-speed gearbox results in faster shift speeds, while enhancements to the damper set-up help keep the Aston on the straight and narrow at speed.
At first glance, there isn’t much to suggest the 770 isn’t an off-the-peg DBS. Look closer, though, and you’ll see changes to ‘thermal management’ at the front end, which provide increased airflow through the engine radiators. Most dramatic is the enormous, horse-shoe-shaped vent in the bonnet. There are couple of smaller intakes in the front splitter, too.
With no 770 badging, on the exterior at least, the biggest difference is the 21-inch wheel design, apparently inspired by those fitted to the one-off Victor in 2021. Inside, the already stylish DBS Sport Plus Seats are superbly trimmed, while the standard infotainment system remains the car’s painfully clunky Achilles’ heel.
A wet and wild April day in the Cotswolds is not the ideal place to experience what the Ultimate has to offer. The ‘standard’ DBS could be a tail-happy handful at the best of times – this roll-out version takes matters to a whole new level.
Just like the original, the 770 is a Jekyll and Hyde car – one minute a slick and smooth grand tourer, the next a brutal, rear-wheel-drive monster. Knowing exactly how much throttle to apply is crucial, because the sheer power can be overwhelming.
It is composed, remarkably quiet and simply thrilling to drive; my only advice before opening the garage door is to check the weather forecast. This is not the ideal motor for negotiating large puddles at speed.
Production of the 770 Ultimate is restricted to 499 examples – 300 coupés and 199 Volante roadsters – and they’ve all gone, priced at £314,000 and £337,000 respectively.
Surprisingly, given that the automotive world is moving towards a battery-powered future, Aston says this will not be the end of the line for its venerable V12. Which might suggest a final, final fling for a 12-cylinder model before the 2030 fatwa on new petrol cars is imposed in the UK for good.