What is it like on the inside?
This car is really good at being a cabrio. Sorry, Volante. There’s no sense at all that the soft-top version is any kind of afterthought or poor relation to the coupe, which you do feel when you get in say, a Huracan Spyder or R8 Spyder, with their compromised driving positions and cramped cabins.
For a kick-off, the airflow has been managed expertly, and not just to cool the V12 and salvage some downforce. The air that escapes the hungry V12 is channelled politely overhead, so you can have a conversation as you barrel along the motorway, roof down, and whisper sweet nothings once the fabric top has motored into place.
It takes 16 seconds and works at up to 30mph. Or when you’re not even in the car – just plip the key to operate the top. It’s all been very well sussed out, and exquisitely assembled. Which you’d hope, for a quarter-million quid. This Tango’d, carbon’d test car? Three hundred grand. Do be careful with the carbon fibre on the options list, 007.
Foibles? Yep. The touch-sensitive dashboard is just as infuriatingly fiddly as in the (much cheaper) DB11, and visibility of all four corners is hopeless, not to mention the side-view past the huge door mirrors. The Mercedes-sourced infotainment may look a tad dated compared to the latest pin-sharp graphics in, erm, a Mercedes A-Class, but there’s a clever irony to this.
See, when Mercedes bought into Aston Martin, it wasn’t just the AMG V8 for the Vantage that the Brits got out of the deal. Aston also inherited Mercedes’ infotainment, complete with clickwheel operation. Mercedes flogged off its wares and set about building a new interface for its current models, which uses a touchpad. And you know what? It’s worse. Trickier to operate, and less logically laid out. What the Astons lose in pixel resolution, they gain in usability. So if anyone tells you that the DBS Volante ‘just has an old Benz computer inside it’, remind them it’s actually easier to operate than the new Merc gear. Handy, when you’ve got 715bhp to consider.
One more thing, Aston. Your leather odour is glorious. Build quality is superb. But why must the key for the DBS be the size and weight of a machine gun magazine, and why is there nowhere to store it in the car? Driving a cabrio everyone is going to be looking at with an unsightly bulge in one’s pocket is not a good look.