Virage makes Aston Martin comeback 23 | 02 | 2011

    ASTON MARTIN has revived one of its most iconic names, the Virage. Next week's Geneva Motor Show will see the unveiling of this new DB9-sized coupe and convertible, with prices starting around £150,000 and available in a choice of two-seat and 2+2 configurations. It goes on sale in Scotland next month.

    Slotting between Aston’s £125,000 DB9, and its £175,000 DBS flagship, the Virage incorporates a new round of NVH, suspension and equipment improvements, many of which were developed for the Rapide saloon.

    “The Virage is the next evolution for Aston Martin,” Aston DEO Ulrich Bez explained. “We have set new benchmarks, and now we move on again. There is no need for a revolution."

    It's clear, and Aston designers have taken no effort to disguise the fact, that the Virage has a close relationship with the DBS, whose major dimensions (including front and rear tracks) it follows closely. But chief designer Marek Reichman has stamped his own identity on the new car by using new sills, grille, wings and a new front bumper to give the Virage a simpler, more elegant look. The Virage also gets bi-xenon headlights and a new grille, whose its five horizontal metal bars now have a wind-cheating section; both facets are shared with the Rapide.

    Powered by Aston’s familiar 5935cc, 48-valve V12, the Virage — which sits on newly-designed 20in alloys — gets a unique power output, 490bhp at 6500rpm; this slots it neatly between the 470bhp DB9 and 510bhp DBS. The Virage also gets a new version of ZF’s six-speed automatic gearbox ,named the Touchtronic II, and which can be controlled by shift paddles and is configurable in various modes, topped by a Sport setting which cuts shift times and eliminates automatic change-up at the rev limiter. Result? A sub-5.0sec 0-60mph sprint and a max of 186mph.

    Inside the cabin, as you would expect there's the height of Aston Martin luxury. There's a choice of standard or carbon-shell sports seats, plus a special wefted seam treatment for the leather that is unique to this model. The Virage also gets extra soundproofing on the front and rear bulkheads, while the convertible’s fabric roof gets a new layer of Thinsulate and erects and retracts more quickly.

    The new Virage will be available to order from Aston Martin showrooms in Scotland from next month, and Bez believes the new model will attract a new group of buyers.

    “Our competitors offer many alternatives these days,” he said. “We have to do the same.”

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    Jim McGill

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