Aston Martin DBS Superleggera is the marque’s latest lean, mean, 200mph contender
Can you really use a supercar every single day? Aston Martin seems to think so. The new Volante version of their flagship DBS Superleggera is not a car for shrinking violets. Removing the roof from their flagship super GT, capable of well over 200mph and with a vast V12 and crackling exhaust system, was an engineering challenge. The end result is totally uncompromising, just as aggressively elegant as its hard-topped sibling, just as fast and – thanks to the swift-operating roof – somewhat louder and even more ’look-at-me’.
Despite this raw potential and innate ability to put the driver at centre stage, the Volante is extremely, intoxicatingly useable. From the earliest days of ultra-high-performance cars intended for the road, the first quality to be sacrificed was convenience. The original supercars were low, loud, prone to overheating and thirsty for constant mechanical love and attention. And yet they became some of the most coveted automobiles ever made, defining a genre that continues to hold the attention of potential owners and dreaming aspirants.
Along the way, the performance curve has ramped ever upwards. Alongside it, however, the practicality aspect has also shot off the chart. Extreme automotive power can now be tamed like never before, with the levels of performance associated with 70s supercars now available to saloons and estate cars, whilst the upper echelons of the market has moved off the scale. The Superleggera Volante joins the increasingly sizeable 200mph club, but it’s the effortless quality of the Aston’s ride and refinement at any speed that sets it apart from its forebears.
The DBS was always intended to be faster, twitchier and more responsive than other Astons in the range like the Vantage and DB11; it is tuned to make a direct, unfiltered connection with the driver. That makes it rather like a giant go-kart, albeit one that is crafted and trimmed to personalised perfection. The adjustable ride quality can glide like a limousine or firm up to race-car levels of body control. Other elements are just as useful, like the two rear seats that’ll house short adults at a push. There is a (small) boot and the Volante even offers acceptable levels of fuel economy once you’re cruising relatively gently on the open road.
Still, in convertible form this car remains a massive flex, to use the contemporary parlance. It might be easy to drive, but it’s also impossible to use it in any capacity without drawing attention to yourself. In Sport+ mode, the tight gearing and even more unrestrained exhaust noise transform the big Aston Martin into a lurching, straining, snarling beast that will turn heads and invite comment, not all of it complimentary. Such are the times we live in. Yet for deep-pocketed exhibitionists who like long taking journeys, making loud noises and exploring high speeds, there is probably not a car to match it. §