One might be tempted to compare and contrast the wonders of the new Lamborghini Huracán STO and Aston Martin’s DBS, but if you don’t know which of these two $ 300,000 supercars is better, you are asking the question. bad question. The differences are vast and understand the personality of these two cars before you even hear them start; before awkwardly bending your body on board either.
With the Aston Martin DBS, you get a twin-turbocharged 5.2-liter V-12 beast that puts out 715 horsepower. This will propel the 2 + 2 gliding to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and up to 211 mph. The Lamborghini Huracán STO stuffs its identical 5.2 liters into a V-10, producing 631 horsepower. But where the DBS weighs in rather lush 4,100 pounds, the STO has been stripped down, as it’s supposed to be a track-ready Huracán, and only weighs 2,952 pounds. As a result, each nerve ending feels scalded when it hits 60 mph in 2.6 seconds. That said, it’s not “as fast” as the Aston since the terminal speed is 193 mph.
Visually, you can see their personalities. In fact, you can actually see how performances are approached from their respective forms. First, the STO, which stands for Super Trofeo Omologata, is a barely raced version of the Huracán, built with as much carbon fiber as possible, for light weight. To this end, the Sant’Agata Bolognese crew managed to reduce the bulk of some of the carbon fiber material while maintaining structural rigidity – same panels, but not as heavy.
Just as important as lightness was Lamborghini’s goal of making the car run with precision. It looks like a bag of knives, all sharp angles, but each has a purpose. Going through some of them from front to back, the nose is now made up of a single piece that can be removed entirely (in case you swap more than just paint on the trail).
Called the cofango, an amalgamation of cofango (hood) and parafango (wing), this element is split up front, to dip in more air and keep the Huracán’s front wheels taut on the road. But note the severity of the flat sides of the wheel arches: this is a design pulled straight from racing, and while a smoother fender may have more visual appeal, a greasy flattened fender l air that would otherwise be trapped in the passage around the wheel.
At the rear, a snorkel allows the naturally aspirated V-10 to breathe, while a series of deflectors exhaust this warm air. Even as this snorkel cascades down these fins, another oceanic theme pops up – a massive carbon fiber shark fin works like a mast. Much like on a sailboat, the spoiler directs air from the side, giving the STO a force to lean against in turns as the air sinks into the massive rear wing. This last element, and barely the least visible, can be nailed down from different angles, either for more grip or for more aerodynamic efficiency.
All of these tips add up. Lamborghini says the STO is 37% more aerodynamic and can produce up to 53% more downforce than the outgoing Performante. Note that, visually aggressive as it sounds, the STO is relentless. Its three preset suspension and transmission modes are all fierce. Even in the mildest of them, you’ll feel every ripple in the road going through your spine. At full throttle, you can’t manually move the seven-speed clutches to keep it from bouncing off the rev limiter. From the shape of the Lambo to the engine, to the gearing and suspension slammed on the road, that’s quite the point: it’s a track car that can carry a license plate without tightening.
The Aston Martin DBS, on the other hand, is hardly a visual nap. It’s smooth and curvy baked in clay wherever the Lamborghini is laser cut. A single stroke of the pen could trace the shoulder of the DBS from above – the curves of this car present a perfect hourglass as the front and rear fenders flare out drastically, then the center of the Aston tapers to a pinch at the cut line of the door. It looks wide, but it’s actually almost the same width as the STO. Yet while this Lambo seems to try to cut through space, the DBS seems to try to widen and lower, visually indicating – from its wide-mouthed grille to its front hips – a sort of crouch. The grille and air intakes in front of the fenders may look aggressive, but neither of these shapes end in a clean cut.
If you want to counter this point, Aston Martin is fueling this cause. What Aston calls the “belt” (a hash cut out of the upper rear half of the front wheel arch that ventilates the brakes and creates downforce) looks like crude math setting aside anthropomorphism. You can find a mix of the two in the deep V-shaped side air intake that hugs the roofline of the greenhouse as the former falls towards the tail of the DBS. The point here is to cool and press, but it’s done elegantly.
The rear of the DBS is perhaps the car’s less elegant view. There is no massive fender like with the STO, but the stacked lip on the trunk lid, falling next to a series of protrusions, then a split diffuser under the quadruple tailpipes, can represent hundreds of pounds of support, but the effect is stammered, all stops start and stop.
Driving the Aston Martin can be as noisy as driving the Lamborghini, or almost. Here you’ll also have three drive modes, but only Sport + triggers, and there’s no doubt that if the Lamborghini’s V-10 is loud like a race car, the Aston’s V-12 song is Magnificent. It should be, since this engine is from Mercedes’ AMG division, as is the infotainment system. In addition, this interior is almost spacious in comparison. You can’t fit real humans in the back seats, but they’re there and they’re handy for luggage. The same goes for the trunk, which is big enough that the “turismo” part of the “Gran Turismo” jargon makes sense for this Aston.
While there is no answer to which is the best, there shouldn’t be. But you can tell from these two ultra-exclusive doors that supercars can indeed be very different inside and out.
Images by Michael Frank