By Gavin Gibbon
Sitting behind the wheel of the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante is a defining moment for any driver
I’m not particularly keen on British secret agent OO7. There’s a smugness about him, an arrogance bordering on cocky, so much so that it comes as no surprise to see Mr Bond constantly getting into scrapes with various villains.
I could never be James Bond. I don’t have the confidence or the charisma and I’m nowhere near cool enough.
And then everything changed. Then it became clear why OO7 is the way he is. Because for 36 short hours I was too. I was Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig.
I was an Aston Martin driver.
But even better, I did something Bond hadn’t managed as yet. I was behind the wheel of the DBS Superleggera Volante, the fastest convertible model in the company’s history with a top speed of 211mph.
I didn’t reach anywhere near that speed. I know the trouble Bond gets into and I wasn’t ready to play fast and loose with Dubai’s speed cameras and road humps, especially not with a car that cost in the region of $329,100.
Still that was no mean feat, given the car is powered by Aston Martin’s own 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12, producing 715BHP 900Nm of torque with the ability to cover 0-62mph in just 3.6 seconds and 0-100mph in 6.7 seconds.
As soon as you turn the engine on, you unleash a gigantic beastly roar, announcing your presence on the road, as if it were needed. Equipped with a quad exhaust system, in GT mode, the engine note simmers, but select Sport or even Sport Plus and the acoustics become progressively more intense.
There is also the ‘quiet start’ option if the neighbours are sleeping, which offers a low-key alternative to the rousing flare of revs on start-up.
There is nothing, however, low key about driving this machine. It combines the comfort of putting on your favourite slipper, with the ferocity of a battalion’s charge. It turns heads, prompts people to take photographs and demands courtesy from other drivers, even in Dubai.
Admittedly there are more buttons inside than even the great Mr Bond could fathom in a short space of time, but key highlights are the Aston Martin premium audio system, touch pad, integrated satellite navigation system, 360-degree camera and 8” LCD screen.
The full leather interior screams luxury and the ability to cool the seats would certainly come in handy during the summer months in this region. But even the warning sound when you happen to stray ever so slightly over the speed limit, or take too long to buckle your seatbelt, sounds like something recorded from the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Of course, Volante is a name that can only be attributed to convertible cars bearing the Aston Martin wings badge and the defining feature of any Volante is its roof. This particular one takes 14 seconds to open and 16 seconds to close and can be operated from inside, or for added convenience, from the remote key within a two-metre radius of the car.
Executive vice president and chief creative officer, Marek Reichman, said: “With the unique dynamics, beautiful yet brutish design and the unmistakable harmonics of Aston Martin’s 5.2-litre V12 engine, we believe we have delivered a unique and unforgettable driving experience that is synonymous with the traditions of the Volante name.”
Who am I to argue? The experience has left me shaken and stirred.