2014 Aston Martin DB9 Volante

With an exquisite cabin, a mellifluous V12 motor and styling that will still turn heads in 2050, the Aston Martin DB9 Volante is a highly desirable drop-top grand tourer. For the previous model year, the DB9 Volante (along with its coupe sibling) received a thorough update that includes freshened styling, a slightly revised interior and a more powerful motor.

Although the basic look of the exterior, including its classic proportions and graceful stance, remained unchanged as part of the refresh, there are several new details to the latest drop-top DB9 apart from its predecessor. The headlights are more angular and swept-back than before, while the lower front fascia gets a streamlined single-intake design.

From the side, the DB9 Volante looks more aerodynamic, though the profile remains the same as any modern Aston Martin GT. At the rear, an integrated spoiler improves aerodynamics. Some design details have made their way down from the company's One-77 flagship, like the five-vane front grille.

Underneath its hood, DB9 Volante boasts the latest version of Aston Martin's proven 5.9-liter V12 engine. Essentially a detuned version of the Vanquish supercar's mill, the DB9's unit churns out 510 horsepower along with 457 lb-ft of torque. The zero-to-sixty mph sprint is achieved in the mid-four-second range, which is roughly a second behind the pace of some competing models.

The engine mates exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission that shifts smoothly but more slowly than the dual clutch boxes used by many of the DB9's rivals. Aston Martin recently eliminated the more sporting manual transmission option; those looking for a proper three-pedal gearbox will have to settle for the V8 Vantage Roadster.

The DB9 Volante continues to utilize Aston Martin's flexible and lightweight "Vertical/Horizontal" architecture, which is constructed from aluminum. The suspension was recently optimized for improved handling and includes an active damping system with Comfort and Sport modes. Even with the latter engaged, the ride remains compliant and there's more body roll than would be found in a true sports car. However, the handling is pleasantly responsive overall.

Inside, the DB9 Volante is simply sumptuous, with soft leather, alloy trim and other high-quality materials covering nearly every surface. The tasteful dashboard layout hasn't changed much since the car's introduction, although the climate and entertainment system controls were recently redesigned for greater ease of use. A wide variety of different leather, wood and carbon fiber options can be specified, and color choices are also nearly infinite. There's plenty of room for the driver and passenger up front, but the rear seats are for extremely small children only.

Standard and Optional Features
Standard features include leather upholstery, a navigation system, a premium AM/FM/CD sound system with AUX and USB input jacks, heated front seats, front and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth connectivity, a trunk-mounted umbrella, xenon headlights and 19-inch alloy wheels.

Besides an available Bang & Olufsen surround-sound system, there's also a small galaxy of exterior and interior color schemes and interior trim options to choose from.

Occupant Safety
All Aston Martin DB9 Volante models come standard with dual front, dual side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and electronic brakeforce distribution.

Key Competitors
Those looking for an eye-catching exotic convertible with a coddling interior and docile around-town driving dynamics should consider alternatives to the DB9 Volante like the Bentley Continental GTC, Maserati GranTurismo Convertible and the Audi R8 V10 Spyder.