2019 Aston Martin DB11 Volante: First Drive Review

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRich Heritage
For over 100 years Aston Martin has been building beautiful automobiles. With a rich heritage that includes great performance both on and off the track, the British marque has built a reputation for creating vehicles that are a perfect blend of elegant styling with sports car performance. Its fitting that the latest model in the Aston lineup — the DB11 Volante – is the epitome of elegance and performance.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSomething Special
“For many of our customers, indeed many generations of Aston Martin customer, the Volante has always offered something very special: a unique combination of elegant style, innate sporting ability and sensory engagement that lifts it above other open-top cars,” said Aston Martin President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Andy Palmer. “The new DB11 Volante captures those qualities perfectly and promises the kind of pleasure and enjoyment that can only come from driving an open-top Aston Martin,” Palmer noted.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceUpdated Styling
While styling remains recognizable as an Aston, the DB11 Volante has a wider grille, a more sculpted hood and LED “light blade” taillights that combine with bold rear haunches to give the DB11 a wide, sporting look. Sculpted lines can be traced from the prominent hood, through the doors to end at the center of the rear decklid. An integrated rear spoiler deploys at speed as needed.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBeautiful Curves
The silhouette is the best way to see the beautiful curves of this elegant open-top car. In classic sports car styling, the hood slopes up to the base of the windscreen. The beltline undulates down then back up over the rear wheels before curving down to a point at the rear. A steeply raked windshield keeps the overall profile low.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceCurlicue
Our favorite design element is the “curlicue” feature (Aston Martin’s term) that integrates with the front wheel in the fender. The wheel with the curlicue looks an icon for a turbocharger, evoking the car’s power and speed.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceModel Line
There are now three versions of the DB11 available: the V8 Coupe and V12 Coupe that came to market last year, and now the open-top V8 Volante. There are currently no plans to produce a V12-powered variant.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSelect Standard Features
The DB11 comes with an impressive array of standard equipment. Some features that can be found on every DB11 Volante include full leather trim, an Alcantara headliner, heated power front seats, a 360-degree surround-view camera, dual-zone climate control and 20-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels. Also standard is an 8-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth audio streaming, navigation system and iPhone integration.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceCustomization
The level of customization available on the DB11 is, naturally, quite extensive. Among the items available to make this Aston unique to each buyer are a color-keyed steering wheel, embroidered or embossed head restraints with DB11 or Aston Martin wings, a wind deflector, heavy-pile floor mats, multiple grades of leather, duotone leather trim, ventilated seats and an array of detailing options.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTrim Choices
Trim inlays can range from Piano Black to Satin chopped carbon, and these inlays are part of both the dash as well as the seatbacks. Available Jewelry Packs set the color and style of the paddle shifters, steering wheel switches, center stack surround, door pulls, seat belt bezels, door sills and speaker grilles.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceExterior Treatment
The 2019 Aston Martin DB11 Volante has a variety of 20-inch wheels available, as well as paint colors, roof colors, seat belt colors and grille treatments that can be customized to the owner’s wishes.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePower Top
Aston Martin stuck with tradition and opted for a cloth top rather than a retractable hardtop. The 8-layer roof admirably resists the elements and its associated sounds, as well as road noise, making the cabin of the DB11 Volante as quiet as the coupe. With the touch of a button in the center console or on the remote, the rear deck opens and in 14 seconds the folding fabric top completely disappears into its rear compartment. It takes 16 seconds to reverse the process. The top can be operated at speeds up to 31 mph.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceCoupelike Lines
Great pains were taken by designers and engineers to make certain the Volante carries the same sexy lines as the hardtop Coupe. At the front, the top is perfectly flush with the windshield surround, giving the impression of being a solid piece that flows smoothly down to the rear deck. The top can be configured in a choice of colors, enabling a large selection of exterior color combinations.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSafety
The windshield of the DB11 Volante is designed to hold the weight of the vehicle in the event of a rollover. In addition, a Roll-Over Protection System will deploy from behind the rear seats to further protect occupants if the car overturns.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInner Space
The elegance that an Aston Martin represents is instantly apparent when taking a seat inside the DB11. Passengers get ensconced among the finest materials, and with so many choices for leather type, style and color as well as different types of wood or carbon fiber trim inlays, the experience is unique to each buyer.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFront Seats
With multiple adjustments the front seats are not simply attractive but extremely comfortable, even after spending several hours on the road. Pronounced side bolsters are effective at keeping the driver and passenger stable during spirited driving, but at the same time seats don’t feel tight. Opening the top remotely presents olfactory senses with a wonderful waft of fine leather from several feet away..

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceScant Storage
The DB11 does not have a typical glove box — the only in-car storage is under the center armrest. This space is rather shallow but the lid is power-operated. We expect over-the-top features in a $200K-plus automobile, but this seems like one item that is unnecessary.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRedundant Controls
Accessing the audio, navigation and climate controls in the infotainment system is accomplished via either a single dial on the center console or hard buttons on the console. We like the redundant controls, which make it much easier to quickly access items without wading through multiple menus. However, Volume and tuning knobs would be a boon— the Aston system uses a touchscreen slider for volume control.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWindscreen
An optional windscreen can be installed over the rear seat to lower turbulence in the cabin. The device’s effectiveness is impressive — even at high speeds the cabin remained relatively calm, making it possible to carry on a normal conversation. Folding the windscreen down immediately changed airflow, making the cabin a rather windy experience. The windscreen is definitely a must-have feature.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRear Seats
The rear seat is certainly usable; however, passengers in the rear will find limited legroom . Access to the rear seat is much easier with the top down; however, this is a windy location with the top down. The rear windscreen cannot be used with the rear seats occupied.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTrunk Space
Although trunk space has grown from the outgoing DB9, the convertible top does consume a large portion of the available space. There is just enough space for a few small soft-sided bags — bespoke bags are available from Aston Martin.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceUnder the Hood
Powering the DB11 Volante is an AMG-built 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine that produces 503 horsepower and 513 lb-ft of torque at a low 2000 rpm. The intake, exhaust and ECU are all built by Aston Martin, which does change the dynamics as well as the sound from a comparable Mercedes-AMG model.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience8-Speed Automatic
Power is delivered to the rear wheels via a rear-mounted 8-speed automatic gearbox. The driver can choose to let the automatic transmission shift on its own or can take over shifting duties via steering-column-mounted paddle shifters. Fuel economy is rated at 21 mpg highway / 15 mpg city / 17 mpg combined.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAdjustable Suspension, Dynamics
Suspension in the 2019 DB11 Volante can be adjusted by the driver with an easily-accessible button on the steering wheel. The adaptive damping system can be set to GT, Sport or Sport+, and the difference in ride is immediately apparent with each selection. Driving dynamics can be set with a similar button with the same GT, Sport and Sport+ settings. These adjust steering, throttle, exhaust note and the speed at which the rear spoiler deploys.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePerformance Stats
Performance figures are quite impressive — the DB11 can jump to 62 mph in a hair over 4 seconds, with triple digits achieved in 8.8 seconds. Aston lists the top speed of the DB11 Volante as 187 mph.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOn the Road
We had the opportunity to enjoy the new DB11 Volante on the narrow roads around Nice, France, as well as on winding roads of the French Alps and quickly found the Volante to be much more than simply a pretty face. The first noticeable element is the amazing exhaust note produced by the big V8. There’s an amazing roar emanating at full throttle, but the low rumble at just about any engine speed is simply addictive.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWonderful Exhaust Note
In Sport+ mode, the exhaust is at its most raucous, but even better is the “brap brap” sound when the throttle is released. This sound never ceases to elicit a smile — especially in a tunnel. Acceleration is very strong — passing on two-lane roads requires very little space since the DB11 can launch quickly from nearly any speed.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAgile Performance
When we first started our tour in Nice, the car felt somewhat large and the drive was a little nerve wracking when the edge of the road was either a cliff or a rock face. However, as we spent more time behind the wheel the car seemed to shrink. Steering is precise with excellent feedback. As the roads became more and more winding, the DB11 felt more agile, able to handle the quick direction changes with little to no body roll. The new DB11 is built on a new bonded aluminum structure that is both lighter and stiffer than the outgoing DB9 — a fact that became quite evident during our drive.

Paddle Shifters
As we climbed through the Alps, the quick paddle shifters became welcome driving aids. Although a manual gearbox is preferable when available, the DB11 Volante’s automatic transmission performed flawlessly as we made plenty of downshifts and upshifts as the road twisted and turned. There always seems to be power on tap; often downshifts were simply for the accompanying exhaust note.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSmooth GT
While the DB11 excels on mountain roads, it is also at home cruising at highway speeds. Changing the suspension setting to GT smooths out any flaws in road surfaces, making for a proper touring car. The only drawback — if one could call it that — is that the Volante’s smooth ride makes it easy to exceed speed limits without noticing – the DB11 simply always wants to go faster.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRight for You?
For those in the market for a $200,000-plus convertible sports car there aren’t many choices, and honestly none of them are bad. Easily one of the most gorgeous convertibles available, the DB11 is the complete package with a comfortable ride, impressive performance and an extreme level of available customization. For those who have the means and are looking for that perfect blend of elegance and performance, the DB11 Volante is certainly most worthy of consideration. The Aston Martin DB11 Volante arrives in showrooms this summer with a base price of $216,495.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 9.0
Pros: Outstanding performance and handling; gorgeous styling; extensive customization.
Cons: No standard glove box; limited trunk space; no windscreen when rear seat occupied.
Bottom Line: Latest Aston continues the marque’s tradition of elegant performance.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMore Pictures
Here are a few more photos of one of this absolutely beautiful automobile.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAston Martin DB11 Volante

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAston Martin DB11 Volante

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAston Martin DB11 Volante

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAston Martin DB11 Volante

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAston Martin DB11 Volante

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAston Martin DB11 Volante

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAston Martin DB11 Volante

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAston Martin DB11 Volante

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAston Martin DB11 Volante

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAston Martin DB11 Volante

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAston Martin DB11 Volante

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAston Martin DB11 Volante

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAston Martin DB11 Volante

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAston Martin DB11 Volante

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAston Martin DB11 Volante

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAston Martin DB11 Volante

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAston Martin DB11 Volante


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