Weekend Wheels: Is Aston Martin's new DBS convertible the world's fastest roadster?

Ponder this bijou factoid for a second: The top speed of Aston Martin’s new, breathtakingly gorgeous, 715 horsepower DBS Superleggera Volante convertible is 211 mph. 

That in itself is mightily impressive. If my math is correct, at that velocity the thundering Aston is covering the entire length of a football field in a hair over one second. 

But what’s really impressive is Aston Martin’s claim that the new flagship DBS can attain this v-max with its curvy canvas top lowered. That’s correct: 211 mph, top down.

As much as I wanted to verify Aston’s claim during my adrenaline-charged week with this $335,000 British bundle of turbocharged joy, alas, fear of an interaction with Florida’s finest highway patrollers kept my right foot in check.

But even at 120 mph with the top down — obviously on a private closed road with professional supervision, officer — piloting this beast is a hair-raising, high-decibel, tire-roaring, follicle-loosening experience. I couldn’t imagine what it’d be like with another 91 mph on the speedo.

As an aside, if anyone finds a dark blue baseball cap anywhere along I-75 — sadly I can’t remember the exact location where it blew off — please kindly return it.

Of course, no one in their right mind would drive the Aston at 211mph topless. The point is, if you wanted to, you could. Here, after all, is the fastest soft-top in Aston Martin’s 107-year history, and arguably the world’s fastest 2+2 roadster. 

Part of what makes it the fastest is also what makes this car so very special: its mighty, hand-built 5.2-liter twin-turbo V12 nuclear reactor under that mile-long hood.

It is one amazing piece of engineering. Capable of delivering its massive 664 lb-ft of torque from just 1,800 rpm, it can catapult the Aston from standstill to 60mph in a mere 3.5 seconds. 

Yet with supercars rapidly turning to electric power to deliver astonishing performance, I feel the days of big, 12-cylinder engines are numbered. Think of this DBS as one spectacular last hurrah.

And spectacular it is. See it in all its carbon fiber glory, with those curves, that trademark grille opening, and huge, bulging rear fenders — it’s a shape that could make grown men weep. This is nothing less than automotive art.

While the car shares its super-strong aluminum chassis with the lesser DB11, every one of its carbon fiber body panels is new to the DBS. And the DBS is unique in that it is only offered with the V12, whereas in the DB11 convertible you have to make do with a twin-turbo V8. 

Hold down a center console switch and that fabric roof powers back in just 15 seconds, and at speeds up to 30 mph. Inside, you sit low in body-gripping sports seats feeling nicely protected by that raked-back windshield and high door-tops.

Behind you there are rear seats, though minuscule legroom means no human adult form could sit back there. Small kids or pets, maybe. Parading beauty queens perched on the rear deck, definitely. Just watch the high heels on the lovely perforated leather. 

A push of the start button ignites the big V12, delivering a deep, hairy-chested “Whoomph!” from the tailpipes. The soundtrack of this engine is just wonderful. Everything from a distant hum to full-blown snap, crackle and pop when Sport or Sport+ is selected. This is an engine with more voices than a barbershop quartet.

Yet what I love most about this engine is its duality. It’s supremely happy just burbling around town in a high gear. But pull back on the right paddle shifter, the eight-speed ZF automatic kicks down with the immediacy of a light switch, and the car catapults toward the horizon.

Despite the Superleggera badging — it means Superlight in Italian — this open-top DBS tips the scales at a hefty 4,400 pounds. Not that this seems to dull the performance; its thrust is simply explosive, demonic and unrelenting. 

Yes, this DBS Superleggera Volante is a good $80,000 pricier than a DB11 Volante. But if you want the best-of-the-best, with proper V12 power, why settle for less? 

 

To test drive the 2020 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante, ask the folks nicely at Aston Martin of Tampa Bay, in Pinellas Park.