BUL­LETIN: NEWS & EVENTS

Gor­geous new DB11 Volante re­vealed, plus track-only Valkyrie AMR Pro

VANTAGE - - Contents - WORDS RICHARD MEADEN PHO­TOG­RA­PHY AS­TON MARTIN

FOL­LOW­ING CLOSE ON THE HEELS of the V8-en­gined DB11 coupé, As­ton Martin was quick to re­lease full de­tails and images of the new DB11 Volante, hav­ing shown teaser images of a lightly dis­guised car ear­lier in the year.

Open-top DB As­tons fol­low an el­e­gant recipe with en­dur­ing ap­peal, and the new soft-top DB11 is no ex­cep­tion. It’s a truly stun­ning look­ing car, roof up or down, and will un­doubt­edly sell like hot cakes, es­pe­cially in the US, tra­di­tion­ally As­ton’s strong­est mar­ket for con­vert­ibles.

The DB11 coupé’s de­sign re­lies heav­ily on the sweep­ing roofline, so the Volante could have lost some of that vis­ual flow and bal­ance, yet to our eye the shape works beau­ti­fully, even with the roof raised (see over the page).

Speak­ing of the roof, it’s an all-new de­sign. One that has the clas­sic vis­ual and tac­tile ap­peal of a fab­ric hood, yet in­cor­po­rates the very lat­est acous­tic and in­su­la­tion ma­te­ri­als (eight lay­ers in to­tal) for per­fect year-round, all-weather per­for­mance. The ultra-clean roof-down lines are thanks to the slim­line roof mech­a­nism, which folds down to a class-lead­ing stack height. It’s also quick, tak­ing just 14 sec­onds to lower and 16 to close. It can be op­er­ated re­motely from the key, or should you wish to be ‘that’ per­son, raised or low­ered on the move at speeds of up to 31mph with a 31mph head­wind. This new hood sys­tem has also led to a very use­ful 20 per cent gain in boot vol­ume com­pared with the out­go­ing DB9 Volante.

In line with As­ton Martin’s ex­haus­tive test­ing pro­ce­dures, the roof sys­tem was put through a pun­ish­ing se­ries of tests. In the Life Cy­cle Dura­bil­ity (LCD) test – which is said to com­press ten years of use into a month – en­gi­neers sub­jected the roof to more than 100,000 cy­cles in

spe­cial weather chambers de­signed to sim­u­late con­di­tions in the world’s harsh­est en­vi­ron­ments. The re­sults of the LCD test were then val­i­dated with field test­ing of DB11 Volante devel­op­ment pro­to­types in wildly con­trast­ing lo­ca­tions in­clud­ing Death Val­ley and the Arc­tic Circle.

One sur­prise is that the Volante is be­ing launched with the Mercedes Amg-sourced 4-litre V8 en­gine and not the in-house 5.2-litre V12. Not that the car wants for per­for­mance as a re­sult with a (roof up) top speed of 187mph, which is the same as for the V8 coupé, and a 0-62mph time of 4.1sec, just a tenth shy of the coupé. The slight deficit is down to a weight penalty of 115kg as­so­ci­ated with ad­di­tional strength­en­ing to the bonded alu­minium chas­sis struc­ture, though it should be said this is still 26kg lighter and 5 per cent more rigid than the DB9 Volante’s.

Chas­sis-wise, the Volante’s sus­pen­sion has been re-tuned, but re­tains the DB11 coupé’s three-stage pow­er­train and chas­sis modes, which of­fer fully in­te­grated control of the eight-speed pad­dleshift au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, elec­tric power steer­ing and lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial with dy­namic torquevec­tor­ing. With a choice of Comfort, Nor­mal and Sport modes, you can con­fig­ure the car’s re­sponses and tailor its be­hav­iour in a way that best suits the road, weather con­di­tions and your mood.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, the Volante has a gen­er­ous level of stan­dard equip­ment, in­clud­ing a leather in­te­rior with Al­can­tara head­lin­ing and new leather door and cen­tre con­sole in­serts. Heated seats, front and rear park­ing sen­sors as well as 360-de­gree sur­round-view park­ing cam­eras are also fit­ted.

As is the way with to­day’s As­ton Martins, there’s al­most lim­it­less scope for per­son­al­i­sa­tion and op­tions. These in­clude no fewer than seven dif­fer­ent vari­ants of the 20in al­loy wheels and four pos­si­ble colours for the brake calipers. Given the ex­posed na­ture of the in­te­rior, there are also some very spe­cial op­tions for trim, in­clud­ing wood pan­els for the backs of the front seats. Sounds slightly strange, but looks fab­u­lous.

How much? In the UK, the DB11 Volante costs from £159,900. That’s a £15,000 pre­mium over the DB11 V8 coupé, and £2000 more than the V12 coupé. The order books are al­ready open, with first cus­tomers due to take de­liv­ery of their cars in the first quar­ter of 2018. Just in time for the spring sun­shine…

If you’re one of those first DB11 Volante cus­tomers, oh, how we envy you.

‘Spe­cial op­tions for trim in­clude wood pan­els for the backs of the front seats. Sounds slightly strange, but looks fab­u­lous’

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