In-depth reviews

Aston Martin DBS Volante (2007-2012) review

Discounting the £1.4m limited-run One-77, the DBS Volante is the pinnacle of Aston's range

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

  • Precise handing, snarling exhaust, bold styling
  • Luggage space, price tag, efficiency

Costing around £10,000 more than the DBS Coupe (and £52,000 more than the DB9 Volante), the DBS Volante is a fully-blown convertible supercar that competes with the like of the Ferrari California and Bentley GTC Supersports. Based on the same platform as the DB9, the DBS gets the same 6.0-litre V12, but with 40bhp more, as well as carbon-fibre body panels to save weight. The styling has been pumped up with a series of slashes and vents and a sportier exhaust turns the volume up to maximum.

Engines, performance and drive

The 6.0-litre V12 engine has been around for a while now, but its never been more potent. With 510bhp the DBS covers 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds and can top 190mph flat-out - that puts it deep into supercar territory. Two-mode adjustable dampers give the car a dual personality, although a third mode, somewhere in the middle for fast B-roads, wouldn't go a miss. Available with six-speed auto and manual gearboxes, unlike the auto-only DB9 Volante, the DBS is fast and exciting to drive - but forgiving enough to drive every day.

MPG, CO2 and Running Costs

With fuel economy of 17.3mpg for the manual and 18.2 for the auto, plus CO2 emissions of 388g/km for the manual and 367g/km for the auto a DBS is about as expensive as it get to tax and insure. If damaged the carbon-fibre body panels cost a fortune to repair and servicing costs will be high. But for those who can afford it, these are things that are unlikely to phase them.

Interior, design and technology

The DBS Volante is about as extrovert as Aston Martins get. It takes the DB9's elegant line and adds loads of extra aggression with a road-scraping bodykit, vents in the bonnets and bigger wheels. The interior beautifully finished in leather and Alcantara, while there's the option of Kevlar bucket seats for keen drivers. The DBS Carbon Edition, which is offered much like a separate trim level can be ordered in flame orange and gets flashes of carbon trim inside and out.

Practicality, comfort and boot space

A strictly two-seater convertible supercar won't be top of you list if practicality is important - but the DBS makes the most of the space available. The roof mechanism limits boot space to 135-litres - compared to 186-litres in the coupe. The roof takes 18 seconds to remove and can be operated up to 30mph, and when it's in place refinement is almost on a par with the coupe.

Reliability and Safety

Although the V12 engine is relatively old technology, it's shared with the DB9, Virage and V12 Vantage so is tried and tested and unlikely to develop any major faults. Like the DB9 and Virage, the DBS Volante hasn't been crash-tested by Euro NCAP, but it comes with airbags and ESP as standard. There's pop-up roll over hoops too which deploy in the event of an accident. As with all exotic cars of this type, regular use and careful maintenance is a must.

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