As sure as night follows day, whenever there’s a new core coupe model in the Aston Martin lineup, the drop-top version comes soon after. This time, it’s the turn of the DB12 Volante, a new take on the DB12 launched earlier this year but with the option of alfresco motoring at serious speed.
The Mercedes-AMG-borrowed 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8 is entirely unchanged from the tin-top DB12, and that means it develops 671bhp and 590lb ft of torque. It’s 111kg heavier than the coupe, with a rather significant dry weight of 1,796kg, which does blunt performance, but only slightly. The 0-62mph time is 3.7 seconds, a mere tenth slower, while the top speed remains the same at 202mph.
Hacking away a car’s roof isn’t awfully helpful in terms of torsional rigidity, but the DB12 has a few tricks up its aluminium sleeves to ensure it doesn’t feel like a floppy mess in comparison to the coupe. Various beefed-up parts including the upper rear suspension mounting points and the engine-cross brace increase torsion stiffness by nearly five per cent, Aston Martin says.
The ‘Z-fold’ fabric roof, meanwhile, should do a good job of keeping things hushed when it’s in place, thanks to its eight layers of insulation. You can spec it in one of four colours - black, black and silver, red or blue.
When the weather’s good enough for it to go down, you’re looking at 14 seconds to open it, and 16 seconds to close, which can be done at speeds of up to 31mph and into headwinds of up to 31mph. As a neat party trick, you can also operate the roof using the key fob, providing you’re within a couple of metres of the car.
Save for a light suspension tune, the chassis is much the same as the coupe’s. That means you get double wishbones at the front and a multilink setup at the rear, with adaptive dampers featuring a “500 per cent increase in bandwidth of force distribution,” Aston notes.
Speaking about the new car, Aston Martin’s chief technical officer Roberto Fedeli said:
“That we have preserved this class-leading performance and handling is testament to the underlying brilliance of the DB12 platform and the work we have done to maintain the advantage of its superb powertrain and chassis in an open-top version. No longer the ‘softer’ option, DB12 Volante offers the stimulation of a true sports car with the unique pleasure and satisfaction that only a convertible Aston Martin can deliver.”
Pricing hasn’t been disclosed, but given that a DB12 coupe is £185,000, the DB12 Volante might just top £200,000. First deliveries will begin during the four quarter of 2023, so owners will need to cross their fingers for a mild autumn/winter to let them make the most of their new drop-tops.