From £180,812
Delivers a sense of occasion and exquisite mechanical feel

Our Verdict

Aston Martin DBS
Until the £1m One-77, the Aston Martin DBS was the British marque's halo model

The DBS is Aston Martin’s greatest ever GT

What is it?

£170,000 is a hell of a lot of money but Aston Martin has not shied away from climbing into the thin air of at the top-end of the automotive market. The DBS Volante is as dramatic and hi-tech a production car as the company has ever launched, but it’s also £80k more than the Vantage and £50k more than the DB9 Volante.

Based on the longer version of Aston’s aluminium VH platform, the DBS Volante gets a number of – much needed – technical improvements over its DB9 Volante sister car. A new six-point subframe and extra ‘sheer plate’ bolted to the chassis mean the Volante is only 25 percent less rigid than the coupe.

Like the coupe, the Volante gets a carbonfibre bonnet, wings and boot lid and new design of carbon rear deck. The hood has also been improved over the DB9, with extra layer of (insulative and sound deadening) Thinsulate and it can now be operated at speeds up to 30mph. It also folds in just 14sec, three seconds quicker than the DB9.

The styling is much the same as the coupe, though the DBS gets the same ‘speed humps’ as the Vantage Roadster, which actually cover the pyrotechnic rollover bars. The Volante only comes as ‘2+2’, though the beautifully trimmed rear ‘seats’ are only good for holding a shopping bag.

What’s it like?

The DBS Volante excels in two areas: the detailing and ambience of the interior and in its effectiveness as a high performance GT car.

Really, this is one of the finest automotive cabins yet conceived. Aside from the especially fine, boldly stitched, leather, the cabin is a riot of jewel-like details.

It’s all so well judged - from the excellent ‘comfort’ sports seats to the exact thickness of the steering wheel rim and the superb fonts used for the instruments and trip computer. Some might complain, though, about the well-shaped, but bulky and high-set, gearlever getting in the way of the centre console.

More importantly, the DBS is really first-class on nearly all roads. It is only really handicapped when it runs out of road because of its prodigious width. This car does not intimidate the driver.

The engine is smooth and tractable, even in heavy traffic, the shift action very clean and the clutch well weighted and controllable. (The right-hand fly-off handbrake is tricky on hill starts, however).

The only options on this test car were the £500-per corner wheels which save a total of 10kg in unsprung weigh. They surely must have contributed to the superb ride quality, which, even on inner-city roads and despite the 30-profile tyres, was extremely impressive.

This is a very quick car indeed, but again it feels very controllable and does not remotely unnerve the driver. Personally, I found it too wide and physically bulky to really extend with confidence on typical English country roads, but it is a very satisfying machine to row along briskly.

Only on the worst roads was there some trim twittering where the roof met the interior. With the roof down body stiffness deteriorates very slightly, but noticeably.

Given encouragement (tempting with such an exhaust note), the rear wheels will let go relatively easily, although the traction control clips the loss of grip very subtly. Fine steering and excellent brakes easily out-ran the poor dipped-lamps on the West Sussex B-roads, however.

On motorways, it runs very straight and true and has excellent cabin refinement, easily living up to its GT billing. Only the tiny boot hampers long-distance travel.

Should I buy one?

It’s a little brash on the outside, but the DBS Volante is special enough - in execution and ability - to almost justify the price tag. Truth is, this car has the sense of occasion and exquisite mechanical feel that is right up there with Ferrari’s finest. However, once it gets the same structural updates, the DB9 Volante will probably deliver close to the same experience for £50k less.

Join the debate

Comments
8

17 June 2009

A minor point, but they could have used some nicer screws to fix the 'handmade in England' plate - ship, ha'peth of tar and all that.

17 June 2009

Tracks straight and true?

Have you recently tested cars that don't, in any price range?

17 June 2009

Aston have actually put some real effort and have worked on the essentials but:[quote Autocar]£170,000 is a hell of a lot of money [/quote] That is just too much for a sports car like this it's at least £30,000 over what I would have guessed

17 June 2009

Yeaaah waaay over priced. I'll have a Lambo and some change thank you, loool

17 June 2009

Most people moan that BMW's are no longer good looking, but at least their models are distinctive. All Aston's since the vanquish just look too alike in my mind; i struggle to tell the difference between a vanquish and a dbs.

18 June 2009

Some might complain, though, about the well-shaped, but bulky and high-set, gearlever getting in the way of the centre console. Perhaps that to make you fork out more for the autobox that looking at the picture it was always meant to have anyway [IMG]http://i42.tinypic.com/ok8p3a.jpg[/IMG]

18 June 2009

[quote Autocar]

A new six-point subframe and extra ‘sheer plate’ bolted to the chassis mean the Volante is only 25 percent less rigid than the coupe

[/quote]

So the DB9 coupe is so wobbily they have to bolt big steel plates to the chassis to stop it flexing - hardly a great design starting point then.

It reminds me of a friends dad, who had an old rover that the floor had become rusty and holes were appearing in it, the car was incredibly wobbly so he welded on old oven door to the underside of the car which apparently improved the handling no-end!

18 June 2009

I would buy the hardtop if i was buying any car. There isnt much point in spending all that extra cash when its just going to be pissing rain in Ireland ( and in anywere in the British Isles ) But i suppose if you had that money, you wouldnt be living here would you??

Still though, The hard top version, is THE BEST looking car in production right now.

Congrats, Aston Martin!!!!!!!!!!!

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