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DB9 Volante to ride Aston Martin resurgence

Top-drop: Volante convertible version of DB9 goes on sale next month.

Ultra-rich DB9 Voltante conceived and built as a convertible - and it shows

8 Aug 2005

FOLLOWING the successful launch of the DB9 Coupe, British sports car-maker Aston Martin will next month begin Australian deliveries of the convertible version, the DB9 Volante.

With a price of $359,595 for the six-speed manual V12 soft-top supercar, Aston Martin aims to appeal to the seriously well heeled.

Like the V8 Vantage and DB9 Coupe, the Volante is expected to build on the brand’s resurgence in Australia, according to Victorian distributor Bilia Aston Martin.

Bilia Aston Martin corporate sales manager, David Gambell, said many buyers were coming across from Porsche 911s, seeking something a bit more exclusive.

So far this year 27 V8 Vantage orders have been taken nationally while 41 orders have been made for the DB9 Coupe.

Mr Gambell said interest in the Volante had also been strong, with 16 scheduled for delivery this year.

Globally, Aston Martin has forecast sales of 7700 vehicles a year as the company, now under Ford management, continues to inject vigour into the brand.

The DB9 Volante is the company’s 13th convertible and joins a prestigious line-up of postwar convertibles that stretches back to the DB2 of 1950 and includes the DB4, DB5, DB6, V8 and DB7.

However, the latest Aston will be the first convertible ever to use Aston Martin’s unique VH (vertical/horizontal) platform strategy and the first to be built at the new Aston Martin Gaydon facility in the United Kingdom.

44 center image The Volante borrows styling cues from previous convertibles and has a fully retractable hood that is stored flush with the rear bootline when closed, allowing the car to retain a smooth and elegant profile.

The electric hood retracts in 17 seconds, and when folded is stored under a hard tonneau cover flush with the DB9’s bodywork.

Despite the added complexity of the folding mechanism, the Volante boasts luggage space of 197 litres and has two rear seats.

Safety was paramount. Twin pop-up rollover hoops activate from behind the rear seat headrests in the event of an accident. Sensors detect the risk of a potential rollover and two roll-hoops are deployed within milliseconds.

Front-seat passengers are protected by the windscreen A-pillars that can withstand twice the car’s weight.

Like the DB9 coupe, the Volante is powered by an all-alloy, 48-valve 6.0-litre V12.

This allows the performance machine to sprint to 100km/h in five seconds and on to an electronically limited top speed of 264km/h.

Apart from the six-speed manual, the Volante is available with a six-speed "Touchtronic" automatic. The auto is $367,890.

According to Aston Martin CEO, Dr Ulrich Bez, the Volante was designed, engineered and built from the outset as a convertible rather than "a coupe with just the top taken off".

The Volante joins the recently launched $236,000 V8 Vantage. Although the bigger Aston Martin Vanquish and DB9 models are both powered by V12 engines, the V8 Vantage boasts an all-new 288kW 4.3-litre quad-cam V8.

It makes use of a high-tech glued and riveted aluminium backbone clothed in a body comprising aluminium, steel and racing-car style composite plastic materials designed to keep weight down.

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