The Aston Martin Vanquish Volante. It’s the first time the Vanquish name has been applied to a convertible, and it’s effectively a successor to the Aston DBS Volante.
The Volante’s soft-top roof electronically opens or closes in 14 seconds. The car is endowed with the same updated 5.9-litre V12 as the coupe, which means headline figures of 565bhp at 6750rpm and 457lb ft at 5500rpm.
In these days of 730bhp F12s, these are not numbers to make jaws hit floors but they still compare reasonably well with those of what might be seen as rivals. The Bentley Continental GT Speed has more power at 616bhp but also weighs 2320kg, so its 0-60 time of 4.2sec is a tenth slower than the Aston’s. However, the Volante isn’t exactly a lightweight itself at 1844kg, so the Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster, which has similar outputs (563bhp and 479lb ft) but weighs 184kg less, manages to trump it in the benchmark acceleration sprint, at just 3.8sec. The Vanquish's 183mph top speed is limited by its gearbox.
It’s priced within a few per cent of the 562bhp Ferrari 458 Spider and 616bhp McLaren 12C Spider, and is evidently less hardcore. But I’d go so far as to argue that Volante status suits the Vanquish rather well. As a coupe I’m never quite sure where the Vanquish is designed to fall – as the top of the Aston tree, it clearly wants to be a supercar, but largely because of the automatic gearbox, its demeanour is more fast GT. Lop the top off the body, however, and there seems to be less ambiguity about its character and less need for it to be considered as an out-and-out hardcore thrill-seeker battling against Lambos, Ferraris and the like.
It’s still mighty fast and very capable, but as a slightly softer-looking car (I can’t think of a convertible that doesn’t look less aggressive than its hard-top counterpart), it feels more comfortable in its carbonfibre and canvas skin, because the driving experience now more closely matches the image it’s projecting