The first thing anybody says about the Aston Martin DB11 is: “Oh! It’s such a beautiful car.”
And it is. The softly rounded clamshell hood, grinning dark grille, and a rear that’s like a comet flaming across the sky combine to make this arguably the most visually stunning coupe on the market.
It has long been this way. Ever since Aston Martin owner David Brown launched the DB1 70 years ago, half of all Aston Martins built have belonged to the DB family. In fact, led by the alluring DB11 line, Aston Martin last year posted its first profit in eight years, topping 5,000 cars sold globally for the first time since 2008.
“Volante” is Aston Martin’s way of saying “convertible”, and it’s the update to the good-looking DB11 Coupe that debuted last year. It’s the natural next step for Aston Martin lovers looking for a summer ride. The car is as beautiful as you could hope, with angles that beg to be driven at speed. It has an interior that’s as premium as a private jet, with myriad exotic-wood options for the wide, swooping dashboard and bolstered seats stuffed under thick leather. Everything within eyesight says “rich”.
But that’s with the top down. With the top up, you’re dealing with a different animal. The car is still nice, of course, but raising the canvas top over those infinitesimal rear seats and stretching it across the car’s wide, low body compromises every line the brand has worked so hard to develop and protect. I don’t recommend it.
Suddenly, the interior, which seemed relaxed when it was open to the breezy air, seems stressfully busy. Some of this issue is inherent in the design of the car, which comprises too many flippant details, and some is optional, such as the odd colour pairings in the one I drove. That Volante had endless stitching and layering and cut-outs in the leather seats — rows and rows of these gnat-like annoyances, if you can imagine — that clashed miserably with the blue matte-wood lining the doors. Perhaps you can choose a more muted option on yours, and I recommend you do. Ten minutes inside felt as if I had walked in on a karaoke bar in full swing: stimuli overload. There’s also something not quite right with the power adjusting of the seats.