Aston Martin DBS Volante set for Geneva debutTue, 24 Feb 2009
Aston Martin will take the wraps off its fastest-ever production convertible at the Geneva motor show when the muscular 2010 DBS Volante makes its global debut.
The soft-top version of Aston's beefy DBS will top 191 mph, the company says, and sprint from 0 to 62 mph in 4.3 seconds, figures that put the DBS Volante in the top echelon of open-top supercars.
The development of only the 16th convertible in Aston's 95-year history has been eased by dipping into the parts bin. The chassis is shared with the DBS coupe (that rose to fame as James Bond's ride in Quantum of Solace), while the fabric roof is borrowed from the DB9 Volante, although both get detailed modifications to make the Volante unique.
For instance, the DBS Volante roof can be opened and closed at up to 30 mph, thanks to changes in the operating software. Those same improvements cut three seconds from the opening and folding time, now down to 14 seconds. "We've improved the choreography of the roof opening sequence," says Aston's chief engineer Ian Minards.
The DBS Volante also possesses a stiffer body than the DB9, up by 10 percent, according to Minards. "It's not quite as stiff as the V8 Vantage, but it is close," he says.
This is thanks to the rigidly mounted rear subframe, a feature also standard on the DBS coupe, where it was introduced to sharpen handling and rear-end grip. On the Volante, the change is expected to improve ride, handling and refinement by allowing Aston to set springs and shocks closer to ideal road manners without having to compromise chassis settings to compensate for body flex.
Just as the DBS coupe, the Volante is powered by Aston's 6.0-liter V12, with the same 510 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque.
Part of the impressive performance comes from the overall lighter weight of the underlying DBS coupe compared with the DB9, thanks to extensive use of carbon-fiber body panels. Although the folding roof adds 250 pounds to the coupe's curb weight, at 3,982 pounds, the DBS Volante is still relatively light.
The DBS Volante will be available with a choice of gearboxes, either a six-speed manual or a six-speed Touchtronic automatic--Aston-speak for ZF's best-in-class automatic.
Aston says performance is the same for both, while the Touchtronic is a shade better on fuel economy, posting 14 mpg combined compared with 13 mpg for the manual.
By Julian Rendell