A soft-top Aston for

all weathers

Aston Martin DB11 Volante, front static
Aston Martin DB11 Volante, side static
Aston Martin DB11 Volante, front static 2
Aston Martin DB11 Volante, front action
Aston Martin DB11 Volante, dash detail
Aston Martin DB11 Volante, rear action
Aston Martin DB11 Volante, dashboard
Aston Martin DB11 Volante, plaque
Aston Martin DB11 Volante, rear seats
Aston Martin DB11 Volante, front seats
Aston Martin DB11 Volante, cockpit
Aston Martin DB11 Volante, engine

LET'S imagine a less than ideal environment to try a gorgeous drop-top Aston Martin; lashing rain and roads of wheel scraping narrowness surely fit the bill.

Probably more realistic, though, than the sun drenched coastline of the French Riviera the marketing people would rather you concentrate on. Welcome to a chilly, damp Britain.

Where the lucky UK-based few who can do more than lust after one of the prettiest cars on sale (for a minimum of £159,900) are likely to spend more time than on their yacht in the Med.

So they will be reassured to learn that Aston Martin's new DB11 Volante copes perfectly well with a typically brisk day in the English Midlands where the cars are turned out with bespoke thoroughness.

The eight layered hood vanishes in 14 seconds (and reappears in 16) and can be deployed on the move at up to 31mph, for a bit of street theatre if you go topless in town.

Obvious fine attention to sealing out draughts mean the interior remains almost tin-top hushed at speed although finding somewhere for the roof to live when in open top mode means an already modest boot then shrinks to overnight bag status.

Which is where the vestigial rear seats will come in handy, fulfilling the same luggage overspill role that makes Porsche 911 owners bless their car's practicality. A couple of wide eyed nippers will fit for the drive of a lifetime too.

The view out of the Volante's windscreen is the same as you'll enjoy in the fixed roof (and £15,000 cheaper) DB11 but rearwards it's a different matter as you snatch views of cars behind through a tiny rear window.

Better perhaps to turn van man and use the big door mirrors with the visual bonus of those sensually curved rear quarters in every glance.

When the rain subsides and the road widens you can then enjoy the headline grabbing part of any Aston Martin, in this case provided by a lusty twin turbo 503 horsepower 4.0 litre V8 sourced from the AMG performance arm of Mercedes-Benz, which now owns a small part of the UK company.

Bare performance figures (0-62mph in 4.1 seconds and a 187mph top speed) are for bragging rights only for any half-sensible on-road drive but there's compensation in spades from any speed when you press the throttle and put the eight speed auto gearbox through its paces.

The result is a barely muted explosion from beneath the bonnet that stays just the right side of well mannered while adding a frisson of excitement even as you accelerate out of a 30mph limit. Lovely.

Not too bad either, considering the potency of this machine, is an official economy figure of 28.3mpg with CO2 emissions of 230g/km.

Making this alloy built car a little lighter and stiffer in body than its predecessor has produced a car that clings like a well bred limpet on corners yet maintains a composed ride even as the going get rougher.

It's always sports car firm, as it ought to be, but there's an underlying composure that makes the prospect of 300 miles to dinner sound enticing, not a bottom numbing exercise.

Those miles will be enjoyed in an interior that's swathed in leather but lacks the ultimate panache of something like a Bentley Continental.

Still, the essentials are all there and well presented, from crystal clear instruments (you couldn't always say that about an Aston Martin) and a sat nav that's of this century (ditto) and controls that are as good looking as they are clearly marked.

It's the sort of attention to detail you'll enjoy whether the sun is shining or the heavens have opened - again.

LATEST Aston Martin NEWS

ASTON Martin Lagonda's Welsh plant will play an increasingly important part in...

Read more View article

SECRET testing has started in Wales with the forthcoming Aston Martin DBX SUV...

Read more View article

I FELTsomething of areiver as my car snarled and growled its way across the...

Read more View article