2019 Aston Martin DB11 Volante: Top-down driving with style [First Look]
MOUGINS, France —
While driving the 2019 Aston Martin DB11 Volante with the top down, my hair was being lightly tousled by chilly air as we passed patches of snow.
The British automaker was trying to sell us on the fact the DB11 Volante could be a four-season top-down driver and challenged us to drive its new convertible without a top for the next few hours.
Being a bit of a cold wimp, I wasn’t sold on the idea, but my drive partner and I decided to give it a go.
And what do you know? Even after 3 hours, I wasn’t cold.
To be fair, I should point out we had the windows up, rear windscreen in place, heat on and heated seats and steering wheel activated. But I didn’t feel the need to wear a hat (even though I brought one), and it was invigorating to lift my face toward the open sky and breathe in the fresh pine air.
Of course, if the weather is inclement or too, too cold, Aston Martin has you covered – literally. The canvas top on the DB11 Volante is specially insulated with eight layers.
Plus, the top goes up in 16 seconds, down in 14 seconds and can be operated at speeds up to 31 mph.
We did a short stint on a highway to test the sound proofing, and with the top up you wouldn’t know you were in a convertible – it was just as quiet as the coupe.
But I would expect nothing less from an automaker that pays close attention to detail. Everything on the DB11 Volante is beautifully crafted from the canvas top all the way to the hand-stitched seats.
The test vehicle we drove was decked out with black leather seats, white stitching and a brilliant “Spicy Red” broguing on the seats and armrest. It had carbon fiber inserts on the center stack and glossy clear push-button gearing.
Every time I sit in an Aston Martin, I can’t help but compare the interior to a pair of intricately crafted Italian leather shoes – supple, soft and stunningly beautiful.
What’s more, I love the seemingly infinite customization possibilities. In addition to 35 exterior paint colors, you can select from five different brake caliper colors, three different types of seat leather, 20 different leather colors, six different seat belt colors -- and I could go on. The interior can be just as vibrant or simple as the owner would like.
While the DB11 coupe is available with a V-12 or V-8 engine, the Volante is only equipped with the V-8. Not that this is a bad thing.
I have previously stated more isn’t always better. Sometimes, it’s just more. Such is absolutely the case with the V-8 engine in the DB11 Volante. The lighter weight lends itself to a certain nimbleness on the road that the V-12 just doesn’t have.
The V-8 engine is a 4.0-liter twin turbo that delivers 503 horsepower and 497 pound-feet of torque. Though the V-12 engine may have almost 100 more horsepower, the 0-60 mph times are separated by only 0.2 seconds.
The V-8 engine is the result of a collaboration with Mercedes-AMG, and though it is the same engine that appears in the C63 S and GT, it is specially tuned to sound and perform like an Aston Martin.
As we were driving through the twisty bits – and there were a lot of them on our drive route – I couldn’t help but notice how planted the DB11 Volante felt and how easily it maneuvered.
In fact, it was so responsive, it was as if it was reading my mind.
It’s refreshing to know that the DB11 Volante isn’t just another pretty face. It has a top speed of 187 mph and gut-flipping fast acceleration with a 0-to-62-mph time of just 4.1 seconds.
During our short first-look test of the Aston Martin DB11 Volante, I can easily say I loved pretty much everything about this car – from the handling all the way to the Spicy Red brogue accents that matched my nail polish.
But if I had to complain about one thing, it would be the infotainment system, which is also part of the collaboration with Mercedes. If you are familiar with Mercedes vehicles, you will readily recognize the COMAND system in the design and implementation. It is not intuitive to use and the graphics look dated.
Good thing you can turn it off. I’d rather look at a blank screen.
The Bottom Line
The Aston Martin DB11 Volante is a sinfully beautiful car. The attention to detail is breathtaking, and the V-8 engine is spot-on amazing. I’ve loved every iteration of the DB11 I’ve driven so far, but the Volante is special. It gives you an open-air experience when you want it with a no-compromises canvas top when you don’t.
The DB11 Volante will go on sale in the United States beginning in June with a base price of $216,495, which is about $18K more than its coupe counterpart.
Editor’s Note: Driving impressions in this “First Look” review are from an invitation-only automaker launch event that allowed special access to the vehicle and executives. Aston Martin covered our accommodations, meals and transportation costs.