The Aston Martin DB12 Volante is drop-top gorgeous

Sportier than a Bentley Continental GTC, and more refined than the athletic Ferrari Roma Spider, it hits a certain sweet spot

Volante – it’s an odd name for a convertible, but, given that it translates from Italian as ‘flying’, it’s a wholly appropriate label for Aston Martin’s latest creation, the drop-top version of the DB12 ‘super tourer’.

With roots dating back to the mid-1960s, when Aston was in its prime David Brown (DB) era, the Volante name has stood the test of time. Since then, it’s been applied to all the British marque’s drop-top versions, from the DB5 to the latest model. “Creating open-air-performance machines for drivers has always held a special place in hearts across Aston Martin, dating back to 1965, with our introduction of the first Volante model, the legendary Short Chassis,” says Aston’s chief creative officer, Marek Reichman. “It has been, and always will be, a design beacon for us.”

After the arrival of the splendid DB12 coupé last year, the much-anticipated topless follow-up is equally blessed when it comes to beauty, perhaps even more so with the canvas roof neatly tucked behind its rear seats. When the Volante name was first conjured up, canvas folding roofs were almost the only option for top-down motoring, aside from slightly obscure alternatives such as the Porsche 911 Targa, which was more of an open-roofed coupé. In keeping with tradition, the DB12 Volante sticks to the proven formula, opting for good old canvas over a metal folding hard top.

Gazing at it parked outside the stately Aynhoe Park, near Oxfordshire, finished in Caribbean Blue, its presence is undeniable. Though the styling of some cars suffers when the roof comes off, the DB12 remains perfectly proportioned, with the open top accentuating the beautiful beltline that rises from the bonnet and over the rear haunches.

But the looks aren’t the only thing in jeopardy when the roof comes off. Historically, trimming off a significant proportion of metal would impact a car’s rigidity, creating something that’s more comfortable cruising the Côte d’Azur than flogging its way around a racing track. But, although most DB12 Volante owners will likely steer clear of supercar track days, they can rest assured that their topless steed will happily step up to the mark if required.

When it comes to performance, the DB12 Volante is 111kg heavier than its coupé counterpart, which leaves it around the 1.9-tonne mark on the road, with a full tank of fuel. Despite the extra mass, it’s barely noticeable on the road, with the hefty Mercedes AMG-derived twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine churning out 671bhp. That’s enough to hit 60mph in just 3.6 seconds and a supercar-worthy top speed of 202mph. With the usual spread of GT, Sport, Sport+ and Individual drive settings, GT is the default and well-suited to cruising around in comfort. Swivel the knurled switch in the middle of the centre console to Sport (and even Sport+) and the DB12 Volante becomes a firey force – a little too much for small UK country roads, but perfect for sweeping A-roads that allow for short bursts of spirited driving.

“That we have preserved this class-leading performance and handling is testament to the underlying brilliance of the DB12 platform and the work we have done to maintain the advantage of its superb powertrain and chassis in an open-top version,” says chief technical officer Roberto Fedeli. “No longer the ‘softer’ option, DB12 Volante offers the stimulation of a true sports car with the unique pleasure and satisfaction that only a convertible Aston Martin can deliver.”

Among its numerous rivals, the DB12 Volante would be Goldilocks’s choice. Sportier than a Bentley Continental GTC, but more refined and comfortable than the athletic Ferrari Roma Spider – it hits a certain sweet spot. Like its coupé sibling, the DB12 Volante’s new and improved interior makes this a very viable option for day-to-day living and longer, cross-country trips – few cars, after all, can match up to the DB12’s ability to switch so convincingly between comfortable cruises and sprints of supercar-like performance.

However, with Aston’s latest Volante being extremely capable, all that comes at a price. Weighing in at £199,500 from scratch, without any optional extras, it’s easy to spec the DB12 Volante close to £250,000 if you get trigger-happy on the configurator. Though there’s no denying that’s a hefty sum, can you really put a price on beauty?

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