2010 Aston Martin DBS Volante Road Test and Review
Since the first cars were produced in the late 1800s, vehicle designs have helped inspire passion among automotive enthusiasts, but only a handful of cars are created with such a timeless beauty that transcends past car people. Case in point, driving the all-new 2010 Aston Martin DBS Volante along Miami's famed South Beach gets plenty of attention and compliments despite being parked and driven among various Bentley, Ferrari and Lamborghini models. Just about all new cars in the six-figure price range provide exclusivity, performance and luxury, but few are able to blend these three components together better than the DBS.
For 2010, Aston Martin took its flagship performance coupe one step further by offering the additional open-air enjoyment of a convertible top. Competing against the upper echelon of luxury performance cars, the hand-built DBS Volante has a fitting base MSRP of $283,900. Tack on a few options, including a custom-matched paint job and the required $2,600 gas guzzler tax, and the DBS Volante I drove had an as-tested price of $299,585. Surprisingly, there is no shortage of cars in this price range, but the Aston Martin DBS Volante stands out as one of the more elegant options next to its flashy Italian competitors. For those who are curious, Aston Martin says its term for convertible, Volante, means 'moving with light rapidly.'
For pricing information, see our Pricing page.
2010 Aston Martin DBS Volante Exterior
Aston Martin cars are known for their sleek, timeless design which the DBS Volante carries over thanks to its fabric soft top which is available in a number of different colors. To accent the custom Morning Frost White exterior color (which adds $3,785 to the MSRP), this DBS Volante test model came with a light tan top. Matching the car's impressive performance, the top can raise and lower in just 14 seconds at speeds less than 30 miles per hour. With the top up, the DBS Volante maintains almost an exact profile as the DBS coupe, but with the top down the bright leather of the interior is just as attention grabbing as any other feature of the car.
Like the DBS coupe, which was introduced in 2007, the Volante sports plenty of weight-saving additions that also accent the car's styling such as the front splitter, side mirrors and rear diffuser which are all made from carbon fiber. Other elements that set the DBS apart from the DB9 include the vented front fascia, sportier side rocker panels and a restyled carbon fiber decklid, but this test model also added stylish 20-inch Diamond Turned Silver wheels with a five split spoke design. Signature cues such as the split LED taillights and the fender vents help tie in the DBS design with other Aston Martin models, and like other models the DBS also feature the uniquely hinged doors that open at an angle to make ingress and egress equally as impressive as just about every other aspect of the car.
For trim information, see our Trim page.
2010 Aston Martin DBS Volante Interior
Not only do the doors of the DBS open in such a way to complement the exterior design, it also helped to better showcase the lavish interior. Aside from the almost-limitless customization options, the cabin of the Aston Martin DBS Volante is pleasing to all five senses. Touch and sight are the obvious senses that the DBS pleases, but the sounds and smells emitted from the DBS also help to create an enjoyable experience. Upon first opening the doors, the smell from the leather is strong and rich, while the 1,000-watt Bang & Olufsen BeoSound audio system provides plenty of acoustic pleasure from its 13-speaker layout. As for the final sense, just owning an Aston Martin shows a great taste in cars.
Although Aston Martin offers numerous options for the interior, this particular DBS featured Sahara Tan leather throughout the cabin including the seats, door panels and instrument panel. As if the soft leather isn't impressive enough, the rest of the interior is covered with upscale accents such as carbon fiber on the door pulls and metallic trims on the center stack and speaker grilles. In between the sea of tan leather sits the metallic center stack which itself is accented by a piano black insert to house the audio, navigation and HVAC controls. Adding to the high-quality feel, all of the knobs are made from machined aluminum. From the driver's seat, the finely crafted instrument gauges hint at the performance of the DBS with a 220-mph speedometer and a tachometer that ends at 8,000 rpm. The front sport bucket seats are likely to be the most used seating positions in the DBS, but with the two jump seats in the back, the DBS Volante's leather-wrapped cabin can accommodate four passengers - as long as the rear occupants are toddlers.
Like every other aspect of the car, starting the DBS is a theatrical event that begins with the glass and stainless steel 'key,' which Aston Martin refers to as its Emotion Control Unit (ECU), being inserted into the engine start button above the radio. When inserted, the key glows red indicating the car is ready to be fired up, and all of the gear selection are made via the buttons that flank the ECU.
For additional photos, see our Photos page.
2010 Aston Martin DBS Volante Performance & Handling
Pressing the ECU brings the 6.0-liter V-12 to life from under the long, vented, aluminum hood. The deep grumble from the exhaust hints at the 510 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque this all-alloy engine delivers. The aforementioned gas guzzler tax is a result of the V12's EPA fuel economy estimates of 12 miles per gallon in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. While a six-speed manual is available on the DBS Volante, the rear-mounted Touchtronic automatic gearbox proved to be much more fitted for the constant stop-and-go Miami traffic. Once on open road though, the manual mode offers lightning-fast shifts from the paddles mounted to the steering column.
Under full throttle, the DBS releases a hellacious exhaust note north of the 4,000 rpm limit thanks to the exhaust system's active bypass valves, but despite its powerful engine and performance-tuned suspension and chassis the DBS Volante is surprisingly easy to drive in everyday traffic. Most DBS owners will stick to driving on the streets, but for the few who are lucky enough to get a DBS on the track, the car also has driver-selectable modes for sport shift, sport tuning and less intrusive stability control. According to Aston Martin, the DBS Volante has a top speed of 191 mph and can accelerate from zero to 62 miles per hour in just 4.3 seconds despite a curb weight of almost 4,000 pounds. Considering this rather hefty weight, the DBS exhibits impressive handling and braking thanks to the Adaptive Damping System and the four-wheel carbon ceramic disc brakes.
For specification information, see our Specifications page.
2010 Aston Martin DBS Volante Safety
Thankfully, no Aston Martin models were destroyed by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash tests, but the 2010 DBS Volante does offer plenty of safety features for this four-passenger convertible. Standard safety features for the 2010 Aston Martin DBS Volante include four airbags, rollover protection system, electronic brake-force distribution with emergency brake assist, four-wheel anti-lock disc brake system, tire pressure monitoring system, traction control and a dynamic stability control that also offers a track mode.
To compare the Aston Martin DBS Volante, visit our Comparison page.
The new 2010 Aston Martin DBS Volante marks just the 16th convertible in Aston Martin's 95-year history and is about the only way the British automaker could have improved upon its flagship performance coupe. There are many other convertibles on the market that offer similar performance as the DBS for much less money but few offer the elegance, exclusivity or quality craftsmanship as the DBS Volante. On top of these luxurious traits, the all-new Aston Martin DBS Volante also throws in a powerful engine and the lightweight body components to make it just as much a performer as it is a looker.
Aston Martin provided the vehicle this road test review.
Select Potos by Jeffrey N. Ross