August 05, 2013
Aston Martin Vanquish Volante joins the drop-top party
It must be lovely being Marek Reichman. His first full Aston Martin project as Gaydonâ€™s head of design was the four-door Rapide. He therefore took a picture of a DB9 and used Photoshopâ€™s â€˜stretchâ€™ function. For the DBS he slapped a DBS badge on the back. For the Vanquish he ordered even more new badges.
And now heâ€™s discovered the â€˜cutâ€™ tool in Photoshop, because the latest Aston Martin is a Vanquish drop-top. They pay him a lot to do this sort of thing.
In all seriousness, Aston Martins are gorgeous, hypnotically good-looking creations, but every so often weâ€™d like to see one that you can tell apart from another. Still, â€¨we certainly would never say no to the new Vanquish Volante, especially not with a 6.0-litre V12 engine producing 565 horsepower.
This is touted as the first Aston Volante to feature a full carbon-fibre body, just like the Vanquish tin-top, and thanks to the low weight (who are we kidding, itâ€™s actually about 1,800kgâ€¦) the soft-top car sprints from zero to 100kph in 4.1 seconds. Its multi-layer lightweight fabric roof isnâ€™t far behind, folding down completely, and electrically, in 14 seconds dead.
â€¨Vanquish rival Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster vs Bentley GTC speed
The absolute flagship of Aston Martinâ€™s current range â€” now that Dubai Police is hogging the One-77 and you canâ€™t buy one any more â€” belongs in the exclusive super GT class occupied by rivals such as the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, which canâ€™t even drop its top yet, so Maranello will have to scurry off and address that embarrassing problem. And theyâ€™d better make sure it folds in 13 secondsâ€¦
Gaydon claims that despite the Vanquish losing its roof, the Volante iteration retains all of the coupÃ©â€™s dynamics and performance. The V12 engine is identical in both models, for example, so acceleration times as well as the 295kph top speed remain the same. Thatâ€™s the sort of speed thatâ€™s reeled in effortlessly when youâ€™ve got â€¨565 horses at 6,750rpm and 620Nm of torque from 5,500rpm.
For its newest Volante, Aston Martin used a full-height windscreen, which means the glass seamlessly runs up to meet the fabric roof for a cleaner transition, and inside a smattering of carbon fibre meets plenty of full-grain Luxmil leather for a luxurious cabin.
Gaydon also claims a cargo compartment thatâ€™s 50 per cent bigger than in the previous DBS Volante, measuring 279 litres for a proper GT continent-crushing experience. Now you can bring more than just a change of socks with you when you travel.
Near perfect 51:49 front-to-rear weight distribution, a sporty tuned six-speed automatic transmission and a 14 per cent increase in torsional stiffness over its predecessor should ensure sprightly performance off the highway as well.
Add to that the new Dynamic Stability Control and Positive Torque Control systems, plus Aston Martinâ€™s Adaptive Damping System, which lets you switch between three damping modes: Normal, Sport and Track, delivering instant adjustment of the carâ€™s ride and handling characteristics.
As for the steering, itâ€™s a quick-ish 15:1 ratio, or 2.6 turns lock-to-lock, while the brakes come from Bremboâ€™s carbon ceramic catalogue measuring 398mm up front and 360mm at the back.
Deliveries of the new Vanquish Volante will begin late this year â€¨in Europe, with prices starting from Dh1.1 million.
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