Intent on fully exploiting every opportunity to shine during its ongoing 100th anniversary celebration, Aston Martin has just taken the wraps off the new 2014 Vanquish Volante. Replacing the now-departed DBS Volante as the automaker's top-line droptop, this latest Vanquish variant retains all of the basic design and engineering elements first seen on the V12 Vanquish coupe introduced last year, while adding its own distinctive al fresco charm.
Borrowing exterior styling cues from the limited-edition One-77, the new Vanquish convertible is the first Volante model ever to be wrapped in full carbon fiber bodywork. It's crowned by a power activated triple-layer fabric top that cycles in just 14 seconds. When it's not in use, this lightweight lid tucks away neatly under a rigid tonneau cover that, like the decklid, has been both aerodynamically and aesthetically optimized for the Volante application.
Like the Vanquish coupe, the new Volante rides on the latest "gen4" iteration of the Aston's VH (Vertical Horizontal) platform architecture. Now enhanced with various composite reinforcing elements that add strength and stiffness, this aluminum-intensive foundation endows the Vanquish Volante with 14 percent greater torsional rigidity than the DBS Volante. In addition to standard Dynamic Stability Control, Positive Torque Control and Aston Martin's tri-mode (Normal/Sport/Track) Adaptive Damping System, the new Volante further benefits from unique suspension tuning that allows it to fully match the driving character of the Vantage coupe. The final link to the tarmac is supplied by sticky Pirelli P Zero tires -- 255/35 front and 305/30 rear -- on 20-inch light-alloy wheels.
Motivation for the Volante comes from the naturally aspirated AM11 5.9-liter V12 that makes 565 horsepower and 457 lb-ft of torque. As in the Vanquish coupe, it drives the wheels through a Touchtronic2 6-speed automatic transmission and allows the 4,940-lb Volante to dispatch a 0-62 mph sprint in just 4.1 seconds on its way to a top speed of 183 mph. Larger but super-light Brembo Carbon Ceramic Matrix brakes ensure a bounty of fade-free stopping power while significantly reducing unsprung weight.
The cabin treatment of the 2+2 Vanquish Volante is pretty much carried from the Vanquish coupe and features full-grain Luxmil leather with optional quilting, an Alcantara headliner, capacitive glass buttons and satin chrome trim. Deeply contoured power front buckets are matched with decidedly diminutive rear perches, but the new Vanquish Volante's trunk capacity is 50 percent greater than the DBS Volante's. Among the car's numerous luxury standards are a 1,000-watt Bang & Olufsen BeoSound premium audio package and Garmin Satellite Navigation.
Expected to go on sale here starting early next year, the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante will start at $297,995 plus a $2,825 gas guzzler tax.
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