The 2012 Aston Martin is offered either in coupe form or as a DBS Volante convertible--which comes with a power fabric top capable of stowing away in just 14 seconds at speeds up to 30 mph. Both versions feature a mammoth 5.9L V12, making 510 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, and capable of reaching 190 mph, or of getting to 60 mph in just over four seconds.
Buyers have a choice between a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission, with the latter including steering-wheel paddle-shifters, as well as a Sport Mode. All models include an adaptive damping system that allows crisp handling when it's wanted, while still permitting a reasonably comfortable ride over choppy pavement.
Likewise, the DBS Volante's voice seems to have a dual personality. During gentle driving, it's not much louder than other luxury coupes, but revving the engine above 4,000 rpm opens a bypass to bring out the V12's sonorous call.
Underpinnings are manufactured mostly of aluminum, magnesium and carbon fiber (with all-carbon-fiber hood, fenders, and trunk lid), allowing the DBS to weigh less than 4,000 pounds--even in Volante form. Carbon-ceramic matrix brakes are also standard; they're not only lighter than conventional brakes but have shorter braking distances and more resistance to fade.
The DBS has a 2+2 layout, with the rear seats barely more than small shelves. Coupes have just enough trunk space for a light weekend away, but convertibles are more limited.
In either case, it comes with HID headlamps, LED taillights and standard 20-inch diamond-turned alloy wheels; interior trim includes full-grain leather, matrix alloy and Iridium Silver interior surrounds and trim and carbon-fiber door pulls.
Interior appointments include Bang & Olufsen sound--with 13 speakers, iPod and USB connectivity and a compensation system for wind noise in the Volante--plus a hard-drive-based navigation system, heated seats, power-folding side mirrors, various wood and leather trim upgrades and serious motorsports extras like racing seats.
Volante versions of the DBS include a deployable roll-bar system that, in anticipation of a rollover, helps protect occupants.
There's no way to contextualize a car like the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante. It's a 715-horsepower convertible that costs $330,000. It's loud. It's proud. It's outlandish. It's absurd. This one's even done up like a freaking jack-o-lantern. And for all these reasons, it's fantastic.
This car is rolling sensory overload. Even before you fire up its big V12, the DBS Superleggera Volante pulls you in with its exquisite style. There are so many great details on this car, like the "Superleggera" script on the hood in untreated carbon fiber or the graceful and purposeful air vents that extend off the front wheel arches. The hips have an impressive stance, leading around to the huge rear diffuser and four big exhaust tips. Yet even though this DBS doesn't hide its performance intentions, the overall wrapper is pure elegance and refinement -- even in this eye-searing shade of orange.
The interior, by contrast, isn't so exemplary. Sure, I like the contrast stitching detail on the super-comfy and super-supportive seats, but the rest of the cockpit is just sort of... meh. There's a lot going on with the design, though I'm sure Aston Martin will happily zhuzh it up however you want if you fork over enough money. Overall, though, the materials are mostly fine, with only a few oddly plasticky buttons on the center stack. Of course, I still can't reliably get the buttons on the steering wheel to work consistently. And having to one-way toggle through drive and suspension modes is stupid -- if I'm in Sport and want to go back to the standard GT, I have to go through Sport Plus, assuming the control buttons on the steering wheel actually respond.
The Good ~ Superlative performance ~ Stunning good looks ~ Comfortable enough to work as a grand tourer
The Bad ~ Seriously outdated infotainment tech ~ Interior isn't as stylish as exterior ~ Ridiculously expensive
The Bottom Line For a fast drive on a warm day, few cars are as divine as the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante.
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