2023 Aston Martin DB12 Volante: 671bhp drop-top GT unveiled
Aston Martin has pulled the wraps off a new convertible version of the DB12 to rival the Ferrari Roma Spider
Aston Martin is undergoing a transformation under the leadership of Lawrence Stroll with a series of faster, sharper and more advanced models, and hot on the heels of the new DB12, the firm has unveiled this: the DB12 Volante.
Designed to deliver the DB12’s extra performance and bite in an open-top package, the Volante offers significant engineering changes over the DB11 Volante before it, as well as a new cabin architecture and much-needed HMI upgrade. Production will begin later this year, with first customer deliveries towards the end of 2023.
As with the coupe, the DB12 Volante’s more sporting character is evident in the design, which draws cues from Aston’s DBS flagship. A new, much larger grille and front apron give a more menacing look than the DB11, along with new headlights and reprofiled side sills. Of course, the main differentiator to the coupe is a folding fabric roof – taking 14sec to retract and 16sec to close, the roof contains eight layers of insulation and can operate at speeds of up to 31mph.
We were impressed by the DB11 Volante's dynamic ability at launch, and the DB12 has every chance of building on this with key changes to its structure and suspension for a more direct, cohesive feel. Revisions to its bonded aluminium chassis, including new rear suspension mounting points and stiffer front axle attachments, have enabled the use of a solidly-mounted steering column for improved response, with a 3.7 per cent increase in torsional rigidity providing a more stable platform for the Volante’s unique suspension tune.
The DB12’s new adaptive dampers have 500 per cent more bandwidth than those fitted to the DB11, with the Volante gaining a bespoke damping calibration and different rear springs to compensate for changes to its body stiffness and the added weight of its chassis bracing. Aston quotes a 1796kg dry weight for the DB12 Volante, which compares to 1685kg for the coupe.
With Aston’s V12 seeing out its days in the DBS and bespoke limited-run specials, the DB12 uses an AMG-derived 4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 generating 671bhp and 590lb ft of torque. Driving through an 8spd automatic gearbox with a shorter final drive than the DB11, the DB12 Volante sprints to 62mph in 3.7sec, and on to a top speed of 202mph. An electronically-controlled limited slip differential delivers torque to the rear wheels, with Michelin Pilot S 5 tyres fitted as standard. Carbon ceramic brakes are available as an option for improved performance and longevity, cutting 27kg of unsprung mass.
As with the hard top, the DB12 Volante has undergone a comprehensive transformation inside, with a new dashboard, steering wheel and infotainment suite to replace the DB11's dated and - in some places - cheap feeling cabin. With a crisp digital dial pack and a large touchscreen sitting a hand-span away from the steering wheel, the DB12 presents an enormous transformation over the clunky, old-generation Mercedes tech used in previous Astons. Thankfully, the new model has a bank of physical switches for its climate controls and drive modes, with the Volante featuring unique trim inlays on the seat backs for a more distinctive look with the roof down.
Starting from £185,000, the DB12 coupe sits in a realm occupied by the Ferrari Roma and Bentley’s Continental GT V8 S, and while pricing hasn’t been announced for the Volante, it’s likely to sit closer to £200,000 to compete with the Continental GTC and Roma Spider.