2009 Aston Martin DBS VolanteEnlarge Photo
• What is it? The logical convertible version of Aston Martin's DBS sportscar
• The basics: 6.0-liter V-12 with 510 horsepower; 191-mph top speed; six-speed manual or automatic transmission
• On sale: Now
• Price: $300,000 (est.)
With the clock counting down for the worldwide launch of its Rapide sedan, Aston Martin continues to fill out its exotically British lineup. Next up for the bespoke brand? The roadster DBS Volante arriving in buyers' hands later this year and wearing a 2010 model-year tag..
Aston previewed the new convertible at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, and is showing clients across America the new car, with a stop planned at this month's Pebble Beach Concours.
By their accounts, the DBS Volante is the "ultimate open air motoring experience." If you're inclined to agree, the only evidence you need to point to may be the Volante's bruising V-12 engine. The 6.0-liter V-12 exhales 510 horsepower and twists out 420 pound-feet of torque, which gets shuttled to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. With either, Aston Martin says the Volante dashes to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and charges to a 191-mph top speed.
Playing backup to the massively powerful drivetrain are big carbon-ceramic brakes and a lighter-weight body with a hood, decklid and front fenders made from carbon fiber. Driving feel is adjustable, with dash-mounted buttons for Sport or normal modes. Sport quickens the reflexes of the automatic, the shocks, steering and throttle, while the normal mode promises a more relaxed, GT-style ride.
The DBS's bonded and riveted aluminum body should stay rigid, since the automaker planned the DBS Volante in tandem with the coupe. Instead of a weight-gaining folding hardtop like the Ferrari California, Aston's fitted a lightweight fabric roof that stacks and folds in only 14 seconds, at speeds of up to 30 mph. When it's stowed, the top hides underneath a hard tonneau cover that gives the Volante a distinct look from the coupe.
The Volante is technically speaking, a 2+2, but the back seat and its leather-trimmed seats are admittedly made for "younger persons or extra luggage," Aston reminds. Interior trim is accented with carbon fiber and trimmed of fat with lightweight carpeting--though Aston still fits a Bang & Olufsen "BeoSound DBS" in-car entertainment system, complete with 13 speakers and sound tuned for top-down driving. Safety gear includes stability control with track-driving modes, as well as front and side airbags and anti-lock brakes.
TheCarConnection will be driving the Volante at Pebble Beach, and reporting back here with photos and driving impressions and whatever else we can capture. Stay tuned, and follow our Pebble Beach Concours tag for the latest from the classic-car weekend starting August 12.