Friday, September 18, 2009

Aston Martin DBS Volante opens up to the sunshine and sound


It takes just 14 seconds to open or close the top on the Aston Martin DBS Volante. And it can be done at speeds up to 30 mph.

Aston Martin understands: When weather permits, aural delights this pure shouldn't be stifled behind layers of aluminum and glass and lacquer. The majestic notes of its 6.0-liter V12--a rumbling basso lifting the throaty tenors, a chorus of sopranos erupting in full song as the throttle opens wide--should flow freely, to drift on the air and bounce off the trees and dance merrily around the ears, mingling with the warmth of a summer wind and basking in the rays of a setting sun.


So Aston removed the roof of the DBS and envelopes the Volante's occupants in the full sensory experience that 510 hp delivers: those majestic sounds, the blur of the road, skin prickling in the open air. Speed is no longer something simply read on a dial; it fills the lungs.

If driving the 2009 Aston Martin DBS Volante, or convertible, sounds magical, it might very well be. But it's a magic that only a lucky 500 or so well-heeled types will be able to indulge in, starting this fall.

Around town, the Volante displays a serene disposition; the power easily stays reined in, and it makes for a relaxing low-speed ride. But flex your right foot, and the car springs to life, that symphony underhood roaring louder as the tach edges toward 4,000 rpm and an extra exhaust flap opens. Row through the six-speed manual, and the 420 lb-ft shoots you from gear to gear; in sport mode, the effect is magnified, the throttle responding even more quickly to inputs. Aston says the DBS Volante will reach 60 mph from a standstill in a tick more than four seconds, and at full bore, it will soar to a 191-mph top speed, matching the 250-pounds-lighter coupe.

Equipped with the Touchtronic six-speed, the automatic DBS Volante offers almost as exhilarating an experience. Paddle shifters are mounted on the steering column for those who still desire to wield some control, with each gear holding even at redline until asked to upshift. And in manual-like fashion, the throttle will blip on downshifts, matching revs for the lower gear.

Removal of the roof does little to compromise the car's solidity. We detected the barest hint of cowl shake over the roughest patches of road we could find, the body mostly remaining as composed as the coupe's, constructed from the identical aluminum tub and reinforced with aluminum, magnesium and ultralight but rigid carbon-fiber body panels. When pushed hard, the car simply hugs the road tighter, its rear double-wishbone setup resisting the urge to squat down on its 20-inch Pirelli P Zeros, and thick antiroll bars help keep things square at both ends when hustled through the turns. Massive 15.7-inch ventilated carbon-ceramic front discs (14.2 inches in the rear) pull the whole thing to a stop in quick but drama-free fashion. The six-piston front and four-pot rear calipers are silent as they bite down, the front end--with its double-wishbone suspension and antidive geometry--barely dipping in response.

From the outside, the DBS Volante looks every bit as elegant and sporting as the coupe, especially given that when deployed, the cloth top faithfully mimics the coupe's silhouette. Yet Aston says that it eschewed a hardtop not only for styling reasons but also for its lighter weight and smaller stowage requirements.

While wind buffeting with the top down is minimal (thanks largely to a mesh windguard snapped in place over the rear seats), the cabin is virtually silent once the top is raised, with all but a bit of wind noise--and some of that glorious V12 noise--making its way inside. And it takes just 14 seconds to open or close the top, even at speeds up to 30 mph.

Up or down, the Bang & Olufsen sound system fills the cabin with a richness of sound, while the top-stitched leather seats, dash and door panels, plus the carbon-fiber door pulls and aluminum- or piano-black-trimmed center console give the interior a bespoke feel, both for the front passengers and for those tiny enough to fit into the standard plus-two rear seats. Controls for a full complement of convenience features and onboard electronics sit in nicely arranged fashion, though the pop-up navigation screen doesn't match other systems for seamless integration, and its functions aren't as easy to use.

Disregarding for a moment the ultra-exclusive, hand-built One-77, the DBS Volante is Aston's most expensive car, with a price starting at $262,500. As such, it rolls out of Gaydon, England, fairly well appointed; there are few options to add outside of satellite radio, an alarm upgrade and a couple of alternative wheel choices. But the personalization options abound, most involving special paint and interior colors.

The sun and wind and all that glorious sound? Those come standard.

SPECS

2009 Aston Martin DBS Volante

ON SALE: Fall

BASE PRICE: $282,500

DRIVETRAIN: 5.9-liter, 510-hp, 420-lb-ft V12; RWD, six-speed

CURB WEIGHT: 3,990 lb

0-60 MPH: 4.2 sec (est)

FUEL ECONOMY (EPA): 13 mpg

0 comments:

Post a Comment

 

Powered By:

Autos Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

Site Info

Auto Show Log, brings you test reports 24/7, interviews with experts and representatives of the automobile industry, and specials from the world of luxury cars and tuning.

Followers

Auto Show Log Copyright © 2009 BT Designed by Pie BT
    DISCLAIMER! We do not host or upload any of the files that are available on this Weblog. We merely search on INTERNET and index popular files openly available to anyone.