TEST DRIVE: ASTON MARTIN ROAD TRIP

Elysia Agnew gets behind the wheel for a country cruise in Aston Martin’s latest Vantage and DB11 Volante models.
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Time for a tour in two of the motoring world’s finest sports cars. We can’t think of a better bloodline for a proper British road trip; trailing the winding roads of Northumberland, up to the breathtaking tracks of the Scottish Borders.

The vigorous new Vantage and the desirable DB11 Volante pull up at Blanchland’s Lord Crew Arms, ready for a thrilling cross-country journey, bringing bundles of energy, excitement and indulgence to the roads.

Sitting suave and sophisticated against the beautiful backdrop of Blachland’s stone-built buildings, the vibrant Vantage and the DB11 Volante are both ready to hit the road. There’s an overwhelming contrast between the two vehicles; the Vantage standing big and bold in all its muscular glory, while the DB11 oozes charm and sophistication – a clean and crisp whip, combining comfort and class.

First up it’s a ride out in the Hyper Red Vantage. The beast is back, and at the top of its game with a bold new look, intensified performance and dazzling new dynamics. It’s the heartbeat of Aston Martin’s purest models, and has been for several years. It makes a statement and remains a real talking point on both road and track.

The ‘archetypal hunter’ when it comes to Aston’s sports car range, it’s exactly what you’d expect from a supercar – and then some. A born predator built to overwhelm the senses as you switch on the engine and explore one of the brand’s purest, sculptural forms. Bringing new head and tail lights to the table, this car delivers a dramatic new signature style, giving the Vantage an unmistakable road presence.

Once inside, strapped in and fully up to speed with the cockpit gadgets, it’s time to get to know the roads. Despite its confident and commanding aura from the outside, there really is nothing to be intimidated about when it comes to jumping in and cruising in this drivetime dynasty.

Not only does the engine pack a punch; the plush interior and in-car entertainment system also make for a mighty fine and fun ride. Refined seats settle us in to sports mode, while the black leather steering wheel and the satin silver interior jewellery give a luxurious finish to this outgoing vehicle.

The extensive in-car entertainment system is also worth noting – controlled and viewed through an eight inch LCD screen, complete with Aston audio system, Bluetooth audio and phone streaming, iPod, iPhone and USB playback, and integrated sat nav.

This punchy and precise motor triggers all the right responses. Get behind the wheel and all that’s left to do is drive and feel the motion. Twists, turns and uneven surfaces are no problem in this machine. Aston knows its way when it comes to curves. The relationship between road and ride is a strong one – play it out, stay in control and you’ll get the best of this car.

The Vantage is as sharp as it is suave – it’ll do 0 to 60 in just 3.5 seconds, reaching a maximum speed of 195mph.

A hearty lunch at The Lord Crewe Arms sets us up nicely for a supercar swap over, taking to the DB11 Volante for a sunset test drive.

It’s the latest evolution of Aston’s iconic convertible Sports GT, powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine. A smoother drive with stylish interiors, it delivers the goods when it comes to comfort and class – with no compromise on power and precision.

The DB11 Volante is a rich and refined ride, bringing its interiors bang up to date, as well as its electric power steering and dynamic torque vectoring. This car responds to the road – whatever the weather. Handling is superb. This model remains a glorious grand tourer and the ultimate travel companion. One of its main draws is the convertible roof – a beautifully tailored fabric hood, taking just 14 seconds to lower and 16 seconds to close. The soft-top can be lifted remotely from the key, or on the move at speeds of up to 31mph.

Roof up or down, this is a vehicle that feels alert, oozes style and sophistication and brings an element of pure lust to the Aston Martin line. Whether it’s for a GT road trip, a weekend treat or an everyday ride, its chunkier figure means it’s better suited to long, sweeping roads – and somewhat more versatile than the fiery nature of the Vantage.

The Pearl Blonde DB11 Volante in particular, has to be one of the most beautiful vehicles on the road today. It’s dignified, deep-rooted and a desirable drive to say the least. A completely covetable look-at-me motor.

Aston Martin interiors

Aston’s latest vehicles demand a bold and distinctive design, and it’s safe to say this pair of power cars pack up enough punch to keep us on our toes.

The sweeping route from Blanchland to the Scottish Borders and back is the perfect playground for these supercars.

Dips, dints, bends and beautiful tree-lined roads guide us on the ultimate winter road trip, settling in as we breeze through the great British countryside.


astonmartin.com

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