Quintessential British brand Aston Martin is on a mission to make waves and become the world’s highest-flying carmaker.

From submarines and superyachts, to apartments in Miami and from handcrafted furniture to a flying car concept, the luxury marque’s design team is determined to expand the impact of the iconic marque worldwide.

While the designers at Gaydon, near Banbury, continue to develop links with a range of high-quality products, no one has forgotten that the company is all about the cars.

And one of the latest models to glide out of the factory is also one of its most civilised.

The DB11 Volante is an open-top grand tourer of the first order. At the touch of a button the eight-layer roof disappears to reveal a refined, comfortable and spacious interior with room for some luggage.

Search around the mass of instrumentation and you find a heated steering wheel and you can even fit two child seats in the back. Select the right driving mode and you could nip round to Waitrose or even make the school run in this car without any fuss or bother.

But never fear, underpinning this family-friendly, cosy convertible is the sports car engineering on which the company is built.

Sleek and athletic, the DB11 Volante is powered by a new 4.0-litre, twin-turbo, V8 engine that develops 510 horsepower.

Lighter and more rigid than the model it replaces, it is built around a bonded aluminium structure first seen in the DB11 Coupe and engineered to deliver a combination of performance and sporting character with genuine easy-to-manage manners.

If you are feeling more adventurous, the Volante’s three-stage powertrain and chassis modes allow you to taste something of the character that has made the brand a byword for success on the racetrack.

Working with the eight-speed, paddle-shift automatic transmission, electric power steering and limited-slip differential you can quickly shape the car’s responses and tailor its behaviour to best suit the road, weather or your mood.

The result is a car that balances ride, handling, responsiveness and refinement, to deliver real driving pleasure.

Priced from £159,900, the car comes with front and rear parking sensors, 360-degree surround view parking cameras, cruise control and speed limiter, a tyre pressure monitoring system and sits on mighty 20-inch, ten-spoke alloy wheels.

The car driven here was packed with everything from a front pair of heated and ventilated seats, Bang & Olufsen BeoSound audio system and an automatic parking assist system to blind spot assistance and a vehicle tracking system.

Aston Martin vice president David King, who lives in north Oxfordshire, told me that the company, recently floated on the stock market, is aiming to expand its range of models over the coming years with sports utility vehicles and electric models joining the range, with the eventual intention of producing 14-15,000 cars a year.

While work continues on developing the 225mph, £2m Adrian Newey-designed F1-inspired Valkyrie hypercar, due for launch in 2020, the company is also readying its new factory at St Athan, Wales, which will become the brand’s centre for electrification.

Aston Martin’s first all-electric production model, the Rapide E, will be built there when production starts this year and it will also become the production home of the revived Lagonda brand, the world’s first zero-emission luxury marque, with a range of Rolls-Royce-rivalling luxury limousines and sports utility vehicles that will start production in 2021. 

Auto facts

Model: Aston Martin DB11 Volante

Price: £191,085 as tested

Insurance group: 50 (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 28.3mpg

Top speed: 187mph

Acceleration: 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds

Length: 495cm/194.3in

Width: 185cm/72.6in

Luggage capacity: 9.5 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 17.2 gallons/78 litres

CO2 emissions: 230g/km