Late in the spring, Aston Martin introduced the latest in its long DB line of grand tourers, the 2024 Aston Martin DB12. Aston Martin
did everything it could to make the car seem revolutionary – even insisting it was the first example of a new breed of car called “super tourer.” But no one was fooled. It followed the formula of every prior DB car, and we would never have forgiven them if it didn’t.
It was a gorgeous, slinky thing with a long hood and a short rear deck, offering enough power to keep up with dedicated sports cars like the Porsche 911 everywhere but the track yet reeling the power in just enough to make it formally something more comfortable than a sports car.
But there’s one more step to the formula. After introducing a new Grand T…excuse us, Super Tourer, Aston Martin is supposed to quietly bring in a roofless model.
Not to worry. Aston hasn’t forgotten that step.
Meet the Aston Martin DB12 Volante.
Aston Martin hasn’t even hinted at pricing. The current DB11 Volante started in the mid-$230,000 range.
Twin-turbo V8, RWD
The Volante uses identical mechanical underpinnings to the hardtop DB12. That means a twin-turbo V8 borrowed from Mercedes’ AMG sport division. It makes 671 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. Power goes through an 8-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels. Aston says the combination is good for a top speed of 202 mph (no word on whether the roof has to be up to achieve that) and a 0-60 mph sprint of 3.6 seconds.
Michelin Pilot S 5 tires “made to Aston Martin’s precise requirements” put all that power down. An adaptive damper suspension helps keep it all precise. Aston says specific rear damper tuning is “the main difference between DB12 Coupe and Volante” – presumably to allow it to dance with the same agility with the roof in the trunk.
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Close the roof at 31 mph
There are no significant body changes other than that roof – an 8-layer soft piece. Aston says it lays down to a “a class-leading 260 mm stack height” – making us realize we’ve never measured the depth of a folded convertible roof. It hides entirely when retracted, “takes 14 seconds to open and 16 seconds to close, and can be used at speeds of up to 31 mph and into a 31 mph headwind.”
Inside, Aston Martin has finally ditched the turn-and-click control interface no one loved, using a 10.25-inch high-resolution touchscreen to control most climate and entertainment functions. But Aston owners are often people with ideas about tradition. So an army of buttons beneath lets you do most things without touching the touchscreen if that’s your preference.
As with the coupe, it’s the seats that are the real head-turners. The look is sculpted of carbon fiber with Bridge of Weir leather added only where needed for padding. Here, too, the Volante differs from its coupe counterpart. Buyers can select carbon fiber or wood veneer rear seat shells to “create an extra layer of visual interest and luxury when the roof is lowered.”
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Unchanging in a changing field
It is, frankly, everything you expect from a drop-top Aston Martin. And that alone is remarkable.
As much as Aston Martin would like us to say its cars have no peers, there is a Grand Tourer segment where the DB12 sits naturally. It is rapidly changing.
The Maserati Gran Turismo is going electric. The Jaguar F-Type is disappearing entirely in 2024, with a probably-electric replacement still pending. Bentley has hinted that the Continental GT will soon go electric, too.
That will make a V8-powered drop-top grand tourer something of a throwback before long. That’s probably exactly what some Aston fans are looking for.
This story originally ran on KBB.com.