The Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Is Still Wonderful Without a Roof
Originally, many high-end automakers had independent coachbuilders design and assemble their cars’ bodies. And Aston Martin was no different. In fact, one of its most iconic cars, James Bond’s DB5, was designed via a licensed version of Italian coachbuilder Superleggera’s construction system. And to pay tribute, the company’s name appears on the British carmaker’s newest convertible, the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera.
Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante specs
In Italian, ‘Superleggera’ means ‘superlight.’ It’s also the name of Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera’s style of building cars. Originally, that was by hammering aluminum body panels over a framework of thin steel tubes. And it was, indeed, lighter than how other companies built their cars, RM Sotheby’s reports.
The 2020 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante isn’t built like that. But it is lighter than the standard Aston Martin DBS convertible, Motor Trend reports. That’s thanks to the extensive use of carbon fiber. The body panels are made of carbon fiber, Evo reports, bonded to an aluminum chassis. The driveshaft is also made of carbon fiber, and the brakes are carbon-ceramic.
Admittedly, with a dry curb weight of 4108 pounds, it’s not exactly feather-weight. The convertible top adds about 220 pounds over the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Coupe, Car and Driver reports. However, that doesn’t mean the DBS Superleggera Volante is slow.
Under the hood is 5.2-liter twin-turbocharged V12, putting out 715 hp and 664 lb-ft. With the 8-speed automatic, the rear-wheel-drive car can do 0-60 in 3.6 seconds. And top speed, with the roof up or down, is 211 mph. The Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante is officially the fastest convertible the British company has ever made.
And given its $329,100 base price, the convertible’s interior also has the requisite luxury touches. The two-tone leather-wrapped heated sport seats are hand-stitched, Motor1 reports, for one. There’s also a carbon-fiber center console, flat-bottomed steering wheel, and navigation. And, if you don’t care for the carbon look, you can also fit open-pore wood. There’s also an upgraded Bang & Olufsen audio system available, and custom luggage.
Driving the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante
The Smoking Tire’s Matt Farah recently spent some time with the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante. And overall, he came away impressed.
Normally, removing a front-engine car’s roof makes it less rigid, which is the opposite of the sports car ideal. However, even over bumpy roads, the DBS Superleggera Volante doesn’t show any appreciable loss in rigidity. Which is important, given the way the convertible carries speed.
There are cheaper cars that can match the Volante’s 0-60 time. Mostly because 715 hp going to just 2 wheels tends to limit traction. But the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante’s real trick is its 0-100 mph time of 6.7 seconds. This car makes passing effortless. To quote Roadshow, “it’s thrillingly fast.”
And it can handle itself at those elevated speeds. The steering is communicative, MT reports, and Aston Martin retuned the DBS’ suspension to compensate for the Volante’s added weight. It’s not the sharpest-handling convertible sports car. But as a GT to hustle down a back road, it’s very good.
However, it has some flaws. It’s smooth at low speeds, but downshifts are a bit delayed, even in the sportiest driving modes. You really do need to use the shift paddles in this car for the best performance.
In addition, for a $330k+ car, the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante’s interior can feel oddly cheap. The Mercedes-based infotainment is dated, and some of the switchgear doesn’t feel worthy of the sticker price. Also, although the front seats are comfortable and supportive, not all the interior leather is as premium-feeling. And the back seats aren’t really usable for anything besides cargo storage.
To be fair, the person buying a $330,000 convertible isn’t likely to be interested in value-for-money. In terms of presence and delivering sensations, the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante succeeds. But there are ways of getting close without paying quite so much.
If you’re after a fun-to-drive convertible, Porsche offers the 911 in both Targa and Cabriolet trims. The former is AWD only, but the latter can be ordered with RWD or AWD. A base Porsche 911 Cabriolet starts at $112k, but if you want a manual, you’ll need to step up to the more-powerful $127,900 S. But even with a few options, you’ll end up with something that costs less than half as much as the DBS Superleggera Volante. And, to paraphrase MT, it’s basically fault-less.
A closer competitor to the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante is the Bentley Continental GT Convertible. It’s not as sharp as the DBS Superleggera Volante, MT reports. Nor is its steering quite as good.
However, it’s arguably even better at the GT aspect than the Aston. To quote Car and Driver, “it’s absurdly easy to go very fast in the Continental GT and initially not even realize…so refined are the Bentley’s comportment and interior trappings.”
Plus, thanks to active anti-roll bars and its Panamera-based chassis, it’s a better-handling car than you’d expect, Automobile reports. Also, it offers a 626-hp 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V12 for about $90,000 less than the Volante. And for something a bit livelier, the 542-hp 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 model is about $20k cheaper, Car and Driver reports.
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