Gaydon, Warwickshire - Ever since the name was introduced in 1965 to identify the convertible variants of existing Aston Martin models, Volante has defined the most elegant aspect of British open-top motoring, far more so than the luxurious but monolithic charabancs of messrs Rolls, Royce, Bentley et al.

So when Aston Martin dropped the top of its super-svelte DB11 coupé, everybody expected the latest recipient of the Volante badge would be simply drop-dead gorgeous. And it is.

But the maker would have us believe it’s a whole lot more: It’s 26kg lighter and five percent stiffer than the convertible DB9 it replaces, thanks to the all-new bonded aluminium structure it shares with the coupé.

The fabric roof - available in red, black silver or grey silver and comprising eight layers of abrasion resistant, acoustic and insulation materials - has a new mechanism that takes just 14 seconds to lower and 16 to close; it can be operated remotely from the key or ‘on the fly’ at up to 50km/h. It’s also more compact when it’s folded, and takes up 20 percent less space in the boot when it’s down.

The front of the Volante is the same as that of the coupé, but the rear deck is of necessity slightly longer, the C pillar slightly less sharply defined, giving way to a classic “barchetta” (little boat) silhouette when the roof is down, and the Volante has its own exclusive forged-alloy wheel design.

Inside, that shape is echoed new wood or carbon fibre veneer panels on the seat backs, while a new heatable steering wheel encourages open-topped driving even in chilly weather.

We don’t have to tell you about the Volante’s 375kW four-litre twin-turbo V8, or its eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission with three drive modes, and limited-slip differential with dynamic torque vectoring - those are the same as the coupé.

Pricing, however, is new, starting from £159,900 (R2.82 million) ex works, with deliveries scheduled to begin during the first quarter of 2018.

IOL Motoring
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