Luxist Drives the Aston Martin DBS Volante, and it Gives Convertibles a Very, Very Good Name
When you love the performance of a particular coupe, it's not often that you get to hop in the convertible version and say to yourself, "So... you mean I can have the same thing with the top down?" But in between the tight and relentless esses of Monterey's Carmel Valley Road, that's what we found ourselves debating. What we settled on was this: While the handling envelope of the DBS coupe is excellent, the envelope of the DBS Volante is, well, excellent.
Aston's coupes tug at several of our senses – and thoroughly at that – in a way that isn't merely competent components living together, but as a living, breathing organism that speaks to you. The company's convertibles, though, will not be forgotten, primarily because they are exactly what we want in roofless motoring: everything from the coupe, without a top. It doesn't happen often, and especially not when it comes to performance cars.
Yet that is what all of the company's roadsters deliver – same performance, more sun. The DBS Volante doesn't veer from that assessment. However, we did find something new in the Aston script with this car. It was so good at what it did that we quickly forgot what we were driving, and didn't care to remember.
Allow us to explain: the DBS coupe is a hard-edged beast covered in aluminum and stitched leather. Put the top down on the DBS Volante, and you're gently cruising in a hard-edged beast covered in aluminum and stitched leather but with a cabin full of glorious sunlight. Nothing new there.
The DBS, though, isn't a beast that wants only to cruise. It wants to run. It loves to run. And when it runs, the back of it is alive with twin baritone squalls. In the DBS Volante, those V12 sirens aren't somewhere "back there," they're in the back seats, right behind your headrest, so close it's like they're trying to climb into the front seats to see where they're taking you. The noise from that 6.0-liter V12, which produces 510 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque, is simply audacious.
And the chassis is just as good. Sail into a corner with high speed and extra gusto, the car will make sure you sail out the other end in the right direction. The car scrabbles just a hair when powering through unkindly surfaced corners, but that's more about the car itself than the lack of a top. It isn't perfect, but it is most excellent. The DBS Volante will shake and scuttle more from the Bang & Olufsen stereo than it will from any maneuver.
But then there's that improved Touchtronic transmission, and that is so close to perfect that we'll go ahead and call it perfect. It shifts faster than before and delivers on every promise – and we mean every single promise – of what a "flappy paddle" transmission can be. Shifts are instant and seamless in every situation we could come up with. And because the exhaust note, the one right behind you, is downloading information on available revs and power straight into your auditory canal, you never have to look at the gear selector display. The sound is the only shift indicator you need.
Which is why when we got to the Come Conquer Me section of Carmel Valley Road, all of a sudden, the car didn't matter at all. The only thing that mattered was what it could do. We didn't have time to think that we were in a death match with physics and asphalt – and winning – in a convertible Aston Martin, and we didn't care. We only thought, "Keep doing it..."
As a car and a package, the DBS Volante is exquisite. As a convertible, it's that, times two, plus a whole sky full of sun. And thankfully, it still looks good with its top up... but why would you do that? If it's raining, just take the DBS coupe.