The Prince of Wales, Ice-T, Steven Spielberg, Michael Jordan, David Beckham, Elle Macpherson – famous Aston Martin owners with one thing in common: they have all gone topless.
Convertible Astons – badged Volantes since the mid ‘60s – have traditionally accounted for half of all sales and the new DB11 Volante announced today (13 October) is expected to be no different, especially in sunnier countries around the world where gran turismo motoring gets no more glamorous than when behind the wheel of an Aston with its top down. For those in colder climes, Aston Martin thoughtfully offers a heated steering wheel as an option…
This is an Aston convertible doing what Aston convertibles do best: looking bloomin’ marvellous. The trade-off for such a sleek top-down profile is perhaps less of the coupe’s contemporary design character – there’s no equivalent of the floating roof arches here. But overall it’s a svelte transition from coupe to convertible with, as expected, beautiful attention to detail. A neat touch is the new veneer panels on the seat backs.
The fabric hood is an eight-layer job available in red, black-silver or grey-silver. Aston says when it is down (in 14 seconds at speeds up to 31mph) it has a class-leading ‘stack height’ for not only that flat rear deck but also 20 per cent more boot space compared to the outgoing DB9 Volante.
Just as with the DB11 coupe, the new Volante moves the game on over the DB9 in lots of other ways, too. More usable rear seats, for the first time with ISOFIX points for child seats, more room, more comfort and more refinement, plus the quality and electronics re-invention ushered in by the DB11, are all evident here.
And will it be a more rigid-feeling car than the DB9 Volante? The proof will be in the pudding, but Aston is clear the DB11’s new bonded aluminium structure is both stiffer (by five per cent) and lighter (by 26kg) than that of the DB9 Volante.
Apart from an extra 110kg on kerb weight, the Volante spec sheet otherwise reads just like that of the DB11 coupe – in V8 form at least. The AMG-derived 4.0-litre twin-turbo 503bhp V8 is the only engine option so far announced. 0-62mph is one-tenth of a second slower at 4.1 seconds, but top speed is the same at 187mph. And a V12 version? No news on that so far.
Aston says all this comes together in a car that has been engineered to deliver a much broader range of abilities than its predecessor. A key feature here is a new three-stage system of selectable powertrain and chassis modes to suit different driving conditions.
Elegant, gimmick-free, beautifully made and with the promise of gran turismo motoring at its best, the first DB11 Volantes are due to be delivered in spring 2018, with prices from £159,900, £24,000 up on the V8 coupe. Just make sure you save up a bit more for that heated steering wheel.