Britain's Aston Martin has revealed the latest member of its Volante convertible family, a drop-top version of the DBS Superleggera Grand Tourer launched late last year in coupe form.
True to form for a flagship model from a prestige automaker, Aston Martin didn't simply chop the top off the Superleggera to create the Volante. An eight-layer cloth top replaces the coupe's fixed roof, opening the DBS's occupants up to "a true orchestra of sound" thanks to a quad exhaust system tuned to produce "a pure, harmonic and authentic voice" from the car's twin-turbo V12 engine.
Aston said it tested the Superleggera's roof mechanism in the Arctic and Death Valley to ensure it would stand up to weather extremes, putting the folding roof mechanism through 100,000 up/down cycles to simulate 10 years of usage. It's probably a good thing for Aston's engineers, then, that the roof is designed to go down in 14 seconds and back up again in 16. Naturally, the roof is power-operated either from in the car or via the key fob.
The new convertible variant builds on the coupe's aerodynamic prowess and makes few compromises for its stowable cloth roof.
Aston says the Volante shares the coupe's splitter and air dam to direct air under the front of the car to enhance downforce. The convertible gets deeper side strakes to improve airflow around the front wheel arches to reduce lift and boost high-speed stability.
The Volante's most significant aerodynamic differentiation is out back. There, a revised version of Aston's Aeroblade II compensates for the convertible's revised profile to generate 177 kg of downforce at the car's top speed. That's just 3 kg less than the coupe, which Aston says is quite a feat given the fundamental changes that go along with turning a car from coupe to convertible.
Like the DBS Superleggera coupe, the new Volante variant gets its motivation from a 5.2L twin-turbo V12 engine. Aston says its 715 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque are good for a 0–100 km acceleration sprint of 3.6 seconds, and a 0–161 km/h (100 mph) time of 6.7 seconds. Both times are marginally slower than the coupe's acceleration potential.
The car's GT drive mode produces an engine note that "simmers", while sport and sport-plus coax more intense acoustics from the car's mechanics. But as if to prove Aston understands that life can't always be about enjoying your personal 12-piece mechanical orchestra, the DBS Superleggera Volante has a "quiet start" mode to quell the car's normal "rousing flare of revs" on engine start-up.
Aston says it will begin deliveries of the DBS Superleggera Volante in late summer and fall of 2019. In the US, the car will sell for US$329,100, which works out to more than $440,000 at today's exchange rates.