Retro review: the Aston Martin DBS Volante (2009)

Before anything else, the sound, the monstrous, remarkable, Technicolor noise. The DBS Volante makes the sort of audio that brings you out in goosepimples and also extreme simile: roofing down, rebounding off drystone bushes, you’re obstructed in the centre of a band pit, a bassy roar at low revs, reaching a full-strings- and-woodwinds crescendo as you pound the V12 in the direction of 7,000 rpm.

If ever before there was a noise to warrant the large rightness of interior burning, this is it: cold-blooded, hard-edged as well as, when the exhaust bypass shutoffs turn open at 4,000 rpm, gigantically loud. Some foolish people state you’ll get the same impact with the windows down in the DBS sports car (yes, that’s The Bond Automobile, allow’s get it out the way currently). Neglect these individuals. The Volante makes a noise so deeply, deeply amazing that you assume, “₤ 170k? That’s not so negative …”.

Ah. ₤ 170,000. It is, admittedly, rather a great deal of money. Actually, it’s an awful great deal of cash: ₤ 50,000 more than the DB9 Volante, ₤ 11,000 more than the DBS sports car. Then again, the DBS Volante is a dreadful lot of automobile. For a beginning, just take a look at it. It’s … magnificent. Nothing else word. Some silly people– probably the very same ones who dole out that daft windows-down guidance– may inform you the DBS isn’t as attractive as the DB9, that it’s a little bit too bling, a little bit too fussy. Again, neglect these people. Check out those beautiful ‘rate bulges’ that hide the pop-up roll hoops on the back deck. Leading down, I think it’s an also much better looking thing than the DBS sports car.

The adulation alone has to deserve a few grand. Everyone likes the Volante. On a weekend jaunt to the far end of Cornwall, every quit at a petrol station– as well as there are a lot of these in a DBS– attracted a crowd. In a Ferrari or a Lamborghini drop-top, a great variety of these would certainly be aligning the open roofing system with a bolus of phlegm, but there’s only love for the Aston. It’s so gloriously bally British, so redolent of a happier past.

The engine, the exact same all-alloy 6.0-litre, 510bhp V12 as in the DBS, is a mighty unit, tractable and unwinded when you’re gentle with your ideal foot, blood-curdling when you push on. And quickly, also: the Volante will certainly hit 62mph in 4.3 secs– exactly the like the DBS sports car– as well as, also roofing system down, run all the way to 191mph while dishing out much more mid-range torque than you could reasonably utilize without a deluge of letters from Her Majesty’s arriving on your front door.

The Volante shares the DBS coupe’s super-stiff alloy tub and also carbon-fibre body. The tub is so stiff, actually, that it called for no structural support to handle the loss of the roof. Aston boasts the drop-top is just 25 percent much less stiff than the coupe, and just 115kg heavier.

Yet isn’t 25 percent rather a whole lot, especially in something as full-on as a DBS? Surely something 25 percent less rigid than, state, Usain Screw would be a somewhat sharp jellyfish? Herein exists the fear with the DBS Volante: why most likely to all the effort of creating a super-stiff, ultra-focussed supercar … and then slice the roofing off to reverse all your great?

Resolve such worries. Unless you’re intending on drifting right around Alderley Side, the Volante is plenty stiff. Yes, there’s a little bit extra flex than in the coupe, yet you would certainly require to be pushing on at such a price to locate it that you’ll be in a large lot of danger if you get it wrong. For something so bloody big and also front-engined and open-topped, the Volante is a genuinely focussed drive: widely quickly, impressively grippy and just a bit scary. Though the clutch as well as steering are weighty, there’s a great direct response as well as enough comments to understand when you’re getting near to the limit. The ride is stiff yet compliant on the standard damper setup– so good, as a matter of fact, that I can’t imagine when you would certainly ever before utilize the ‘Sports’ setting on actual roads.

Given that you’re mosting likely to tool around everywhere with the roof covering down, ensure you fit the wind baffle. At freeway speeds the buffeting is ferocious without the back seat cover in position. At 191mph, your head will certainly be sucked backwards via the headrest like lasagne via a pasta manufacturer. You can argue that the baffle makes the rear seats worthless– as you’ll have found, the Volante obtains a set of tiny chairs in the back, whereas the DBS Sports car is a stringent two-seater– yet this is unfair: they’re pointless also without the baffle. You’ll still be able to fit a couple of beverages cartons and also a pencil there.

If meteorological problems require you to raise the roof, it’s a simple job, the textile roof elevating or decreasing in 14 secs– three secs quicker than the DB9. Thanks to a new Thinsulate layer (as worn by folk with emergency whistles and also compasses), things behave and also quiet roof covering up … however that ever before bought quietness in a DBS Volante?

Get the roofing system down, flaunt the swank cabin for all the globe to see. Whether our Madam Whiplash red leather inside gets your vote in the taste department, there’s no question it’s a wonderfully assigned area to be, all soft cow conceal, clever sewing and also expensive-looking shiny stuff. A little bit too glossy, occasionally: the information screen on the main dashboard is unreadable with the roofing down, while the dash-mounted tweeters on the Bang and also Olufsen stereo– which sounds, incidentally, really almost like the engine– are so glossy in surface that they strobe streetlights straight onto your retinas. Minor niggles, yet at ₤ 170,000, minor niggles are amplified.

None more so than that bloody large gear bar– nicked off an Astra VXR, surely?– which is so huge and so badly positioned that it’s near difficult to flick in between equipments unless you have actually obtained freakishly short lower arms as well as giant hands. There’s a lack of accuracy in the throttle, too.

However these defects, this mild soft qualities at the limit, matter much less in the Volante than the coupe. legendary though the coupe is, it never ever handled the out-and-out supercar point quite along with the Ferrari 599. The DBS has actually constantly been even more of a deeply fast grand tourer, a DB9S, if you like, and it does that still much better in convertible form. Even more than the sports car, the DBS Volante is an event, a trouble of large gorgeousness as well as noise. If money’s no object, this is it. This is the Aston.

Verdict: Much less focussed than the DBS sports car, and probably all the much better for it. Footballers, prepared your chequebooks.

6.0-litre V12.
510bhp, RWD.
0-62mph in 4.3 secs, max speed 191mph.
1,810 kg.
₤ 170,000.