2018 Aston Martin DB11 V8 Volante
The Aston Martin DB11 Coupe, first launched in 2016, was well received for its driving dynamics and sonorous engine note. Long travel in the suspension translated to a comfortable ride for hundreds of miles while its pinpoint electric steering with a quick ratio gave drivers a memorable occasion when it comes to sweeping curves on the road. It was a characterful GT car just like it's meant to be.
The 2018 DB11 V8 Volante aims to the same only with infinite headroom. Visually it's perfectly identical to the crystal swan-like beauty of the DB11 Coupe. Together they share LED headlights, C-shaped light blade LED tail lights, upward sweeping back ends, front splitters, and side mirrors. Unique Volante flavors include a horizontal chrome finish in the front grille and an aluminum hood with two air slots instead of four. Hardtop or not, both are suitable as centerpieces on bedroom posters.
Dropping the top takes 14 seconds while raising it back up takes 16. Its fabric roof can be operated in speeds up to 31 mph (50 kmh) with 31 mph headwind or before you reach the car with a button on the key fob. Aston Martin really wants drivers to use the DB11 Volante all year round, so the top consists of 8 layers including ones for reducing sound and weather penetration. Changes to its k-fold design allows 20% more trunk space than the DB9 Volante. The British automaker say they've tested the roof over 100,000 cycles in a weather chamber, so it should be good for 10 years. If all is right with the world, Aston Martin will be making a DB12 just as soon as the top is no longer useable.
Even if the top is stuck open, it'd be hard to complain as soon as you hit the throttle. Its single-scroll twin turbochargered 4.0-liter V-8 producing 503 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 513 lb-ft of torque at 2000 - 5000 rpm will never fail to bring a smile when the noise reaches your ears. Managed by a rear mounted ZF 8-speed automatic transmission, the DB11 Volante also has enough performance to shift your spleen into nirvana. Zero-to-62 mph in 4.1 seconds, zero-to-100 mph in 8.8 seconds, max speed of 187 mph (300 kmh).
Drivetrain features aren't state-of-the-art but they're standard and they do the job well enough. SLA front suspension with rear multi-link uses coil springs and adaptive dampers on all four corners, and the 20-inch alloy wheels use 255/40 ZR20 and 295/35 ZR20 Bridgestone S007 tires. A carbon fiber prop shaft runs along the length of the underbody. Its rear-wheel-drive system takes advantage of a limited slip differential for traction. Steel slotted ventilated brake discs sized 400mm and 360mm use 6 and 4 piston calipers. The DB11 chassis is 57 lbs (23 kg) lighter than the DB9 so its U.S. curb weight totals in at 4133 lbs (1875 kg). Heavy for a modern GT car, though 53% of its weight sits on the rear axle. Impressive considering its front mid-engine layout.
Looking inside reveals a conventional Aston Martin cabin. Full-grain leather, Alcantara headliner, dual zone climate control, 360 degree camera, and GPS navigation are standard on the DB11. Its center infotainment display is a Mercedes unit though its lack of Apple Carplay and Android Auto is a surprising lack of modernity in a new car. A heated steering wheel, carbon fiber or wood veneer seat back, and 13-speaker B&O sound system are optional extras. If, for some reason, you have to transport small children the DB11 is equipped with ISOFIX (LATCH in the U.S.) in the rear seats (front seat optional) for attaching child seats. It's easy to forget this car has four seats like the Porsche 911.
And since we're talking about apples to apples, the Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet is its closest competitor when looking at its price tag. The DB11 Volante starts at $216,495 (£159,900 UK) while the Porsche starts at $203,000. As far as performance goes the Porsche has it beat in every respect. It has 77 more horsepower, faster zero-to-60 mph by over a second, all-wheel drive, rear wheel steering, and a 394 lb (179 kg) weight advantage. But at these prices, picking the one that looks and sounds better is the one that will create a more memorable experience. Like choosing a Bremont over an Apple Watch. You can afford to be one second late. You were enjoying the journey in an Aston Martin.
Sales for the 2018 Aston Martin DB11 V8 Volante begin first quarter 2018.