The new Aston Martin convertible gives the Ferrari Portofino a run for its money
The all-new Aston Martin DB11 coupe was a real stepchange for the famed British sports car brand. The advanced aluminium architecture was designed to be fully flexible, and weâ€™re now seeing the first fruits of Astonâ€™s labour â€“ the DB11 Volante convertible.
Like the coupe, this is a striking and good-looking car. Because the bits underneath have been so well designed, the bits you can see are less compromised than ever. You can see that in the design of the roof, which is nice and thick to insulate the inside, but not so chunky to appear bulky and bulbous.
When folded, itâ€™s remarkable how low and flat it goes, giving the DB11 Volante a very graceful appearance, yet still with some semblance of boot space. Indeed, itâ€™s 20 per cent larger than the DB9 Volante it replaces, and if you keep the roof up, more than 200 litres is available.
Aston Martin DB11 Volante
Engine: 4.0-litre, V8, twin-turbocharged petrol
Power: 503bhp at 6000rpm
Torque: 514lb ft at 2000-5000rpm
Gearbox: 8-spd automatic
Top speed: 0-62mph
Fuel economy: 28.3mpg
CO2/tax: 230g/kmÂ 37%
Another benefit of clever up-front design is a structure thatâ€™s stronger and stiffer than ever. This is important for convertibles, which lose some of the rigidity of a coupe through having the roof chopped off. Aston has upped the sturdiness considerably compared to the DB9, which bodes well for how it drives.
For now, the DB11 Volante only comes with Astonâ€™s Mercedes-AMG-sourced 4.0-litre turbo V8, which puts out 503bhp. Itâ€™s a lovely engine, and the firm has not deemed it necessary to fit a louder exhaust compared to the coupe, so it remains cultured and refined.
The chassis has been tweaked, to offset the more rearwards weight bias of the Volante, but to drive, youâ€™ll probably never notice. Itâ€™s as agreeable as the coupe, just with the added pleasure of open-top motoring (you can even lower the roof on the move, at speeds of up to 31mph). Ride quality is particularly pleasing.
If anything, one aspect of the DB11 Volante is even better than the coupe: its steering. Because Aston has stiffened up key elements in the chassis to compensate for the chopped roof, this boosts the steering response and even endows it with a bit more feel. Maybe the same changes will come to the coupe in timeâ€¦
It keeps the same striking interior, although some aspects of it are not quite befitting of a Â£160,000 car. The air vents are far too cheap and the digital instrument panel looks cheap compared to what you get in the latest Bentley Continental GT.
This isnâ€™t enough to put us off. This stylish, sporty drop-top four-seater is a good-looking machine thatâ€™s more exclusive (and more expensive) than most Porsches, sweeter to drive than some of the pricey supercar big beasts and, overall, a very appealing everyday sports GT tourer. Itâ€™s another modern-day bullseye from Aston.