Better late than never. While autumn may be upon us, Aston Martin is giving luxury buyers a reason to look forward to warmer weather with the debut of the new DB11 Volante.
The convertible is set to become the third variant of the Aston Martin DB11 when it rolls into showrooms next spring, joining a rapidly growing line-up that will soon include both the DBX sport-utility vehicle as well as the British maker’s first all-electric model.
Aston sticks with a folding cloth top for the DB11 Volante, rather than the origami-like metal alternatives some competitors have opted for. But the approach helps minimize added weight and keeps the center of gravity down low, a definite plus for a 2+2 sports car.
And Aston claims the eight-layer fabric boasts the latest in acoustic materials, so it’s not much noisier than those foldaway hardtops. It’s also well enough insulated to keep motorists cool in Death Valley, or warm above the Arctic Circle.
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The top also can be lowered in 14 seconds, or raised in 16 — and at speeds of up to 31 miles per hour, according to Aston. It’s a one-touch affair. In fact, you can operate it remotely from the key fob.
The top adds just about 240 pounds to the weight of the Aston Martin DB11 V8 coupe, bringing total mass to around 4,110 pounds. To put things into comparison, that’s almost 60 pounds lighter than the convertible version of the old DB9.
As quick as that top might be, the Volante itself is even faster, the Brits claiming it will streak from 0 to 100 kmh, or 0 to 62.5 mph, in 4.1 seconds, essentially unchanged from the coupe, as is the top speed of 187 mph — here with the top up.
The DB11 was launched roughly a year ago – replacing the aging DB9 – with a lovely, Aston-made V-12 making an even 600 horsepower. It recently added the DB11 V8, here using a 503 hp twin-turbo borrowed from erstwhile rival Mercedes-AMG. It’s actually a detuned version of the 4.0-liter engine used by Mercedes in the 2018 AMG S63 where it punches out a full 603 horses. That said, it may be slower, but the Aston version still delivers some neck-snapping acceleration.
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One reason for not offering the V-12 is that it would add more weight and throw off the car’s weight balance. It’s actually slightly tail heavy, however, with a split of 47/53, compared to 49/51 for the coupe.
The old DB9 was a stunner in its day but clearly had grown old by the time the DB11 coupe was introduced. Among other things, it lacked some of the latest niceties, including a modern infotainment system.
The Volante gets all the upgrades launched with the DB11 hardtop, as well as some of the tweaks added to the V8 model, many of them addressing – modest but notable – complaints about the interior’s layout and materials. The Volante adds some additional touches, such as the choice of wood or carbon fiber veneer on the seat backs.
There’s also a new, active rear spoiler designed to pop up at higher speeds to enhance stability. It was needed, Aston explained, due to the unique aerodynamics created by folding the top down.
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The new Aston Martin DB11 Volante is set to become the most expensive version of the 2+2 when it reaches showrooms during the second quarter of 2018 at a starting price of $216,000.