If you’ve been keeping a close eye on Aston Martin’s model strategy over the past few years, the arrival of the new DBS Superleggera Volante will come as no surprise. It is sound engineering practice for the convertible variant of a closed roof car to be developed simultaneously, ensuring that both variants share fundamental qualities of rigidity, dynamics and, naturally, elegance. The new DBS Superleggera Volante exemplifies this synthesis of design and engineering. It delivers many superlatives. For a start, it’s the fastest convertible model in Aston Martin’s history, with a top speed of 211mph, exactly the same as the coupe model. Naturally it shares the coupe’s impressive 5.2-litre V12, with a power output of 715bhp at 6,500rpm. Acceleration is class-leading, with a 3.6 second 0-62mph run and 0-100mph achieved in just 6.7 seconds.
Suffice to say, the DBS Superleggera Volante represents a very special open-top driving experience, retaining the brutally quick performance and outstanding dynamics of the coupe with the added benefit of a viscerally intense relationship with the car, the engine and your surroundings. It’s an appropriate triumph for a car that brings together three of Aston Martin’s most iconic nameplates, DBS (first seen in 1967), Superleggera (first associated with the DB4 developed with Touring of Milan in the late 1950s) and Volante, a famous badge that began its connection with Aston Martin in 1965, when it adorned the rare “short chassis” open-topped car that bridged the DB5 and DB6 era. This new car is a true super GT in the finest Volante tradition, an uncompromising performer that also offers all the comforts and luxurious appointments of its sibling for rapid cross continental travel.
As the second model to bear the Volante name in Aston Martin’s ambitious Second Century Plan, the Superleggera Volante demonstrates the class-leading convertible technology that has been tried and tested on the DB11 Volante. The roof is an engineering triumph, comprising of eight layers of insulation and acoustically enhanced material for a perfect sense of refinement and enclosure, all integrated within a swiftly retracting mechanism. Taking just 14 seconds to open and 16 seconds to close, it can also be operated remotely using the DBS Superleggera Volante’s key fob. The roof was subjected to Aston Martin’s typically rigorous testing regime, which included exposure to the hot, harsh conditions of Nevada’s Death Valley and the extreme cold of the Arctic Circle, and the mechanism itself has been run through 100,000 test cycles using an accelerated programme that simulates a decade’s worth of use in just one month to ensure consistency and reliability of operation.
The engineering must also work hand in hand with design. The DBS Superleggera Volante is a supremely elegant car, a muscular composition with bold, flowing haunches and a close relationship between aerodynamic performance and design. Surface airflow has been carefully optimised, with the deep front splitter and air dam helping to accelerate the flow beneath the car, increasing the downforce and grip and cooling the front brakes. The DBS’s signature side strake also serves a vital aerodynamic function, drawing air from the front wheel arch to reduce lift and improve high-speed stability. At the rear of the Volante there is a double diffuser, letting the air exit cleanly from beneath the smooth underbody and reduce lift. Aston Martin’s unique Aeroblade II system has also been incorporated, with revisions to account for the revised shape of the Volante’s roofline. This all adds up to 177kg of downforce at maximum speed, a figure that is just 3kg less than the coupe.
The roof is an engineering triumph, comprising of eight layers of insulation and acoustically enhanced material for a perfect sense of refinement and enclosure
The new roof package has been carefully engineered to take up the least amount of space. With a stack height of just 260mm when folded, it allows a seamless rear profile with a near-flat deck. This has the added benefit of enhancing the shape of the rear haunches as they flow back to the DBS’s fixed rear spoiler. This deft piece of packaging also maximises the car’s luggage capacity. The hood itself is available in eight colours, including Atlantic Blue, Titan Grey and a rich Bordeaux Red, while — as always — Aston Martin offers unparalleled levels of customer customisation. Inside, there are six choices of Rokona headliner and a special optional carbon fibre finish on the window screen surround, a finish that can also be carried through to the tonneau cover and rear waterfall.
The DBS Superleggera Volante has been designed in-house under the guidance of Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman and Aston Martin’s Director of Design Miles Nurnberger. As always, the intention from the outset was to create the most beautiful flagship Volante on the market, without compromising performance or aesthetics. The DBS Superleggera coupe was rightly acclaimed for its outstanding dynamics, torque and poise.
The DBS Superleggera Volante is a supremely elegant car, a muscular composition with bold, flowing haunches
As Reichman explains: “The DBS Superleggera produces a spectacular and relentless level of performance. For the Volante, we have focused on bringing that extra level of sensory overload that only an open-top Super GT can deliver inside the cabin.” The presence of the V12 is commanding, from the rumble at start-up to the full-throated roar it delivers when the throttle is deployed. The DBS Superleggera Volante has three dynamic driving modes that offer a full breadth of driving experience, from GT mode through to Sport and Sport Plus, which progressively ramp up the intensity of the acoustics together with the throttle response. There’s also Aston Martin’s “quiet start” system, which lowers the volume of the rev flare when the start button is pressed. The engine note, meanwhile, is sonorously enhanced by the DBS’s quad exhaust system.
“There is nothing on earth that compares to the roar of an Aston Martin V12,” the marque’s CEO Dr Andy Palmer concedes. “I believe that the DBS Superleggera Volante provides one of the greatest sensory experiences in the automotive world.” Dr Palmer explains how the concerted efforts of both designers and engineers came together to craft this extraordinary machine, an approach that is synonymous with Aston Martin. “It represents exceptional performance in an irresistible form,” he says. “The DBS Superleggera justifiably won the hearts and minds of super GT lovers the world over, as well as acclaim in the automotive press. The Volante takes this concept to the next level.”
As Aston Martin’s flagship Super GT, the DBS Volante Superleggera continues Aston Martin’s long and noble tradition of bold, open-topped performance cars. “It has unique dynamics, a beautiful yet brutish design as well the unmistakable harmonics of Aston Martin’s 5.2-litre V12 engine,” says Reichman. “Altogether, we believe we have delivered a unique and unforgettable driving experience that is synonymous with the traditions of the Volante name.”