► Soft-top Aston Martin DB11
► On sale in spring 2018
► To launch with 4.0 V8
Summer's here and the new Aston Martin DB11 Volante has been caught sunbathing topless - and with 4.0-litre V8 power borrowed from partner firm Mercedes-AMG.
These are believed to be the first shots of Aston's new convertible roof down; our spies caught the soft-top DB11 with its hood lowered as engineers drove it around near Aston's Gaydon HQ in the UK.
The soft-top version of the well-received DB11 has already been photographed racking up test miles at the Nurburgring, with very little camouflage bar some messaging around its spring 2018 launch date.
The motorised fabric roof means it’ll go without the DB11 coupe’s distinctive bisected C-pillar. Judging by the prototype DB11 Volante in these shots, it will feature a similar pop-up spoiler on the bootlid.
What’s under the DB11 Volante's bonnet stickers?
This car is registered with a 3982cc engine... coincidentally the same capacity as the Mercedes-AMG 4.0-litre V8 already used across much of the AMG range, including the GT sports car and C63.
That suggests that Aston will use the Volante as a springboard to launch the second, smaller engine in the DB11. It's a clever way to give the range a pick-me-up a year after launch - with a usefully lower price point to grow sales.
The arrival of the AMG V8 will double the showroom choice and expand sales. Currently buyers can only choose the existing 5204cc twin-turbocharged V12 in the coupe, driving the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Multi-cylinder fans can pick the V12 in both bodystyles, CAR understands. In the fixed-head DB11 the V12 develops more than 600bhp, so despite an inevitable increase to the coupe’s 1770kg dry weight, the Volante is unlikely to be slow.
Will the Aston Martin DB11 Volante be any good, though?
We’ve been impressed with the DB11 coupe, the first truly new Aston Martin for many years. We placed it ahead of the Porsche 911 Turbo and Mercedes-AMG S63 in a grand tourer group test in our November 2016 issue, ‘with a V12 worthy of your last gallon of superplus, and a chassis that impresses whether you’re stroking it home or gunning it down a favourite road.’
Prices for the DB11 coupe start from around £155k; the more costly-to-manufacture Volante will top that when it goes on sale in 2018, with prices expected to knock on the door of £170k for the V12.
However, the arrival of the 4.0-litre V8 should bring prices down - we'd predict a starting price nearer £140k for the smaller-engined variant.
Click here to watch CAR’s Chris Chilton review the Aston Martin DB11 coupe on video