Here’s the new Aston Martin DB11 Volante. Before you read my hot air, have a moment to take it in. It’s OK, I’ll wait for you to pick your jaw up off of your keyboard.
Nice? Yeah, It’s Nice.
Ooh it’s a pretty thing. It’s one thing to look at the coupé and imagine how the convertible might look. It’s another thing entirely once you are presented with how it actually turned out. It flows in all the right places and while the DB11 coupé is no minger, that floating C pillar makes it a bit awkward from some angles.
There’s clearly none of that with a car that is devoid of said C-pillar. The elegant rear haunches made even more elegant without the distraction of the slightly odd roof line. Even with the 8-layer fabric roof in place its a gorgeous thing. It’s not often the convertible version is a more beautiful car than the coupé but in the case of the DB11, top up or top down the verdict is hands down.
The new alloy wheel design also goes a long way to resolving the design. The two toned fan blade, cheese cutter wheels they seem to insist on putting on the coupé just don’t fill the wheel arches anywhere near as nicely as these new ones on the Volante.
The luxury details are lovely as they are with the coupé. Details like the seat backs in that pale wood are just delightful, although Aston do say they’re happy to ruin it for you by doing them in carbon fiber.
Trouble In Paradise
So, a new Aston convertible comes into being and it’s totally stunning minus roof. Everything should be right with the world and I’d have nothing to write. But there’s something else to note here. Something very wrong, like a disturbance in the force. This Aston isn’t just minus its lid. It’s also missing 4 cylinders and about 100 horsepower.
That’s right, the Mercedes AMG V8 that has recently been installed in the coupé as an alternative to Aston’s own all-new V12 is the only engine option. There’s no mention of the V12 anywhere in the press release, which makes it even more conspicuous in its absence.
I’m Sorry, What?!
There’s something odd about this. Aston Martin fans will point out that the company was really about inline sixes and bent-eights all through its early history. However the Cosworth Ford V6 x2 they installed in the DB7 in 1999 started a wave of beautiful and sonorous V12 GTs that linked Aston with the format as inextricably as Ferrari and Lamborghini. Cars like the Vanquish, DB9, DBS, Rapide, One-77, Vulcan and the Definitely Not an Aston Martin Lagonda Taraf.
I’m sure the V8 is a great engine. I’m sure it’s well matched to the car. In the video reviews of the coupé it certainly sounds like Aston has done a good job of ridding it of that AMG baritone and replacing it with some Aston panache. But it doesn’t have the character of the 12.
This isn’t about the 90 horsepower deficit at all. It’s about tooling around Monaco in second doing 20. My word does the V12 have some character at that speed. Especially for passers by. Surely the point of the Volante is better access to that lovely 12 cylinder engine note? Surely that pinnacle of excess, the Aston Martin convertible is meant to have the pinnacle engine, the V12? Isn’t that the point of the roofless version? This isn’t the base model, so why give it the base model engine?
I mentioned earlier that this V12 missing engineering program is the sole reason for these words existing. Is it all just a ploy to get people like me to sit up, take notice then rant and rave via keyboard? I hope so.