Fast lane
By Alex Taylor III, Fortune Magazine

(Fortune Magazine) -- Aston Martin DB9 Volante

Price As tested: $185,045.

Backstory Say "Aston Martin," and you think of James Bond, Savile Row, and Boodles Gin. Though of late the cars have attracted attention from a younger set (recently they showed up on HBO's Entourage), they remain gentlemen's cars, more notable for their craftsmanship and detail than for raw speed and brute-force handling.

Test drive My 48 hours in a shimmering Tungsten Silver DB9 convertible started badly. In a darkened New York City garage, I couldn't find the transmission shift buttons located on the dashboard --to the great annoyance of the driver behind me.

But I quickly left him behind in my fumes as the 450-horsepower, 12-cylinder engine burbled to life. With details like contrasting piping on the leather seats and the chronometer-style gauges on the instrument panel, this is a seriously attractive car.

Everything about it - from flipping the paddle shifters and operating the one-touch fabric top to receiving the glances of the envious - pleases the senses. I never got close to the rated top speed of 165 miles per hour, but never mind. At the end of the weekend, my Aston and I parted company with the greatest reluctance.  Top of page