Having been introduced as an all-new model to replace the DB7 in 2004, the Aston Martin DB9 continues into 2005 with no changes. But a drop-top version, the Volante, is available for 2005.

The sixth new car from the company in less than two and a half years, and the company’s 13th convertible ever, the Volante is the first convertible to use Aston Martin’s VH (Vertical/Horizontal) Platform Strategy. The platform is shared with the coupe and provides a 50/50 weight distribution with its engine in front and transmission in the rear. The front fenders and hood are composite, while the rest of the exterior skin is aluminum.

The Volante is hand-built alongside the coupe, and of the 2,000 DB9 models expected to be sold in 2005, around half will be the Volante.

Both the coupe and Volante use a low-emission, all-alloy 6.0-litre V12 engine. Transmission choices are a six-speed manual or paddle-shift automatic.

Both models feature ventilated and grooved steel disc brakes with four-piston monobloc calipers, tilt and telescopic steering column, Xenon headlamps with washers, LED rear lamps, 19-inch aluminum wheels, full leather interior, walnut veneer interior trim, six-way power seats, automatic climate control, keyless remote and six-CD player. Optional items include heated front seats, navigation system, integrated telephone, cruise control, rear parking sensors and tire pressure sensors.

The Volante’s roof operates at the touch of a button and retracts in 17 seconds, folding behind a hard tonneau cover which then electrically closes flush with the car’s bodywork. Among the Volante’s safety features are sensors that detect the risk of a potential rollover. These deploy two roll-hoops from the rear seat headrests to protect rear-seat passengers, while front seat passengers are protected by the A-pillars which can support twice the total body weight of the car.

The DB9 is built in Gaydon, Warwickshire, England.

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