The Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante is one of the best looking cars on the road at the moment. Thanks to its V12, it’s also one of the best-sounding. So it’s refreshing that it isn’t pushing to be some cutthroat performance car, but instead keeping the character of a relaxed muscly grand tourer alive.
As Henry Catchpole of Carfection points out, on paper, the Volante is a little compromised over its coupe Superleggera sibling. The convertible mechanism has added a little over 200 pounds to the weight, and the change in the rear bodywork means there’s slightly less downforce.
But the shift in weight now means there’s a 50-50 weight distribution, where the coupe is a 49-51 front-to-back split. You also get all the pure pleasure of being in a true convertible, with the top down and no windows or frame surrounding you, unlike the more targa-like McLaren 720S Spider.
That puts the Volante in a bit of a class of its own, as a very expensive drop-top grand-tourer that is more about embracing a softer, muscly edge with its gruff V12, versus the more cutthroat approach of other V12 Ferraris and the like.
Even within the Aston Martin stable, it’s hard to justify the existence of the Superleggera. The DB11 is a great grand tourer, the new Vantage is an excellent little sports car, and then you have the seemingly never-ending wave of Zagato models showing up every year that fill out every imaginable niche.
But we should cherish the DBS while we can, because soon Aston Martin is going to war with McLaren with a trio of mid-engine sports cars and supercars. And as exciting as that is, it signals a shift in focus to a more number-crunching, highly technical approach to road cars, risking a departure from caring for the actual character you should get from driving a car.
Is it worth all the extra cash on top of a DB11 Volante? Only if you’re going to have to regularly show up to a parking lot already full of DB11s, maybe. But you buy this car for its stylish character and because you have money to burn. And you get a great grand tourer and some of the best bodywork money can buy right now, and maybe one of the last cars Aston builds before it gets lost in a war over performance.