Aston Martin has cut the roof off the DB11 and chopped four cylinders off its engine to create the all-new DB11 Volante, a convertible that it claims has the potential to redefine the open-top sports GT car market.
It’s a big boast, but in terms of looks alone, the new Volante makes an even greater impression than the hardtop coupé. Its lines are stronger yet more elegant because they’re not being visually disrupted by a roof, while very smart touches of craftsmanship such as the wooden veneer that adorns the seat backs and which is plain for all to see each time the fabric roof is down add a subtle touch of class.
Purists could be shocked to discover that this drop-top is propelled forward by a V8 rather than a velvety smooth V12, but the eight-cylinder 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged block in question comes courtesy of Mercedes-AMG. It’s good for 380kW and thanks to a three-phase approach to delivering that power, plus three very different driving mode setups and an eight-speed paddle-operated automatic transmission, not to mention the limited slip differential with torque vectoring, Aston insists it offers a greater breadth and depth of performance than any Aston yet to carry the Volante badge.
“The challenge of creating a convertible car is retaining structural and dynamic integrity,” said Max Szwaj, Aston Martin Chief Technical Officer. “With the DB11 Volante we have maximized the advantages of the DB11’s all-new bonded structure to underpin our new Volante with a structure that’s 26kg lighter and 5% stiffer than its predecessor [the DB9 Volante].”
What’s more, the company wants owners to drive their Volantes come rain or shine. It’s bigger than the outgoing DB9 Volante in every respect from luggage space to rear seat legroom – this is the first Volante to come with ISOFIX child seat attachment points as standard. The steering wheel is heated and the fabric roof – made up of eight insulating layers – has been tested to destruction, first in weather chambers and then in Death Valley and around the Arctic Circle.
Perhaps surprisingly, Aston hasn’t provided the car’s vital performance statistics, such as acceleration or top speed, but it has confirmed that the roof drops flat in just 14-seconds and can go up again in 16-seconds and that it can still be raised or lowered while driving at speeds of up to 50km/h – even if driving into a 50km/h headwind at the time.
“For many of our customers, indeed many generations of Aston Martin customer, the Volante has always offered something very special: a unique combination of elegant style, innate sporting ability and sensory engagement that lifts it above other open-top cars. The new DB11 Volante captures those qualities perfectly and promises the kind of pleasure and enjoyment that can only come from driving an open-top Aston Martin,” Aston Martin CEO, Dr Andy Palmer. – AFP Relaxnews