The new 2009 Aston Martin DBS Volante blurs the line between a coupe and a convertible. Normally, those who enjoy a sporty ride with tight handling opt for a coupe, which features increased body rigidity thanks to its solid top, and those who want a leisurely cruise prefer the top-down drive of a convertible. The DBS Volante offers the best of both worlds.
The DBS coupe was introduced as a bridge model between the DB9 and the racing-bred DBR9, and that heritage shows. The 6.0-liter V12 under the hood pumps out 510 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. The suspension was also well-tuned for tight corners at high speeds. Basically, the DBS was the perfect marriage of the Aston Martin style and a street legal racer. The DBS Volante convertible retains all of the attributes while ditching the roof.
The Volante, however, outshines its coupe sister in one major respect, however: the transmission. The DBS coupe was introduced with Aston’s Touchtronic DSG paddle-shifter gearbox. It worked well, but it produced a noticeable lag between selecting a new gear and the transmission actually switching. The sole selling point of a DSG transmission (dual-clutch sequential gearbox) is that it removes the clutch, but still offers the precise control over gear selection that a manual transmission does. The old Touchtronic was an admirable effort, but it wasn’t quite there. Well, it has arrived now. Also, when you engage the “Sport” mode, the shift become even crisper (this particular mode only affects the transmission, not the engine) and so close to instantly as to make no difference.
As far as styling is concerned, the DBS Volante just may be even prettier than the DBS coupe. The coupe’s aggressive stance makes the translation to droptop, and it seems even more natural on the Volante. The exterior of the Volante is one of those rare instances of nothing really being wrong. There are some cars where you say, “Oh, that trunk is just too long to make the car look sporty” or “That front end looks more like a box than a car.” With the DBS Volante, however, everything seems in place. There isn’t one feature that you look and think, “That doesn’t fit.”
The DBS coupe, befitting its racing heritage, features some aggressive styling components. The DBS Volante, however, seems more restrained, more mature, almost. The DBS coupe is for some rich kid with a a trust fund, while the DBS Volante is for a distinguished gentleman, a man of the world. The new James Bond movies feature the DBS coupe, but the Volante is what Sean Connery would have driven in the iconic role (if, of course, it had existed a few decades ago).
There really isn’t any bad thing to say about the DBS Volante. It’s going to be hitting American shores this fall with a starting price of $282,500, proof that perfection definitely has a high cost. But the DBS Volante is the kind of car that you will seriously consider taking out a second mortgage on your house in order to get one.