Monday, August 17, 2009

2010 Aston Martin DBS Volante

An amalgamation of remarkable contrasts, precisely juxtaposed to form something absolutely extraordinary, the Aston Martin DBS Volante both intrigues and enthralls in a way no other car I’ve experienced can.

Depressing the elegant and distinctive crystalline starter button unleashes an unexpectedly vicious bark from the exhaust system. Remarkably, while the sound is the unmistakable aural signature of a high performance car, the resonant burble the engine settles into exudes sophistication wholly evocative of the handcrafted consideration that went into its creation.

And frankly, the same can be said about every other aspect of the car.

On the one hand, every aspect of the DBS is set up to accommodate high-speed operation. On the other, it is all cloaked in a graciousness not typically associated with that purpose. The seats are a perfect example; deeply bolstered and supportive, seemingly straight out of a racing car, they are finished in leather so supple a newborn’s face feels rough in comparison.

One marvels repeatedly at the way the trappings of luxury have been bent to serve the needs of the enthusiast driver. And underway, I quickly came to understand why this is so.

Said succinctly, this car flat flies y’all!

Snapping the throttle to the floor releases that bark again, except this time it’s more of an enthusiastic snarl as the 510-horsepower, hand-assembled 6.0-liter V12 begins to deliver its 420 ft-lbs of torque. And while you’re relishing the sound's beauty, affording it a mere four seconds of your attention, the Aston is streaking past 60 miles per hour with lots of room left on the tachometer before the shift from first to second comes due.

Here’s the rub though, as vicious as it sounds, the DBS Volante accrues speed so smoothly and routinely you have to take in the blurring of the scenery to truly get a sense of the magnitude of it. And when you do, it all comes together in one great rush.

Braking for the first corner, the firmness of the pedal, combined with the ease with which the modulation of braking forces can be accomplished, simultaneously astonishes and instills confidence. The huge carbon brakes enable the Aston considerable generosity; the Volante relinquishes speed just as quickly as it amasses it. Turning into the curve, you’re treated to near mathematical precision from the steering, accompanied by tremendous adhesion to the tarmac.

As the Aston slices into the corner – displaying inimitable stability and control – your smile, the one you previously thought was a broad one, now spreads to encompass your entire face as you peg the throttle coming off of the apex and go racing off toward the next opportunity to repeat the process.

Yeah, it really is that good.

But, on the other hand, when conditions inhibit that exercise, and your attention returns to the interior, everywhere you look the eye is rewarded with yet another outstanding example of beauty and attention to detail. In fact, the utter civility of it all will have you saying to your companion – even if you've never spoken this way in your life – “Do be a dear and activate the audio system, would you?”

Afforded but a brief drive in the Aston Martin, I can tell you it is an experience quite unlike any other. Lots of cars are fast and lots of cars are luxurious. And quite a few (most of them English, by the way) are both sinfully luxurious and fast. But the Aston Martin DBS Volante has the intoxicating blend of pace and grace absolutely optimally dialed in.

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