Aston Martin DB11 Volante: Evocative exotic

1st - Aston Martin Volante V8 DB11 ALH (23)
(Photos: Aston Martin)
Indelibly associated with James Bond since the 1960s, despite the franchise’s dalliances with car makers like Lotus and BMW, Aston Martin is revered by the fictional British spy’s many fans. It is, however, possible — and quite easy — to appreciate its charms despite a disinterest in or outright dislike of 007. Perceived as an expression of taste and beauty rather vulgar arrogance, the Aston Martin DB11 Volante was a conversation-starting car that attracted admiring looks, courteous comments, and civil road manners, on native roads.اضافة اعلان

It even received a welcome reception in London, where exotic high-end cars can sometimes draw ire, contemptuous glances, and even occasional profanity from other road users and pedestrians. But putting aside the positive, rather than unwanted, attention it inspires, the DB11 excels on home ground, where adroit handling and ride fluency dispatch “textured” British roads with poised comfort. Aston Martin-speak for convertible, the “Volante” features a well-insulated, electrically-operated rag-top roof that folds up in 16-seconds for quick relief from sudden downpours.

The DB11 Volante is a luxurious two-door 2+2 grand touring convertible that combines an elegantly swooping design and indulgent interior with a sportingly balanced chassis and punchy performance. It is part of an Aston Martin revamp incorporating engines and electronics from its German Mercedes-AMG minority shareholder and lightened bonded aluminum construction. Visually less aggressive, if no less exotic, the Volante gains 110kg of necessary body stiffening over its lighter, sportier fixed-head coupe sister. The Volante’s low-slung roof-down profile meanwhile emphasizes its length and voluptuous rear haunches, and contrastingly slim boomerang-style rear lights.

Flexible and fluent
Sitting behind its jutting and gapingly wide signature grille, the DB11 Volante is powered by a twin-turbo direct injection 4-liter V8 engine borrowed from Mercedes-AMG and tuned to produce 510HP at 6,000rpm and 695Nm torque throughout 2,000–5,000rpm. With a “hot-V” turbocharger position between cylinder banks for short gas-flow paths, it benefits from much reduced turbo lag, and is responsive launching from standstill. Receiving 20Nm over the coupe variant, the Volante’s accessibly broad and abundant mid-range torque allows effortless versatility even when cruising at low revs.

Sensationally swift, the Volante accelerates through 0–100km/h in 4.1 seconds, and 0–200km/h in 8.8-seconds, despite its hefty 1870kg, and is capable of 300km/h. The Volante is relentlessly eager through revS, with a burbling, bass-laden soundtrack that coalesces from a pounding mid-range staccato to a high-pitched wail as its 7,200rpm limit nears. Nevertheless, the Volante is a flexible, smooth, and refined daily driver, sending power to the rear wheels through a quick and slick shifting ZF-sourced 8-speed automatic gearbox (with paddle-shift manual mode), rather than using Mercedes-Benz’ 9-speed unit.

Riding on a double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension with adaptive Skyhook damping, the Volant’s driving modes alter suspension stiffness, throttle response, and steering weighting for an increasingly sportier experience. Default comfort mode ride quality was slightly firm over sudden low-speed bumps and cracks owing to low profile tires. But, as speed increases through sprawling and imperfectly paved rural roads, so does the Volante’s ability to process them with greater suppleness and fluency — even over rougher sections.

Refined and responsive
With reinforced body stiffening seeming to compensate well for the inevitable loss of body rigidity associated with convertibles, the Volante is flat and composed, and suppresses lean well through long curves and tight bends, even in its most forgivingly comfortable driving mode. It meanwhile proved nimble in and through corners, with quick and direct 2.4-turn steering and a limited-slip rear differential variably apportioning power to the rear wheel best able to put it down to the road. Meanwhile, a selective braking-based torque vectoring system additionally enhances stability and maneuverability.

confident at speed, the Volante is also vertically settled and fluent over dips, crests, and uneven road textures. The Volante’s width and views over its long curvaceous bonnet took a while to adapt to on narrow residential London streets. However, its proportions seemingly shrink around the driver through open country lanes, where it feels lighter, smaller, and more maneuverable. Delightfully balanced through switchbacks with slight rear weight bias and responsively alert steering, the Volante turns in eagerly and exits corners with intuitive on-throttle adjustability.

The Volante is refined inside with its roof up, and is a viable cold weather convertible with little wind buffeting, and a powerful heater. With familiar infotainment and electronics for Mercedes-Benz drivers, the DB11 even features a similarly adjustable driving position, and on-center steering weighting and feel. The Volante’s well-equipped and luxuriously appointed cabin incorporates quality leathers, and metal, wood, and other accents — including seat backs — for a distinct sense of occasion. Improved over its DB9 predecessor, the Volante’s boot comfortably accommodates weekend excursion luggage, while small rear seats offer sufficient occasional-use practicality.

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