So what if it’s autumn? Cruising along in the sunshine’s cool any time of the year, even if you do have to button up while doing it. That’s at least part of what I assume the thought process was behind the DB11 Volante. Not that I’m complaining mind you; ever since the release of the DB11 Coupe last year, this is what we’ve been waiting for.
The DB11 was maybe a bit more divisive than it needed to be. That’s not Aston Martin’s fault at all, it’s just that the marque is such a national treasure seeing the DB name reinvented into something ultra-modern put some classic aficionados at odds.
It’s easy to see why they did it. No national treasure bar the crown jewels can remain the same forever and even then there’s an element of colonial hindsight. For Aston that meant moving with the times and updating the classic DB badge into something more predatory.
As far as I’m concerned it was a needed change. The Vanquish series went a good part of the way but the DB completed the transformation. Yet there was always a piece missing. Maybe it’s because it was one of the first cars I ever reviewed, but the DB9 Volante has a special place in my heart.
Cruising around the Cotswolds – even avoiding the occasional angry Land Rover – was a beautiful experience. It just… fit. Waiting for the Volante for an entire year has been painful. Thank god, it’s been well worth the wait.
Performance wise there’s not much of a difference between the Coupe and the Volante. That’s impressive in and of itself, as the general trend is knocking a few km/h off the specs thanks to the extra weight of the convertible system. Here it might feel a little less agile than the Coupe but it doesn’t affect the 187mph (300km/h) top speed or the 4.4 second 0-62 sprint.
A good part of that is thanks to the 20kg of weight the engineers have shed between generations. It’s no small amount, especially considering you can still raise and lower the roof in around 15 seconds, going up to 31mph (50km/h) and headwind of the same.
The roof itself is made from eight layers of materials, lessening the twin terrors for any soft top driver: the cold of winter and the keys of a vandal. It still retains the classic look of a fabric roof, the bi-colour contrast that many drivers love – myself included – it just makes things a little more practical.
The sense of practicality carried through to the engine, the same 2.0-litre twin-turbo V8 that you can find in the less riotous of the two DB11 Coupes. It’s at the more restrained and efficient end of the supercar spectrum and a world away from the insanity of hypercars, but still offers a fantastic turn of speed.
Inside it’s surprisingly sporty, with seats somewhere between racing and touring in shape but draped in fine stitched leather. That’s about as much as I can really say about the inside, not because there’s not a lot to talk about but because Aston Martin is offering a veritable host of interior options.
You can choose from woods and carbon fibre for the dash and rear seats, the colour of leather, even the Volante roof, all to create your ideal version of Aston Martin’s latest flagship. I’ll take it in British racing green, if you’d be so kind. At least that’s autumnal.
Writer: Sam Kessler