Feast your eyes on the latest in a long line of soft-top Aston Martins to use the evocative name of Volante.
The DB11 Volante joins the DB11 coupe, replacing the old but lovely DB9 Volante. It’s built not around Aston’s 5.2-litre V12, but the new, lower-revving AMG-sourced 4.0-litre V8, with 503bhp at 6000rpm and 513lb ft at 2000-5000rpm. There’s no word yet on whether the V12 will be offered at all, or whether this model marks the beginning of the end for the glorious 12-pot. No sign of a hybrid, either.
Performance from this one is, nonetheless, adequate. Top speed is 187mph, just like the V8 coupe’s, while the 4.1-second 0-62mph sprint time is just a tenth slower. Here’s a pub quiz detail for you: it idles at just 650rpm. You can fill its 78-litre fuel tank with 95 RON unleaded, which is nice, but a car like this will prefer super.
At the front of the 4.75-metre GT are massive 400mm two-piece ventilated steel discs gripped by six-piston calipers. The backs are also ventilated, but measure 360mm and are squeezed by four-pot calipers.
It does use the same bonded aluminium chassis as the coupe, bringing a 26kg weight reduction and a five per cent increase in body stiffness versus the DB9 Volante. Total weight with 100 per cent fuel and standard equipment is 1875kg.
Standard equipment, since you asked, covers full high-grade leather upholstery, electric seats, 20-inch wheels, 360-degree surround-view cameras for parking, sat-nav, satellite radio in the US and, for the first time, Isofix child seat mounts on the back seats. Sensible consumer journalism, this.
Naturally there’s a healthy list of expensive options, including a Bang & Olufsen BeoSound stereo, coloured seatbelts, a heated steering wheel and something called the Dark Chrome Jewellery Pack. We’re sure that last one will be especially popular in Cheshire.
The eight-layer acoustic fabric roof – because Volante owners want you to know it’s a Volante even with the roof closed – is a particular highlight. Folding down in a very brisk 14 seconds at up to 31mph, even with a 31mph headwind, it also raises and closes in 16 seconds. You can operate it remotely, from the key, if you’d like to be that guy who opens his soft-top’s roof as he struts up to it.
In testing, the roof is placed into special weather chambers that simulate extreme conditions and accelerate their effects, both to test its long-term water-tightness but also its ability to keep working at all temperatures it’s likely to face. It ran more than 100,000 opening and closing cycles in a simulated lifetime of 10 years. Real-world follow-up testing locations included Death Valley and the Arctic Circle.
It isn’t cheap, starting at £159,900 in the UK, €199,000 in Germany and $216,495 in the USA. It’s £15,000 more expensive than the V8 coupe, and even a couple of grand pricier than the hard-top version with the V12. Interesting…