Don’t expect such compromises with the Vanquish Volante, Aston claims. Its latest fourth-generation VH architecture makes it the stiffest open-top car Aston has ever produced, and with some fine-tuning to the suspension is said to offer the same handling characteristics as the Vanquish coupé. Indeed, Aston’s most recent convertible, DB9 Volante, was greatly improved in the stiffness stakes, boding well for the Vanquish.
The addition of a multi-layer fabric lightweight roof adds just 9kg at the kerb, a figure that’s said to lead to no performance penalty to the Volante next to the Vanquish coupé, the two sharing the same 0-62mph time of 4.1sec and 183mph top speed.
The clever construction and storage of the roof means boot space is reduced by 89 litres of the Vanquish coupé in the Volante, and its 279-litre figure is the same with the roof up or down. That figure is also 50 percent greater than the DBS Volante.
Once you’ve stopped admiring the looks outside, head inside to push that still gorgeous glass key into the centre console and enjoy the deep, bassy growl of the V12 starting up; a noise best enjoyed, of course, with the roof down.
The glass key is one of the highlights of the interior, which mirrors that of the Vanquish. The design of the centre console mimics a waterfall; it’s certainly attractive, but it doesn’t quite scream two hundred thousand pounds and is one area where criticism of this current generation of Astons starting to feel their age is valid.
Still, the controls are nicely laid out on the centre console and a touch of drama comes from the infotainment screen coming out of the top of it. Here’s where you’ll find the nav, audio controls and phone connectivity in a system that gets the basics right rather than leaves you with an upmarket Apple-style experience.
As for the rest of the standard equipment, the Vanquish Volante gets parking sensors, a reversing camera, cruise control, heated and electrically adjustable front seats, climate control, a Cobra tracking system and a 1000W Bang & Olufsen stereo system included, alongside swathes of leather and chrome, and an Alcantara roof headlining.
You sit low to the ground and feel wrapped into the car with the high beltline and high centre stack. Visibility all-round is good for a car of its size and bodystyle, something obviously improved with the roof down.
Out on the road, and it’s immediately obvious how much stiffness has improved, particularly at higher speeds on the wide, smooth Californian roads we tested the Vanquish Volante on. That 14 percent increase in torsional rigidity over the DBS Volante is partly down to carbonfibre being bonded into the rear section of the VH architecture, and aerospace technology being used in bonding techniques.
Around town on more broken, higher-frequency surfaces, the tell-tale signs of scuttle shake are there with a wobbly rear-view mirror, for example. You’d never describe it as uncomfortable, but knowing the state of Britain’s roads then you do wonder if the problem will be amplified here.
Still, judging the car as we found it, the Vanquish Volante, roof up or down, is a car that rides very well for a big open-top convertible.
While the ride is good, the handling doesn’t reach the same heights. It’s a very neutral-handling car that’s wholly predictable. But that’s where the issue lies; these traits make it lack any real involvement, in the steering as well as the handling.