ASTON MARTIN DB9 VOLANTE
This is more than just an attractive car: It’s the rarest of things: a convertible that’s at least as good looking as the coupe on which it’s based. More astonishing still, its looks aren’t even ruined when the fabric roof is up. So there you have it: The Volante is the best-looking convertible on the market.
But that’s not quite enough, is it? However much something is designed as a fashion statement, if it doesn’t fulfill its original purpose, it’s not worth having. Imagine a Patek Philippe that didn’t keep time or a Paul Smith suit that wasn’t comfortable to wear. Ultimately, there has to be some substance to go with the style. And with the DB9 Volante, there is.
Under the aluminum hood is the same 6.0-liter, 444-horsepower V-12 engine used in the coupe, with a choice of the Italian-made Graziano six-speed manual (similar to that used in the Ferrari 575M) or ZF’s smooth 6HB26 six-speed automatic with paddle-shift control that artfully blips the throttle on downshifts. Both transmissions are mounted between the rear wheels to help ensure near-perfect weight distribution.
The DB9’s extruded-aluminum spaceframe has an inner beauty all its own. The windshield surround is cast aluminum, and magnesium is used for the steering-column assembly and door inners. The engine/ transmission structure is tied to the central tub by way of cast-aluminum subframes that also carry the forged-aluminum double-wishbone suspension arms and the aluminum-bodied shocks. The steering rack is ZF and mounted ahead of the front axle line to give better control under extreme steering loads and heavy braking. The 19-inch alloy wheels are flow-formed rather than cast, reportedly saving a couple pounds per wheel in unsprung mass.
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