British brand's new convertible super GT will make its debut at Monterey Car Week 2023
Aston Martin is in the midst of a range-wide refresh, and this new DB12 Volante is the next step in the rivitalisation of the British firm's line-up. Following the DB12 coupe, this new “open-top super tourer” as the firm calls it, takes the recipe used for its fixed-roof sibling and adds some extra drama with a convertible roof.
Making its debut at Monterey Car Week 2023, the DB12 Volante's fabric roof (available in a choice of four colours) features eight layers of acoustic sound deadening and can be lowered or raised in 14 or 16 seconds respectively at up to 31mph. Aston says it can even be operated driving into a 31mph headwind, while the roof sequence can also be activated remotely using the car's key.
As with any convertible car, removing the roof from a coupe model means a reduction in strength, so Aston has boosted the DB12 Volante's torsional rigidity by reinforcing the new car's suspension mounts (particularly at the rear) and adding an underbody engine cross brace – on top of all the upgrades that made the DB12 an 80-per-cent-new car compared with the DB11 which it replaced.
Aston says these structural tweaks also help the car's lateral stiffness, which boosts suspension performance and refinement. On top of this, the brand claims that the Volante's new generation of adaptive dampers deliver a “500 per cent increase in bandwidth”, with the suspension changes focusing on rear spring rate and damper settings compared with the coupe. The electronically assisted power steering features a fixed ratio for a natural rate of response, Aston claims.
These chassis improvements are key and mean the Volante can use the exact same hand-built, twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine as found in the DB12 coupe, producing 671bhp and 800Nm of torque. The motor is mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox sending drive to the rear axle, and with launch control the DB12 Volante will race from 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds – just one tenth of a second slower than the coupe – and on to a top speed of 202mph.
An electronic limited-slip diff is fitted as standard, while there are five “dynamic modes” to choose from – including Wet, GT, Sport, Sport+ and Individual – which alter the engine and gearbox, steering and suspension settings, and a four-stage ESC system to help tune the car's behaviour. Optional carbon-ceramic brakes (which save 27kg compared with the standard steel items) can be specified behind the DB12 Volante's 21-inch alloy wheels.
Aston's chief technology officer, Roberto Fedeli, says that the firm has “preserved class-leading performance and handling” with the new Volante, adding that this “is testament to the underlying brilliance of the DB12 platform and the work we have done to maintain the advantage of its superb powertrain and chassis in an open-top version.”
He added, “No longer the ‘softer’ option, DB12 Volante offers the stimulation of a true sports car with the unique pleasure and satisfaction that only a convertible Aston Martin can deliver.”
The Volante's sleek, flowing design, featuring a very low rear deck and wide shoulders, has been made possible thanks to the K-fold roof mechanism, which results in a very low-line covered area that it folds into. With the roof stowed, Aston says the DB12 Volante offers a class-leading “stack height” of just 260mm, with this clever packaging of the canopy also helping improve boot space. The Volante offers a total of 262 litres of luggage space, with the 2+2-seat cabin also boosting practicality.
Like the exterior (from nose to windscreen), much of the interior design is carried over from the coupe too, with the Volante featuring a centrally mounted 10.25-inch touchscreen running Aston's latest infotainment system, a vast improvement over the DB11 from our experience on the launch of the DB12.
It comes with the same level of features and connectivity, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while an 11-speaker Bowers & Wilkins stereo is fitted as standard. A more powerful 15-speaker set-up is available as an option.
According to Aston's chief creative officer, Marek Reichman, “The DB12 Volante’s exterior and interior design reflects advances in engineering and technology, with a muscular physique and athletic stance indicative of its immense performance, and a clean and contemporary interior that stands as a bold interpretation of modern luxury”.
However, buyers can go beyond the regular options when it comes to colour and trim with Aston's Q personalisation service. Customers can commission their cars with myriad options for colour, materials, bespoke detailing and other design and craftsmanship touches, and Aston expects take-up to be high.
Expected to cost around £200,000 when it goes on sale – roughly a £15,000 price premium over the coupe, DB12 Volante production is due to start in Q3 this year, with deliveries set for the end of 2023.
Now read our review of the Aston Martin DB12…
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