The Aston Martin DB11 Volante – for your eyes only…

The Aston Martin DB11 Volante is a convertible that leaves you both shaken and stirred. It owns the road like no other and offers 007 kudos wherever you drive it. Bond usually crashes his cars but this DB11 is so beautiful I just wanted to wrap it up in cotton wool. Top up, or top down, it looks gorgeous from every angle.

The 2018 version costs £144,900 and is powered by a 3982cc V8. Smashing. 0-60mph is dispatched in four glorious seconds and for what it’s worth, you could actually achieve 28.5mpg (combined). It’s May and summer is almost here. Come for a spin in the coolest British car on the road…

The latest Aston sports car may be large but underneath that eight-layer fabric roof is a tiny cabin. A pint-sized Mini convertible actually offers more space.

This successor to the DB9 uses dashboard equipment borrowed from Mercedes, although it’s well camouflaged behind the leather and lightweight composites that line the cockpit. Designers have kept a traditional feel but this is still the most futuristic Aston Martin ever built.

Raising the roof to beat a rain shower takes 15 seconds, driving at speeds of up to 30mph. It’s quite a performance to watch and unusually for a convertible, the DB11 still looks good roof up.

A summer’s drive across country becomes an occasion in the DB11. Enthusiasts will tell you this latest version is the best driver’s car to date – and how right they are.

Steering an older Aston wasn’t for the weak limbed. Just operating the clutch required the calf muscles of a rugby player. Now even the suspension has a range of settings to suit the road surface.

GT is the softest, perfect for high speed cruising. Sport+ unleashes the DB11’s wild side and transforms the car into something of a beast. A massive 503bhp requires nerve – you have been warned.

Under that sleek bonnet is a turbocharged engine that emits a constant burble. If you need extra power there is a faster V12 version too. However, in the upper echelons of the performance car market, this V8 will be more than enough for most people.

It is a fun and rewarding car to drive across country. Unlike the coupe version, the Volante has the added bonus of a folding hood too. There’s an excellent sound system onboard but the music from the huge exhaust pipes was more than enough for me.

There are few vehicles that will give you same experience as the DB11. The new Bentley Continental GT is one, or you might consider a Ferrari 488 Spider But if you want to feel like James Bond on your days off, this is the car.

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Sunday – Dear Santa…

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It obviously goes fast, very fast, and it definitely costs a small fortune – but what should you actually expect on Christmas Day when you open the front door and discover Santa has left an Aston Martin on the driveway?

Well, don’t imagine it includes a glovebox because the dashboard is so uncluttered, a storage space has been dispensed with. There’s no legroom in the rear – unless you are one of Santa’s very little helpers – and there’s nothing as vulgar as a head-up display either.

What the Volante does boast is a rather splendid brolly that matches the colour of the paintwork. If has its own secure fixing in the boot. The seats are definitely on the firm side of comfortable, despite multi-electrical adjustment. So you might need a fluffy cushion to stop numb bum on longer trips.

And if you don’t have a public profile, you certainly will have after driving a Vanquish for a few days. I parked slightly over the white line in Waitrose car park and you should have heard the fuss from miffed locals! That wouldn’t have happened in a Ford Fiesta I can tell you.

 

 

Saturday – Sound Pipes

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If you like the sound of silence in your motor, the Vanquish is not for you. And the convertible Volante is even more noisy, despite a hood that is so good it’s hard to tell from the inside that you are actually in a drop top.

It must be a boy thing because the sound of the Aston Martin’s exhaust pipes are sheer music to my ears. I’ve even forsaken Test Match Special on the DAB radio to marvel at every tweak of the accelerator.

On the other hand, Jessica thinks the car is too noisy. I think she’s in love with the white leather interior and uncluttered dashboard though – the centre of which isn’t to my taste and doesn’t look worthy of a car costing £222,000.

Today we drove down to the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, Hampshire. It was pretty empty with most people out Christmas shopping, so all the exhibitions were empty.

First stop? The James Bond exhibition. Lots of Aston Martins on display there, one with a Gatling gun on the boot lid. Could have done with that on the drive home to clear a way through the appalling Christmas traffic…