Aston Martin DBR22 revealed – an open-top V12 rival to the Ferrari Monza SP2

It’s another screen-less low-volume supercar, but the new DBR22 could pinpoint the future of Aston Martin design

It looks like Aston Martin has decided the windscreen-less supercar fad isn’t over with the debut of its next Q department special edition called the DBR22. This time, though, the car in question has some serious talking points, not least its introduction of new design elements that could preview the future of Aston Martin design. Considered to be a design concept, it will go into production in extremely limited numbers for its most auspicious owners from next year.  

The DBR22’s design takes obvious inspiration from the DBR1, Aston Martin’s 1959 Le Mans-winning racer. It channels a fine line between obvious retro motifs and a more contemporary style, debuting a body that’s totally bespoke from any existing Aston Martin model, despite sharing a basic bonded aluminium architecture.

The nose, particularly, features a new headlight design that references both the DBR1 and a contemporary Valkyrie, flanking a traditional Aston Martin grille shape that’s placed at a much more aggressive reverse angle than we’ve become used to. The effect is certainly striking – very Aston Martin, and arguably more resolved than the current models available. 

Despite the lack of a roof, side windows or windscreen, Aston’s designers have been able to keep the DBR22 from falling into the lozenge trap by incorporating two humps on the rear deck. These don’t just aid high speed aero, but also incorporate Aston Martin’s contemporary windowline into the profile. This sits above the superbly finished rear haunch, a more obvious connection to the 1959 original. 

The clean, well formed rear deck then finishes in a sharp, defined leading edge that segments the rear end of the car, where more contemporary elements like an LED light bar, centrally-mounted exhausts and rear diffuser shape all more directly reference modern Astons like the V12 Vantage and V12 Speedster. 

Inside, the cabin is shared with the V12 Speedster which itself is a look ahead at the completely redesigned cabins we expect to see in the heavily updated Vantage that should arrive in 2023. The cleaner and more structured interior will be a welcome addition to those used to current Aston Martin interiors.

Under the new bodywork, Aston Martin has worked on stiffening the chassis through the use of new shear panels under both axles and resetting the adaptive dampers specifically for this one model. Aston has also designed a brand new rear subframe, which is 3D printed in segments and then bonded together. This is both advantageous in terms of strength and weight, but a side effect being the relatively easy production method considering the small number of units required for the DBR22 project. The wheel and tyre package is 21-inches, with those wheels featuring a centrelock design. 

The twin-turbocharged 5.2-litre V12 powertrain’s also been given a level up, featuring a huge 705bhp, 15bhp more than the V12 Vantage and on par with the DBS. But, it comes with a smaller 555lb ft peak torque, a similar figure to the V12 Vantage and significantly less than the DBS on account of the lower-rating of its eight-speed automatic transmission. We expect that the same space limitations as the V12 Vantage is to blame for the use of the lower-rated transmission. Power is typically sent to the rear wheels, where it’ll be channelled through a limited-slip differential, and Aston is quoting a 0-100kph time of 3.4sec, accelerating right up to 316kph.

Aston Martin has not confirmed final weight figures, but we suspect it’ll likely sit at around the same figure as the 1765kg V12 Speedster – a number defined largely by the huge powertrain and aluminium chassis, rather than its minimalist carbonfibre bodywork. 

So even if you’re a bit done with open-cabin specials like this, thanks to its much closer association with a historic open-top racer, and a design that looks far more resolved and distinctive from existing models in the range, the DBR22 makes a compelling package for the discerning Aston Martin collector. 

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