Astonishing Astons Amaze And Delight
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
In May of this year I was lucky enough to have a brief drive of the new Aston Martin DB11 Volante. The experience left a lasting impression and I was keen to spend more time behind the wheel.
The call came to join the jolly PR team in Northumberland and all too soon I was sat in a press briefing in the historic Lord Crewe Arms in Blanchland, eager to get behind the wheel, the deserted roads of this delightful county awaiting.
Aston Martin is a company with big plans. The new South Wales factory will start producing the electric RapideE next year and in 2020 Aston’s first SUV will roll off the production line.
The established Gaydon factory will remain the focus of sports car production and there are also plans to revive the Lagonda name, these models majoring on luxury and comfort.
After a brief handover session, the DB11’s sonorous 510PS 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 was fired up and we were off. Our scenic route was to take us up to the Scottish border on a wide variety of roads, a chance to test the car’s mettle in all conditions.
A brief pause to lower the roof, an eight-layer fabric item which stows in just 14 seconds and at speeds of up to 31mph, and we were all set to enjoy a fine autumn drive.
A little later we stopped to fit the thoughtfully supplied wind deflector, an easy job and highly recommended for high speed cruising, removing as it does that back draft that so often spoils roof down motoring.
The DB11 Volante is a big car, but one that seems to shrink around you when you drive it. The driving position is spot on, with plenty of adjustment for taller drivers.
For the first few miles, comfort mode was the order of the day, the car effortlessly soaking up any road imperfections which threatened to disturb the calm of the cabin.
With confidence growing it was time to up the pace and with steering wheel mounted buttons, the suspension was tautened and the transmission set to a more aggressive mode.
From relaxing cruiser, the DB11 then turned into a snarling beast, our rapid progress now accompanied by a wonderful V8 soundtrack. Slower traffic was dispatched with a mere twitch of the right foot, the automatic transmission swapping cogs swiftly to give that extra boost of performance.
The brakes did a superb job of hauling the DB11 down from high speed and they remained fade-free despite punishing use.
With my driving companion having to cut short her day, I was able to enjoy the last few hours on my own. Without the need to consider the comfort of a passenger, I pushed the voluptuous Volante that little bit harder.
The miles rolled by all too quickly and as the sun began to set I found myself in a three car Aston convoy on the A68 near Hexham. The outer lane of the dual carriageway emptied before us, the evening rush hour drivers seemingly keen as mustard to watch the spectacle unfold... two DB11 Volantes and a new Vantage all jostling for position.
All good things must come to an end and all too soon I was handing the keys back, but not before I had time to take in the beautiful hand-crafted interior.
Seats more comfortable than a favourite armchair, the finest wood and leather and yet far from feeling old-school, the cabin feels quite contemporary.
All the tech and equipment that we have now come to expect is present and correct and none of it is intimidating to use.
There is an extensive options list of delightful goodies and I would suspect most buyers will be inclined to indulge. Few DB11 Volantes are therefore likely to leave the showrooms at the £159,900 list price.
The Aston Martin DB11 Volante is a very special car that a lucky few will get to enjoy. My time with the car was all too brief but it was time enough to know that the British manufacturer is on the right track.
It has created a car that is instantly recognisable as an Aston and one which can thrill one minute, yet soothe the next. It’s practical too with a reasonable sized boot and small rear seats for occasional passengers or extra luggage.
And as I wearily beat a bath back to my Yorkshire home, I had ample time to reflect on what had been an excellent day. Oh and that day also included time spent with the new Vantage, but that’s a story for another day...
Aston Martin DB11 Volante
List price: £159,900
510PS 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine
Eight-speed automatic gearbox
0-62mph in 4.1 seconds
0-100mph in 8.8 seconds
Top speed 187mph
Combined economy 28.3mpg
Emissions 230g/km CO2
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Astonishing Astons Amaze And Delight, 23rd October 2018, 16:26 PM