It’s June: the time when sunrise and sunset are furthest apart. Our day begins about three hours after sunrise, it’s the eighth hour and the thermometer is already scraping 25 degrees. Looking out of the window and opening it makes us want to cool down a bit.
Luckily for us, an Aston Martin DBS Volante was freshly delivered the day before. With towels and enough change in our luggage for two scoops of ice cream, we head for the underground car park. In the lift, the anticipation of the cold start of the V12 engine is already spreading. In my 26 years of life, this is the first time I’ve been allowed to drive more than a 10-cylinder engine, and it’s all happening in 2023. Sometimes it feels good to be unreasonable.
Especially when you press the start button in the centre console of the DBS and are already thrilled by the starter. The V12 then literally shoots into life, screams briefly, hums. The reverberation of the underground car park does the rest.
Since the introduction of the Volante in 2019, you can enjoy this symphony even more, because you can hear much more of the engine and exhaust system noises due to the omission of the roof. Still in the underground car park, I open the roof, whereupon a neighbour also enters the underground car park and tries to tell me something. But the V12 effortlessly trumps his voice. His thumb gesture makes me understand what he’s getting at. Grinning and nodding slightly, I make him aware that I agree with him.
The desire for a strawberry/chocolate ice cream is stagnating a little, but the desire for a few country roads is increasing. So the goal is set, only the way to get there is not quite there yet. Would it be too unreasonable to take the diversions over the mountains? Perhaps. I decide to do it anyway.
Almost 6 years ago, Aston Martin set itself the task of launching the most attractive Volante in the company’s history. The result: a stylish yet aggressive appearance. The DBS Volante represents an evolutionary development of the aerodynamic masterpiece of its coupé counterpart. The airflow is optimally controlled via the surface.
The front splitter and front elements work in harmony to direct the airflow under the vehicle. This not only results in noticeable downforce, but also optimises cooling by directing air specifically to the front brake system. In addition, the repositioned side trim helps to draw in more air from the front wheel arch. This reduces lift and increases stability even at speeds beyond 320 km/h.
One point nine tons?
Yes, the Aston Martin DBS Volante is certainly no lightweight, because with its 1900 kilograms it weighs almost 170 kg more than the Coupé. But you don’t have to worry about the power-to-weight ratio with 725 hp. Especially not when the V12 biturbo engine sends its 900 Newton metres towards the rear axle already at 1800 revolutions. When the tyres are cold and/or the throttle is heavy, however, the traction control light is a constant companion on the instrument panel. By holding down the ESP button, you can of course say goodbye to it.
After about 30 minutes, we reach the first hills and curves of the Alpine foothills. We are somewhere between Bad Tölz and the Kochelsee. Traditionally, this is the time to bring the V12 power unit to life. Whereby it quickly becomes apparent that the classic country road speed seems almost tiring on the Aston. The sprint out of towns to 100 km/h is easy for the Briton. Good timing coupled with a high dose of self-control is required to avoid exceeding the speed limit. Because after the 3.6 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h, only a little over 6 seconds separate us from the 200 km/h limit. We mentally postpone the topic to the A95 motorway towards Munich, which we will drive on later. Now it’s time for a quick fill-up before the mountains. 2.28 for a litre of Super Plus, 78 litres of fuel, the petrol station attendant says thank you.
“In the back of my mind, however, the grin of the petrol station owner is also burnt in.”
Once in the mountains, you notice very little of the Brit’s high weight. Thanks to the excellent weight distribution of 50:50, the Briton quickly builds trust with the rider. It is unbelievable how lightly and yet brutely the engine unleashes its power. The brakes are easy to apply even on the last bends before the pass and show no signs of fatigue. The steering is so precise that even tight, sharp bends are no problem for the DBS. The sound when accelerating out of those bends builds up anticipation for the next bends. A vicious circle. However, the grin of the petrol station owner is also etched in the back of my mind. Time to enjoy the mountains and nature and put the DBS Volante in the most comfortable setting. In doing so, the Aston feels equally at home. The comfortable seats in the already luxurious interior make the 725PS Brit completely suitable for everyday use. The only drawback: the somewhat outdated infotainment system, familiar from earlier Mercedes models. But let’s be honest – we couldn’t care less.
Twelve cylinders and two scoops of ice cream.
We reach our turning point, from here the bends go downhill again and on a short stretch of motorway back to Munich. From now on, we get closer and closer to the two scoops of ice cream at Il Gelato Italiano in Grünwald. Time to finally feel the full power of the V12. Because as mentioned at the beginning, the motorway is the only place to really challenge the engine of the Aston Martin. We take the Eschenlohe slip road towards Munich and shift down a few gears – six gears to be exact. What the Brit delivers in second gear at full load is simply incredible. The 725 hp and 900 Newton metres provide brute propulsion, and it is almost frightening how lightly the Briton makes metres.
It’s 5:30 p.m. sharp when we order a scoop of chocolate ice cream and a scoop of strawberry ice cream from Luca. Time to look at the Aston Martin with a little melancholy over a wafer of ice cream. On the one hand because my time with the DBS Volante will be over tomorrow, on the other hand because Aston Martin recently announced that they will also equip future models with hybrid and electric motors. The DBS Volante also got its final special model with the DBS 770. The question remains whether future models will be as emotionally charged as a V12 DBS? Maybe.
Aston Martin DBS Volante
Engine: 5,2L V12 Turbo
Power: 725 PS @ 1,800 rpm
Weight: 1900 kg
Accleration: 0-100 km/h in 3.6 s
Vmax: 340 km/h max.