Aston Martin DB9 Volante convertible (2004-2016)
"The Aston Martin DB9 Volante is elegant, fast and utterly entertaining to drive."
- Simple, fast roof operation
- Stunning exterior design
- Intuitive handling
- Expensive to run
- Limited luggage space
- Lacks up-to-date infotainment
The Aston Martin DB9 Volante is the iconic British company’s rival to the Bentley Continental GTC and the Mercedes SL. Its elegant lines follow the traditional Aston Martin profile, despite being 60% new for this model. Its soft-top folding roof is both simple to operate and allows the DB9 to look its absolute best.
The sophisticated style is only part of the story, as the Volante also has a superbly crafted interior, with hand-stitched leather throughout. Then there's the powerful V12 engine and six-speed paddle-shift gearbox, which give the DB9 supercar performance and a satisfying, classic engine rumble.
MPG, running costs & CO2
The DB9 Volante can manage only 19.8mpg fuel economy, but many owners won't buy this car as a daily commuter, making this figure perfectly acceptable. It's easily beaten by the Mercedes SL65 AMG's 28.5mpg – and that car is faster and more powerful.
The DB9's 333g/km CO2 emissons are actually better than the Bentley Continental GTC's 384g/km, but fall quite far behind the Mercedes' 231g/km, landing the Aston right at the top of the road tax pyramid for an annual bill of £505.
Engines, drive & performance
The DB9 Volante is one of the best convertibles to drive – or even just to ride in. The engine sounds even better than in the DB9 coupe, as you can lower the roof for a more exciting experience.
The 6.0-litre V12 produces a massive 510bhp and delivers an instant surge of power whenever you press the accelerator. Adjustable suspension makes for a comfortable ride, while the light steering makes traffic easy to negotiate. Selecting the firmer Sports or Track settings gives the Volante supreme agility for a car of its size.
The standard 20-inch alloys provide lots of grip, so you can head into corners very quickly and easily control your speed with the brilliant brakes. This predictability and strong performance boosts your confidence at the wheel when driving quickly. And the comfortable leather seats and quiet interior – when the roof is up – make it nearly as enjoyable at slower speeds.
Interior & comfort
The DB9 Volante is big on comfort, with better materials used inside than ever before. Leather covers the doors, seats, dashboard and steering wheel, with delicate hand-stitching lining the doors and seats for a pleasingly detailed look.
The front seats are extremely comfortable, but they aren’t so soft that you sink into them like an old armchair – they’re well bolstered, holding you in place around corners. The ride around town is excellent and the DB9 is easy to drive thanks to relatively good all-round vision and responsive steering. It’s also easy to park, thanks to a reversing camera being fitted as standard.
Practicality & boot space
The Volante has the smallest boot in its class, at 187 litres compared to the DB9 coupe's 227 litres. The Mercedes SL65 AMG has a whopping 504-litre load space, as well as the benefit of a folding metal hardtop instead of the DB9's soft-top.
The Bentley Continental GTC – the Volante’s other key rival – also has a much bigger boot, at 385 litres. The Bentley also has better rear seats – the DB9’s aren't really big enough for adults. The dash is well laid-out, though, and the roof takes a swift 14 seconds to open or close at speeds up to 30mph.
Reliability & safety
The latest DB9 Volante is more of an evolution than an all-new model. Its underpinnings – the suspension, brakes and chassis – have all been re-engineered with the latest technology. The engine has also been given more power than before.
Aston Martin uses reputable suppliers for its components, such as world-famous Italian brand Brembo for its brakes, German firm ZF for its gearboxes and Pirelli or Bridgestone for tyres. Warranty is two years with unlimited mileage, but can be extended up to 10 years at additional cost.
Price, value for money & options
The Volante is a luxury product and is priced accordingly. Yet it does offer an experience that none of its rivals can directly replicate. The Mercedes SL65 AMG costs a fair amount more, but should sway many buyers with its extra space and more up-to-date technology.
While automatic wipers and a reversing camera are standard on the DB9, the Bluetooth phone connection can't stream music – something even a Ford Fiesta can manage these days. All the right hardware is there for a performance GT car, though: lightweight aluminium construction, strong carbon-ceramic brakes and a powerful engine. It’s only let down by the dated technology, but it'll still be the emotional choice for some because of the brand’s heritage and ultra-stylish image.