Pros: Gorgeous styling; powerful V12; hand-built craftsmanship

Cons: Very expensive to buy, own and live with

What's New: The Aston Martin Vanquish Volante is an all-new model at the top of Aston's range.

Aston Martin has officially released the all-new 2014 Vanquish Volante. Essentially a soft-top convertible version of the brand's high-dollar Vanquish coupe, the Vanquish Volante wears similar styling as the coupe and boasts the same muscular 5.9-liter V12 powerplant.

On the outside, the Vanquish Volante carries over many styling cues from the standard Vanquish. They include a low, wide look, Aston's characteristic grille and muscular rear-wheel arches. Also included are front fender grilles and Aston's usual swept-back headlights.

Of course, the big difference is the Vanquish Volante will have a convertible top. Like most British convertibles, it remains a soft-top rather than the folding hardtop that's finding its way into many modern cars. The top can be opened or closed in just 14 seconds while driving at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.

Like the coupe, the Vanquish Volante boasts 4-passenger seating and a wide variety of leather and chrome finishes. It also boasts a standard reversing camera, which is housed in a standard 6.5-inch touchscreen with navigation. Many buyers will appreciate the glass Emotion Control Unit that Aston Martin uses in place of a key.

The Aston Martin Vanquish Volante also mirrors the Vanquish under the hood. As in the Vanquish, the standard 5.9-liter V12 is tuned to produce 565 horsepower and 457 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic is standard, as are carbon ceramic brakes and launch control.

Aston Martin says the all-new Vanquish Volante starts at a whopping $299,000. That makes it almost $20,000 more than the standard Vanquish. But for buyers who want the ultimate Aston with a removable roof, little else will do.

Find a Aston Martin Vanquish Volante for sale

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Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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