Aston Martin ratchets up heart rates with drop-top DBS Superleggera Volante
Aston has yoinked the roof off its super-grunty V12 muscle car to create its fastest ever convertible. The DBS Superleggera Volante hits the same 211-mph (340-km/h) top speed as the hard top version, but can drop its eight-layer canopy to deliver "that extra level of sensory overload."
Even more sensory overload, then, for a car that already jars your internal accelerometers with 900 Nm (664 lb-ft) of torque and 715 horsepower (533 kW), while delivering a spine-tingling sonic roar and smelling powerfully of expensive leather in the best possible way. The standard DBS Superleggera is a jacked-up thug of a thing, its tailored suit hugging rippling biceps. It looms ominously in the showroom, nostrils flaring and looking for trouble.
And now it'll loom beside a convertible stablemate. The Volante version keeps just about everything about the hardtop, including that rude 5.2-liter, twin-turbo V12 powerplant and its ZF 8-speed transmission, and much of the carbon bodywork that kept the weight down.
It loses the leather-trimmed ceiling, though, and gains a retractable roof made from eight layers of "insulation materials and acoustically enhancing materials" wrapped up into an "advanced fabric system" that "greatly improves the comfort of the interior cabin for all occupants when up, but allows a true orchestra of sound to pour into the cabin when retracted."
Is it quiet, then, with the roof up? Clearly we'll have to drive it to find out. Some time has been put into the audio element of driving, with sonic feedback from the engine subdued in GT mode, and becoming "progressively more intense" as you move through Sport and Sport+ modes. The roof, for its part, opens in 14 seconds, closes in 16 seconds, and you can beep it open with your remote key as long as you're within a few feet of the car.
One of the interesting touches we enjoyed on the standard car was its AiroBlade II system, which blows germs all over the room after you've gone to the toilet. Wait, no, that's a Dyson thing. On the Superleggera it's a system that grabs airflow at the back of the rear windows, channels it through tubes and fires it upwards from a slit at the rear over a small carbon lip. This produces an invisible rear wing – an air wing, if you like – that produces bulk downforce without making the driver look like somebody that wears baseball caps backwards.
On the Volante, though, there are no such intake vents, and we can't for the life of us figure out where the air's coming from that feeds the AeroBlade system. It's coming from somewhere, though, and aided by the double diffusers, splitters, curlicues and other general aerodynamicism around the car, the Volante produces 177 kg (390 lb) of downforce at top speed, only 1.2 percent less than the hardtop. Pop a tubby friend in the passenger seat and you're well ahead on grip.
You can option the roof in eight different colors to match whatever paint job you're rocking, and you can option your way toward an even more intimidating price tag with carbon twill window screen surrounds and tonneau covers, or even tinted carbon twill if you're feeling really fancy.
Pricing will start at US$329,100 in the US (€295,500 in Europe and £247,500 in the UK). That's a US$25 grand premium over the standard DBS Superleggera for the pleasure of wind in your hair – but frankly, we can't afford either car, and both versions are free to fantasize about, so we'll daydream about the drop top.
Source: Aston Martin