At least one part of Aston Martin's new convertible is the fastest ever made.
Not the speed -- though its 0-60 mph (97 kph) time of 3.7 seconds is not bad. The new Aston Martin Vantage roadster can drop its top in just 6.7 seconds.
The descendant of the British grand tourer that premiered in 1977 and its Volante open-air counterpart, which debuted in 1986, takes slightly longer to raise its top -- 6.8 seconds, according to a company spokesperson -- but can do either at speeds of up to 31 mph (50 kph).
Both times are 50 percent faster than the industry standard of about 14 seconds, besting other high-end models such as the BMW i8 (15 seconds), the Porsche 911 (12 seconds), and even barely beating the Ford Mustang convertible, which can do it in seven seconds. By comparison, the current Aston Martin DB11 Volante takes 14 seconds.
A tailored fabric stretched tightly over a compact Z-fold mechanism provides the engineering behind this level of quickness. When deployed, the apparatus tucks itself away deep in the car -- deep enough that the two-seater has enough room to fit a single standard-size golf bag and accessories in the trunk, even with the top down.
While it is not the car you would want to take on a weekend getaway for two--storage for two overnight bags, coats, and accessories would be extremely tight at best -- the space is still an improvement of several cubic inches over the DB11 Volante.
The Vantage roadster, a rival to the Porsche 911 Cabriolet, will make debut at the Geneva auto show in on March 3. It starts at 126,950 pounds ($164,000) in the UK. With the special options and customizations available, dealers expect the price to reach much higher.
Set during the 70th anniversary of the Vantage nameplate, the debut comes at a critical time for Aston Martin as it gains new ownership and readies the launch of its first-ever SUV, the 158,000 pound ($205,000) DBX.
In January, Canadian fashion tycoon and Formula One team owner Lawrence Stroll became set to assume the title of executive chairman after helping infuse the brand with a $656 million lifeline and buying a 17 percent stake of the company for himself.
The company has struggled to recover from its 2018 IPO, a controversial and disappointing offering that did little to soothe consumer and investor anxiety.
Throughout 2019 its stock wavered between a 60 percent and 75 percent loss in value since the IPO. Aston Martin has said UK and European buyers are delaying purchases amid uncertainty around Brexit, causing it to miss sales targets. Last month the 107-year-old luxury automaker reported a steep profit decline in its first full year as a listed company.