It’s hard for a car to turn heads in Dubai. This city has no shortage of supercars on its streets.
To achieve a double-take in the Marina you need something truly special. And orange. An orange paint job always helps.
The other thing that helps is switching the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante on. No turning of keys any more in supercars. Instead you press your polished resin totem into the slot marked ‘engine’ and the 5.2 litre V12 engine roars into life, alerting anyone within a 100 mile radius that you’re on your way out.
The engine noise is a feature that is fun the first few times you do it, but in the past it’s made us wince as we’ve gone out late at night, inevitably waking the neighbours. Aston Martin have thought of that though, and the Volante now comes with a low-key ‘quiet start’ mode. A very smart touch that shows real attention to detail.
This Aston is the second to carry the Volante name. Turning the brand’s flagship DBS Superleggera into a convertible could have been risky. Would the lack of roof result in reduced stability or hamper the driving performance?
The short answer is no. Even among other Aston Martins, it really does feel special. To do that, to stand out from an already stellar line up of beautifully designed and built sports cars takes something else, something rare. To steal a phrase from Navy Seal turned ultramarathon runner and author David Goggins, the Superleggera Volante is uncommon among uncommon cars.
Aston said their primary mission had been to “retain the coupe’s powerful dynamics, aggressive poise and astonishing performance.”
The important word there is aggression. Aggressive is how this car looks and feels. It is undoubtedly beautiful but there are design details that give it a sense of menace. The enormous air scoops that straddle the front bumper, the vents carved into the bonnet, the deeper side strakes. You look at it and think: I would not like to fight this car.
The resulting aerodynamic improvements from these design features range from reducing lift at high speed to increasing downforce during acceleration. It’s not surprising to learn then that the Volante is fast (0-100kph in 3.6 sec and a top speed of 211mph). What is surprising is that it’s not a hard car to drive at speed.
The Volante’s software reads the conditions of the road and will ensure you’re in the right gear at the right time. In short, it flatters you as a driver. Still, it feels grounded and responsive, even when pushed.
Switch from GT to Sport mode and things start to get louder. Switch again to Sport Plus and you really are into ‘turning it up to 11’ territory.
In that mode, with the top down, this is a deliriously fun car to drive. And if we can get something out of it, as occasional weekend drivers, imagine what it will do in the hands of a serious driver.