Aston Martin Vanquish Volante
Stunning looks come as standard with the Vanquish Volante
- Stunning exterior design
- Sumptuous, comfortable cabin
- Characterful V12 engine
- Exceptional comfort and cruising ability
- Slightly blunted performance compared to coupe
- Lack of oddment storage in the cabin
- High running costs
- Shape may be a little familiar for some
Having created a new range-topping model in the shape of the Vanquish, Aston Martin has taken its usual step and spun another model off it by removing the roof. Adding the familiar moniker the British firm has created the Vanquish Volante, which promises supercar thrills with the bonus of drop-top looks and fresh air.
An expanding model range is the sign of a healthy company, so the fact that Aston Martin is broadening its range still further proves that the British company has put its less successful days firmly behind it. Further evidence is provided by the reintroduction of an old and well-loved name with the reappearance of the Vanquish.
As with the rest of the Aston Martin range the Vanquish Volante uses the well-proven VH architecture for its structure, which consists of aluminium sections bonded and riveted together to give a lightweight and strong structure that is ideal for a convertible car. Better still, both the Vanquish coupe and Vanquish Volante use carbonfibre panels to further reduce the overall weight.
The Vanquish Volante sticks with the traditional Aston Martin method of a fabric folding roof rather than a complicated metal version. Not only does that mean the Vanquish retains a surprising amount of boot space, it also means it can retain the occasional rear seats and all without spoiling its looks, which of course are crucial to its appeal.
Mechanically the Vanquish Volante is unchanged over its coupe sibling, which means it has the latest version of the spectacular V12 up front, which is all-new in this application. As with many high performance cars of this nature the Vanquish Volante is automatic only, with a full auto mode as well as the option of a paddleshift.
Our verdict on the Aston Martin Vanquish Volante
Improving on a car like the Vanquish coupe is no mean feat, but in many ways the Vanquish Volante offers a different experience to its fixed-roof sibling. It offers remarkable comfort and cruising ability yet its handling is exceptionally good. Although performance is slightly reduced compared to the coupe it is still a very fast car, and although the price is high you get a lot of car for the money.
Running costs for the Vanquish Volante will be very high indeed. The purchase price, fuel consumption and insurance are all at the top end of the scale, making it a car for the well-heeled only.
Space and practicality
The Vanquish Volante is relatively restricted in terms of space, and is clearly optimised for two people despite the second row of seats. Front seat passengers are well catered for and fully adjustable seats mean there should be no shortage of headroom. Boot space is relatively short but quite wide and deep, making it sufficient for a weekend away.
Controls and display
The layout of the Vanquish is logical and easy to use as well as very attractive, with gorgeous flood-lit instruments and clear digital displays. The button layout is sensible and clear, while buttons on the back of the steering wheel can be used to control the satellite navigation.
The Vanquish behaves impeccably over rougher surfaces, and despite losing its rough it is untroubled by body shake. The seats are very comfortable in the front but considerably less so for adults in the rear. Despite its tremendous output, the engine settles down to a refined hum on the move, the exhaust flap system mutes the noise for comfort below 4000rpm. There's a little extra wind noise courtesy of the canvas roof, but road noise is well tempered considering the huge tyres.
Befitting a car of this price and exclusivity, the Vanquish comes with an alarm and immobiliser as standard. This can be upgraded to include a tracking device, which would be a sensible addition.
With an immensely strong chassis the Vanquish Volante offers a high level of passive safety, while the high performance ceramic brakes and firm suspension, combined with a standard stability control system promise an equally high level of active safety. Pop-up roll hoops deploy in the event of a roll-over accident too.
Despite the supercar-like performance figures the Vanquish Volante is designed to offer a GT experience - covering big distances with ease and comfort - as well as being able to tear up a challenging B-road, and it scores highly on both counts. The V12 engine dominates the driving experience, offering very strong acceleration and an amazing soundtrack, although it's not quite as quick as the equivalent coupe. The handling however is unquestionably superb, remaining composed and engaging however tough the road surface.
Family car appeal
The Vanquish Volante's family appeal is limited by its small rear seats - only the smallest child seats will fit. The truncated boot is insufficient to carry large amounts of luggage, too.
First car appeal
The Vanquish Volante is too expensive and powerful to suit even the wealthiest first time car buyer.
Quality and image
When spending this kind of money very high standards of quality are expected and for the most part the Vanquish delivers. The materials are excellent and the paint finish is superb, providing a strong feel-good factor for its occupants. In terms of image Aston Martin has an enviable reputation, thanks to its glorious back catalogue of performance cars and its glamorous associations.
To aid access the doors have been cleverly designed to open out and upwards. Regardless, the low seating position and long doors can make the model difficult to access with something parked alongside. Given room to manoeuvre it poses few problems however, although rear seat passengers do have to squeeze a little, even though the front seats slide forward. Access to the boot is good, with the short bootlid opening beyond 90 degrees.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
All Vanquish models have the high-specification Bang and Olufsen audio system as standard, and the new centre console layout makes it much easier to control. The sound quality is outstanding, while the new sat-nav system is also much improved although it still lags a little behind the best standard fit systems elsewhere.
Colours and trim
The Vanquish Volante's cabin can be customised to a large degree, especially with Aston Martin's recently-introduced Q programme. A wide choice of wood or metal finishes to the dashboard and a range of leather colours are available. In any configuration it is a highly attractive layout, with quality materials and first class construction.
Given its low-slung driving position, small rear window and lack of conventional bumpers, parking the Vanquish Volante can be a little taxing. However, light steering at low speeds helps relieve the stress and with the roof lowered rear visibility is vastly improved.
Emergency tyre repair kit fitted as standard.
Petrol engine options - 6.0-litre (565bhp). Transmission options; six-speed automatic gearbox as standard. No trim levels.
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