A year ago, Aston Martin revived the Vanquish nameplate. Now it's sliced the roof off the coupe to bring the "thrill of open top motoring to the super GT class." If the Vanquish is "the best Aston ever," as Aston Martin calls it, it follows that the 2014 Vanquish Volante is the best Aston convertible.

The new Vanquish Volante is the first fully carbon fiber-bodied Volante in Aston Martin's 100-year history. The automaker from Gaydon also says it's its stiffest Volante body structure yet. Atop that carbon skin sits a multi-layer fabric roof that folds in just 14 seconds and operates at speeds up to 30 mph (48 km/h). The car is the first Aston to feature a windshield that runs straight into the fabric roof, providing a cleaner look that eliminates the windshield-capping body color strip.

Also like the Vanquish, the Vanquish Volante features Aston's latest design language, which draws cues from the One-77 limited edition supercar. Those cues include the waist, stretched side strakes and rear LED light blades. Other elements, like the grille and headlamps, are pure Aston. As in the Vanquish hard-top, the Volante's rear-end has received some aerodynamic optimization, but its tonneau and decklid have been designed to accommodate the folding roof.

Under its curvy, sculpted hood, the Vanquish Volante carries the latest generation AM11 naturally aspirated 6.0-liter V12 engine, which drives the rear wheels. A six-speed Touchtronic 2 automatic gearbox helps the V12 manage its 565 horses and 457 lb-ft of torque, and while a convertible usually loses a step or two when compared to its hard-headed sibling, the Vanquish Volante has the same 183-mph (295-km/h) top speed and 4.1-second 0-62 mph (100 km/h) as the Vanquish coupe. A set of Brembo Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) brakes brings it back to standstill.

Most drivers probably won't be straight-lining the Volante to 183 too often, and Aston says that the car handles spryly on the corners, dips and curves. The convertible has an almost-perfect 51:49 weight distribution. Its lightweight bonded aluminum structure has been optimized with a number of semi-structural carbon fiber components. The suspension system's Adaptive Damping System offers a selection of normal, sport and track modes to fine-tune settings for the ride of choice. The Volante also includes Dynamic Stability Control and Positive Torque Control.

Of course, a convertible GT car is all about the overall driving experience, and that overall experience starts in the cockpit. The driver and his or her three passengers of choice are enveloped by elegant materials like full-grain Luxmil leather with optional quilting, Alcantara and satin chrome. A center stack inspired by the One-77 houses the latest features and controls, including an infotainment system and illuminated capacitive glass buttons with haptic feedback. In back, the trunk is 50 percent larger than the DBS Volante, offering 279 liters of storage, whether the top is up or down.

Not one to leave potential buyers wondering how deep they'll have to dig, Aston Martin said that the 2014 Vanquish Volante will start at US$297,995 when it hits the US market early next year.

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