Q by Aston Martin has been making ultra-rare exotica like the Vulcan, Vantage V600, and one-off Victor and is celebrating its tenth anniversary with the new 2023 Aston Martin DBR22 we review here. A few examples will be built for a handful of select Q customers at an undisclosed price that is said to be over $2.2 million. Seeing that this is an extremely limited-run special and the number ten features centrally, most educated guesses point to this also being the number of cars that will be made. Powered by a 705-horsepower twin-turbocharged V12 and possessed of a striking windshield-less speedster profile, you're unlikely to ever see one on the street and we'll have to admire the 2023 DBR22 in pictures - unless you were one of the lucky ones to have attended the 2022 Monterey Car Week, where it was unveiled to the public. A collectible like this doesn't have rivals. Think of speedsters such as the Ferrari Monza SP2 and McLaren Elva, but far rarer than either. The tiny production run means that it won't get a proper windscreen like US-market Elvas and might, therefore, not even be street-legal in the USA. Not that any owners will use theirs as daily drivers, of course.
The DBR22 is not a follow-up of any previous model and is a unique Q for Aston Martin product to commemorate ten years of the bespoke division. It's not a cynical platform-sharing exercise either, with lots of bespoke parts, such as a 3D-printed and bonded rear subframe and a unique carbon-fiber body and interior.
The 2023 Aston Martin DBR22 is not part of a traditional model range and there are no trim levels. In fact, the concept you see in all Aston Martin's promotional photos isn't even what customer cars will look like, because Q for Aston Martin has made it clear that the car will be infinitely customizable, so no two DBR22s will be the same.
The DBR22 is unique in that there will only be a few built and they will all be unique, and customized to the buyer's wishes. The car that Aston Martin unveiled serves as a guide only, a template, if you will, or a blank canvas, on which you can put your personal stamp - at a cost, of course. We can see from the press photos that it has lots of leather and carbon-fiber finishes inside, along with an infotainment screen and a digital gauge cluster, but beyond that, very little is obvious, such as what equipment will be fitted. Being a speedster, it will be more about open-air purity than redundant features such as climate control or a stereo.
The DBR22 is a blank canvas and is customizable to the owner’s wishes. You can be sure that buyers will be able to pick their leathers, trim materials, and colors, as well as have access to many tailoring and personalization options. Beyond the 705-hp V12 engine and eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission, the sky is the limit as to how owners can have their cars specced.
The exterior is a work of art, and crafted from carbon fiber lovingly formed into a timeless shape. It's a cutting-edge, modern hyper-speedster, but you can see styling cues of the '50s Aston Martin DBR1 and DBR3 in the detailing as it recalls the past. Only a limited number of large carbon-fiber body panels are used to minimize shut lines and give the car a muscular, sculpted appearance, as if hewn from a solid block. The hood bears a horseshoe cooling vent and the unique carbon-fiber grille eschews the traditional Aston grille vanes. The side fender vents are a nod to those of the DBR1 of blessed memory. There is, of course, no windshield, just a mere lip suggestive of one, and the aerodynamic nacelles behind the occupants' heads flow gracefully down toward the rear of the car where the body terminates in a horizontal rear light bar with a perforated vent panel and diffuser underneath. Unique 14-spoke lightweight alloy seven-twin-spoke center-lock alloy wheels are used.
A quick look at the Aston Martin DBR22's dimensions will show that it is about the same size as a V12 Speedster. It has a length of 178.1 inches, a wheelbase of 106.5 inches, and an incredibly low height of only 47 inches. Like the V12 Speedster, it probably borrows some under-the-skin parts from the Vantage roadster platform, but extensive use of carbon fiber and items such as a 3D-printed and bonded aluminum rear subframe means the weight of the Aston Martin DBR22 is probably a little less than that of the 3,891-pound V12 Speedster.
There will be no limit as to the colors the Aston Martin DBR22 can be ordered in and the green of the concept car is but a serving suggestion for the owner bent on pushing the menu combinations to the limit. Q for Aston Martin's Paint to Sample option will enable buyers to specify virtually any shade imaginable.
Thanks to 705 hp of turbocharged V8 and the ubiquitous and snappy ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, the Aston Martin DBR22's 0-60 sprint takes only 3.4 seconds, and it keeps on accelerating to a top speed of 198 mph. At that speed, a helmet is strongly advised, even if the windshield lip has been designed to keep the brunt of the oncoming hurricane out of the driver's face.
The engine in the Aston Martin DBR22 is a version of the familiar hand-assembled twin-turbocharged 5.2-liter AE31 V12 that was first used in the 2017 DB11. Tuned here to develop 705 hp and 555 lb-ft of torque, it sends its power to the rear wheels of the DBR22 via an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
Nobody has driven a DBR22, nor can anybody tell you what it's like to use on the road or on a track. Even when it launches, you can forget about reading a road test and, unless you know one of the lucky owners, we can but surmise what kind of on-road delights they will be exposed to. These will, of course, be of the open-top variety, with the wind in your face and the note of the V12 competing for your eardrums' attention as it rapidly fires through the eight gear ratios. The track-honed suspension and rigid structure should mean riveting handling and track credentials, but it's unlikely any owner will ever subject their DBR22 to such treatment.
In short: Nobody cares. Owners won't be buying the DBR22 for its fuel economy and none of them is likely to incur enough mileage for it to even remotely matter. For what it's worth, most current Aston Martin sports cars fitted with the twin-turbo V12 engine return between 16 and 17 mpg on the combined cycle, so the DBR22 should be in this ballpark. We have no idea what the size of the gas tank is, so we don't how far you'd be able to go before having to refuel, assuming you take your DBR22 on a road trip.
The minimalist interior of the Aston Martin DBR22 is pared down to the essentials but meticulously crafted from premium materials. There are an infotainment touchscreen and ventilation controls, along with a bank of touch controls in the center console for gear selection, mirror adjustment, and other controls. The driver-focused dashboard is purpose-made for this car and not used in any other Aston. Everything you need in a speedster is there but nothing is superfluous.
There is seating for two only in the racy interior environment in two carbon-fiber performance seats. As is typical of Q by Aston Martin, the division will most likely allow you to spec the individual tailoring, mounting height, and materials to your taste and to fit the driver like a glove. The interior space is intimate yet resolutely performance-focused and the view ahead is spectacularly panoramic and unobstructed thanks to the merest hint of a wind deflector and no windscreen or front upper structure at all.
The sky is the limit as to what will be available in terms of interior materials and finishes and the show car gave us but a hint with its tan leather on the seats, doors, center console, and dashboard, interspersed with exposed carbon fiber. All surfaces are metal, leather, or exposed carbon fiber, with nary a piece of plastic in sight, as is appropriate at this price level. Q by Aston Martin will allow you to personalize your DBR22 to the nth degree with your choice of interior finishes and colors, as well as the type of leather and where it is applied.
You won't be taking anything along but a passenger and a pair of helmets, and the DBR22 is not made for storing stuff. Aston Martin will most likely supply a few cubbies here and there to put your phone and wallet while driving. If you need to take more stuff with you, you might be missing the point of this car. It's about an exhilarating fair-weather driving experience, not touring.
The USP of the DBR22 is the joy of driving, not the feature count. Unnecessary features will just drive up the weight and cloud the mission statement. You get a tailored interior with leather and carbon fiber galore, but there's no roof or windows, just a subtle wind deflector wrapping around and blending into the upper doors. Rudimentary ventilation controls are provided, most likely with the speedster must-have heater, but we imagine air-conditioning will be pointless in an open car like this and is unlikely to be included. The flat-bottomed carbon-fiber steering wheel incorporates big carbon-fiber shift paddles and there's also a digital gauge cluster. The center console houses several controls, including for the side mirrors and a shortcut button for calling the emergency services.
There is one concession to our modern connected lives, however, and that is the center infotainment display, but Aston Martin isn't saying what features are included. You'll probably be able to control vehicle systems with it, but even if phone mirroring is included, it might not be of much use at nearly 200 mph wearing a helmet, so hopefully, that's not one of the things you want to do while in your DBR22.
Owners may never accumulate nearly enough seat time or mileage to test the durability limits, but if there are any defects, they will be covered by recall action, of which there is a pleasing lack on most modern Astons. The rest will be covered by whatever warranty cover Aston is including, which we imagine would be similar to what is provided with its other cars - three years/unlimited mileage for both the limited and powertrain warranties.
Bespoke exotics like the DBR22 are never crash-tested and don't receive safety ratings. The DBR22 might be seen at exhibitions, shows, and museum exhibits in the US, but probably never on the road, as that wind deflector and lack of a windshield frame are likely to mean that it cannot legally be driven in America anyway. The carbon-fiber crash structure is probably as safe as any, should you need it, but for the rest, you'll have to rely on a helmet and those overhead nacelles for protection if it comes to the crunch. Again, we doubt any DBR22 will be used in enough anger to put it in a situation to call on any safety systems or crash credentials.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
We know that the basics will be fitted, but exactly how many safety features will be standard is unclear. For sale in the US, ABS, stability control, and a backup camera will be required. But since it probably already doesn't meet US requirements due to the lack of a windscreen, the few wealthy US owners that can lay their hands on one will probably keep it at their overseas residences or import it as a non-conforming vehicle that may not be used on the street, but only on private roads. We know it has at least one airbag for the driver, but what other safety equipment will end up on the final product is hard to tell.
There is no rational way to judge a car like the Aston Martin DBR22 and it doesn't meet the expectations people have of normal cars, because it's everything but a normal car. As a bespoke limited-run unicorn that will barely make it to the twin digits in total number built - and of which each will be individually tailored and therefore unique in the world - the DBR22 is as peerless and without comparison as they come. Adding the exhilarating sensory overload provided by the speedster format and howling V12 just behind you simply sweetens the deal. You could even argue that two bar makes it a comparative bargain for this type of exclusivity.
There is no standard MSRP or final price for the new 2023 Aston Martin DBR22 as the individual customization applied to each example with invariably lead to a huge variation, depending on the level of individualization. A basic starting price of £1.8 million has been suggested, which would translate to around $2.217 million at the time of writing, but that is obviously before any buyer-commissioned work starts on the car, so the final bill will be much higher.
The DBR22 doesn't come with a specific options list and the changes possible on customer cars will have more to do with the specific needs owners have to personalize and customize their cars, either to optimize performance or to tailor trim, features, and finishes to their taste. They're not even being held to a set paint palette and can select any Paint to Sample option. The possibilities are endless.
There is only one DBR22, so it comes down to how you want to put your personal stamp on it and what level of customization you require. In essence, you are creating your own car off a base template and it will be unique in the world, which is why you're already a select Q customer, no doubt.
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