2012 Aston Martin DBS

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First Drive Review: 2010 Aston Martin DBS Volante

This 2010 review is representative of model years 2008 to 2012.

Aston Martin has been rather busy lately, finessing a big V-12 into the Vantage coupe, preparing for the launch of the highly anticipated Rapide four-door, and going all-out to create the $1.7 million, 700-hp One-77 supercar. Not to mention engineering a Toyota iQ-based microcar called the Cygnet. (Yes, it's real.) Add the new 2010 DBS Volante (Aston-speak for convertible) to the pile. Few would say the DBS coupe needs any help in the looks department. Yet the removal of its roof makes it even more alluring, and it's one of the most indulgent tanning salons on the planet.

The Natural Look
Aston designed the DBS from the onset with open-air motoring in mind, and with the top up, the Volante keeps the coupe's sleek profile mostly intact. By eschewing a trendy retractable hardtop, the ragtop keeps the weight gain to a minimum and preserves much of the DBS's limited trunk space. The roof can be raised or lowered in 14 seconds at speeds of up to 30 mph. Compared with the fixed-roof car, the convertible is about 200 pounds heavier and 25 percent less rigid.

Nonetheless, there is no shaking or quivering of the chassis, and the insulated softtop seals the cabin tightly — almost too tightly, in fact, because freeing the 5.9-liter V-12's 510 horses is something we could listen to all day. A top speed near 190 mph and an expected 0-to-60 sprint in a shade over four seconds are on par with the DBS coupe's performance numbers. Yet for all its haste and high-speed composure, the DBS Volante is best savored at cruising speeds, with the bark of the exhaust as background music.

It's Fast, It Looks Good, and the Top Goes Down
Although the four-place Volante attempts to accommodate more passengers than in the two-seat DBS coupe (rear seats are optional in that car but uninhabitable due to the sloping rear window), nonexistent legroom and the standard wind deflector make the rear chairs more decorative storage cubbies than anything else. But beyond the standard two-plus-two layout, the convertible is largely unchanged from the hardtop, including the standard six-speed manual and optional automatic transmission ($4000) — the latter fitted with a sport mode and column-mounted paddle shifters — two-stage adaptive dampers, carbon-ceramic disc brakes, and gorgeous 20-inch wheels.

Driven in anger, the DBS Volante is an aural delight and satisfyingly responsive. Even in sport mode, the ride is firm but never abusive. Prodigious power is available throughout the engine's range, and working the chunky metal shifter through its detents quickly becomes addictive. The huge brakes bring everything to a halt with eye-popping capability. There's no fade or squealing, just smooth, solid feedback through the pedal (and a seatbelt trying to slice your torso in half).

It's All in the Details
As with the lesser DB9 Volante, sensors can detect an imminent rollover and signal emergency roll hoops to deploy through the DBS droptop's tonneau cover. All exterior bits — including carbon-fiber accents, hood, fenders, and trunklid — are shared with the coupe. Lightweight, 10-spoke wheels in place of the standard 20-spoke alloys are the only major option.

At $286,400 to start, the Volante adds more than 10 grand to the sticker of the DBS coupe, and, of course, that figure will quickly bloat if you want yours personalized. But let's be honest: Something this artful really is priceless.

Performance data
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST):

Zero to 60 mph: 4.3 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.8 sec
Top speed (drag limited): 191 mph

FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST):
EPA city/highway driving: 11-12/17-18 mpg

Content provided byCar and Driver.
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BB06 - 7/11/2014 5:46:06 AM