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First look: Aston drops DB9’s top

Smooth: Designer Henrik Fisker says he wanted the DB9 Volante’s looks to echo previous Aston Martin convertibles.

Aston Martin’s convertible stunner will debut at the Detroit show in January

2 Dec 2003

ASTON MARTIN has revealed the convertible DB9 Volante just weeks before its world premiere at the Detroit auto show in January.

The sixth new car from the Ford-owned British sports and luxury specialist in less than two-and-a-half years, it is also the 13th convertible in the company’s history, joining a line-up that stretches back to the DB2 of 1950 and includes the DB4, DB5, DB6, V8 and DB7.

The DB9 Volante will be built alongside the DB9 Coupe, which was launched at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

Both models will be hand-built at Aston Martin’s new Gaydon factory, with Australian deliveries of the coupe starting around April. The Volante should arrive around August with pricing tipped to rise as much as 10 per cent over the DB7 Volante, pitching it at about $360,000-$370,000.

It is expected that more than 2000 DB9 models will be sold worldwide next year, of which around 50 per cent will be the Volante model.

This will be the first convertible to use Aston Martin’s unique VH Platform (Vertical/Horizontal) Strategy and the first to be built at the recently opened Gaydon facility.

Like the DB9 Coupe, power for the Volante is supplied by Aston Martin’s low-emission, all-alloy, 48-valve, 6.0-litre, V12 engine. No performance figures have yet been issued by Aston Martin but the Volante will be able to achieve a 0-100km/h time of under five seconds and a top speed of more than 300km/h.

Like the DB9 Coupe, it will be offered with a six-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission.

CEO of Aston Martin Dr Ulrich Bez said: “From the outset of the DB9 program we knew we wanted a convertible model. So the Volante has been designed, engineered and built from the outset as a convertible – it’s not a coupe with just the top taken off.” Designed by Henrik Fisker, Aston Martin’s design director, who took styling cues from previous Aston Martin convertibles, the DB9 Volante has a fully retractable hood that is stored within the body of the car when closed, allowing the vehicle to retain a smooth and elegant profile.

"I wanted to ensure that the DB9 Volante was unmistakably an Aston Martin, but it had to retain all of the values of a convertible. Even with the hood raised it had to look beautiful," said Mr Fisker.

The hood is operated by the push of a button and retracts within just 17 seconds. When down, it folds behind a hard tonneau cover, which then electrically closes flush with the DB9’s bodywork. The DB9 Volante has a boot capacity of 197 litres (170 litres in the DB7) and has two rear seats.

In the event of an accident, sensors in the DB9 Volante detect the risk of a potential rollover and two roll-hoops are deployed from the rear seat headrests, while front seat passengers are protected by the windscreen A-pillars which can withstand twice the total body weight of the car.

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