Aston Martin’s glorious new DB11 Volante is simply the best luxury convertible in the world, raves Road Test Editor Howard Walker.
Look, look, a shooting star. It’s the second I’ve spotted in just the last half-hour. Well, I think it’s a shooting star. Might just be a Delta 737 on its way to Atlanta. Over there, that’s definitely Orion’s Belt. Or is it the Big Dipper? Always get them mixed up. But there’s the Milky Way. And that shiny bright-white star close to the moon? Has to be Venus! This impromptu stargazing session comes courtesy of the newest and brightest star in the rapidly expanding Aston Martin line-up, the achingly-gorgeous 2018 DB11 Volante.
While a convertible – any convertible – is awesome for putting sun on your face and wind in your follicles, it also makes the perfect sky-at-night viewing platform. Find a beach well away from city lights, crank-back your seat, and just look up at nature’s free celestial light show.
To stargaze in style however, you’ll want, no crave, this newest Volante. Here is quite simply the most beautiful, the most exquisite, most visually spectacular open-top car on the market today. No question. With this new Volante, Aston Martin has pulled-off a design master-stroke. Top up, or top down, it is equally gorgeous. And prettier, if that’s possible, than the DB11 Coupe.
Without doubt, the Volante’s delicate lines are down to the fact that Aston has stuck with a canvas top, its designers having resisted the temptation of following Mercedes with the SL, and now Ferrari with its new Portofino, in giving the car a folding metal roof. Having a cloth top also speeds-up the lowering and raising process. Toggle the center-console switch and it takes a mere 14 seconds for that tight-fitting, eight-layer top to power back. And it even works on the move at speeds up to 31 mph.
It also has a new party trick guaranteed to leave onlookers slack-jawed, shaken and stirred. At the touch of a key fob button, you can raise or lower the top remotely. How to feel like 007 in one easy step? Hit the button as you walk nonchalantly towards the car, and slide behind the wheel just as the top finishes powering back.
The view of the world from behind the wheel of this new DB11 Volante doesn’t get much better. You sit deep in the car, protected from the elements by that swept-back windshield. All around you is exquisite hand-stitched leather – blue and chalky-white in our test car – with matte-finished dark wood detailing to add to the bespoke, craftsman feel of the car.
Press the start button and the big 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 erupts into life with the same rather unruly authority of a pit-bull clearing its throat. It’s the same Mercedes AMG-sourced powerhouse used in the DB11 coupe, packing an impressive 503 horsepower and big-muscle 513 foot-pounds of torque.
Extra body stiffening to compensate for chopping off the roof has added 242 pounds to the Volante’s waistline, compared to the V8 coupe. But the extra bulk does nothing to dull the lightening-fast performance of this alloy-bodied beauty. Standstill to 60 mph acceleration is covered in 4.0 seconds, with the forward thrust continuing until the digital speedo needle is hovering over the 187-mph mark. There’s ZF’s terrific eight-speed auto to ensure you’re always in the right gear, and huge steel discs clamped by six-piston calipers to haul you down from high velocities without drama.
While the Volante has the precision and agility to fire through curves at amazing speeds, it is equally adept at playing the elegant, refined grand tourer, delivering a silky-smooth ride and putting few demands on driver and passenger. Of course the joy of this car is enjoying the athletic performance and nimble handling with the top folded and the sun on your face. And here Aston designers have excelled, managing the airflow around the cockpit so there’s next to no buffeting, battering or excessive noise. Even at triple-digit velocities.
To my mind, this is simply the best convertible in the world, a car so visually beautiful, so joyous to drive it justifies every one of the 219,581 dollars it takes to acquire it. As for playing Hunt-the-International-Space-Station from the driver’s seat at night? Priceless!
For more information about the latest luxurious road rockets from Aston Martin, please visit https://global.astonmartin.com/en-us