From £149,995
Although there may be a whiff of familiarity about the Virage, this is, without question, a very fine GT car

Our Verdict

Aston Martin Virage
The Virage sits between the DB9 and DBS in the Aston Martin range

The Aston Martin Virage is a very good car, but it could have been a great one

  • First Drive

    Aston Martin Virage Volante

    The open-top version of Aston’s new GT suffers few compromises compared with coupé
  • First Drive

    Aston Martin Virage

    Although there may be a whiff of familiarity about the Virage, this is, without question, a very fine GT car

What is it?

Its name may be familiar to anyone who can remember as far back as Aston Martin’s more prosaic Newport Pagnell era, but the Virage is, in fact, a largely new GT car from Aston, one that’s intended to plug the gap between the DB9 and the more hardcore DBS.

Priced at a whisker under £150k, it uses either an uprated version of the DB9’s 6.0-litre V12 or a mildly detuned version of the DBS’s similarly sized unit, depending which way you view such claims. Either way, it has 490bhp at 6500rpm and 420lb ft at 5750rpm at its disposal, enough to launch it to 60mph in 4.6sec and to a top speed of 186mph.

Dynamically, the Virage is not intended to be as driver-orientated as the DBS - Aston instead preferring to call it a gentleman’s GT car. Which explains why so many of the processes used to perfect the Rapide’s excellent - but more sedate - chassis and suspension have been revisited to create the underpinnings of this car.

That makes it a refined GT car first and a sporting one second – although, having said that it does feature a number of styling features that are remarkably similar to those of the DBS, even if they clothe a car that is clearly less thrusting in its personality.

What’s it like?

If you have never driven a modern VH platform Aston before, the Virage will seem sensational in just about everything it does. To put it briefly, this car has a fantastic blend of performance, handling, ride, steering and braking composure – the like of which anyone who experienced the original Virage from the 1980s will find genuinely hard to believe. But if you’re familiar with how good (and how similar in feel) Aston’s recent creations are, there will be either a reassuring sense of déjà vu or, perhaps, a tad of predictability in the way it goes down the road.

Whatever your take on the situation, the Virage represents a big improvement over the DB9 and is, in our opinion, a far better car to drive than the DBS in most ways. The lessons learned by Aston when creating the Rapide have clearly been passed on to the Virage; you can detect this from the way it rides - beautifully but also more quietly than the DBS - to the way it steers and handles. Everything about the Virage dynamically has a measured, cohesive polish to it that is strangely absent from the harder edged DBS.

And yet in real terms it is barely any slower than its more expensive cousin. The DBS may be some 100kg lighter due to its more exotic construction materials, but so much better sorted is the Virage’s chassis – and its excellent new Sportshift six-speed paddle-shift gearbox – that over give-and-take roads there would be very little in it. Yet at the same time the Virage would use less fuel, pump out less CO2 emissions and be considerably more luxuriant to travel in.

There’s even a new sat-nav system that replaces the yesteryear item of the DB9/DBS, while the rest of the interior has been styled to offer a more tasteful balance (than in the slightly vulgar DBS) between sporting and luxury. Also new are the wipers, and the carbon ceramic brakes (which are standard fitment), and the wheels and tyres that adorn them.

Should I buy one?

Were you to add the Virage’s carbon ceramic brakes alone to the spec of a DB9, this would raise the price of that car to a theoretical £135,000. If you then add the Virage’s vastly superior suspension, its more powerful engine and its extensively better-equipped cabin, the price of £150k suddenly seems like pretty good value.

So although there may be a whiff of familiarity about the Virage – not just in name but in its concept and execution – this is, without question, a very fine GT car. And if they’d called it the DB10, well, it might have been even better still.

Aston Martin Virage

Price: £150,000 (est); Top speed: 186mph; 0-62mph: 4.5sec; Economy: 18.8mpg; CO2: 349g/km; Kerb weight: 1785kg; Engine: V12, 5935cc, petrol; Power: 490bhp at 6500rpm; Torque: 420lb ft at 5750rpm; Gearbox: six-speed auto

Join the debate

Comments
16

11 March 2011

This is my absolute favourite modern Aston. I love it!

Fal

11 March 2011

[quote Dark Isle]This is my absolute favourite modern Aston. I love it!
[/quote]Really?

To me it looks like the CADers have been a little lazy with doing something about that slack jaw look it has in the front bumper

Sounds like its a decent drive at least.

12 March 2011

I don't mean to be negative but I'm with Fal on this one. Like the Cygnet, I can't help thinking that Aston are basing their new model plan on the dangerous assumption that their customers are dumb and won't notice that they're reversioning their old cars and re-badging other peoples! This isn't a DB10, it's a DB9.75!

12 March 2011

Aston Martin designer Marek Reichman enters his boss's office: "Good morning Dr Bez, I've been working with the engineering department and we've come up with some ideas for the DB9's mid-life updates."

Dr B: "Update the DB9? Why waste these suspension and steering updates on the DB9? Come now, we'll give the DB9 a Rapide nose, some DBS side-skirts, the suspension and steering mods you propose for the DB9 update, and, voila, now we have an 'all-new' model, yes?!"

Marek Reichman: "Umm, er, OK..."

13 March 2011

Couldn't it have had like 550 HP? Less than 500HP in a 150k+ car is just being silly these days. It's not like they couldn't have squeezed another 50 from those two Ford V6s...

Looks amazing. But why not more power? It's 2011 and you're supposed to be fast whilst looking good.

14 March 2011

Ok this might be an update or rehash of an existing model but it has to be said Astons styling is ageing well,but perhaps in a more appealing colour

14 March 2011

[quote FadeToBlack]

Couldn't it have had like 550 HP? Less than 500HP in a 150k+ car is just being silly these days. It's not like they couldn't have squeezed another 50 from those two Ford V6s...

Looks amazing. But why not more power? It's 2011 and you're supposed to be fast whilst looking good.

[/quote]

I kinda agree with you, 510bhp for the DBS & 490 in this case is a bit weak from a 6liter V12 engine. Especially at these prices. At least in this configuration its greener and more efficient.

TUK

14 March 2011

Not sure what GT is meant to imply these days on high-performance cars like this ... Glorified Trinket? Do cars like this ever get driven cross Europe on grand tours any more?

Still ... it's a very nice motor ... looked lovely in the flesh at the Geneva ... even in the orange paint job

14 March 2011

Sad to see AM becoming like Audi - how many washing powders can create from the same mix routine. Yes it is a fine car - but too many cooks (in this case to many models) spoil the broth ( value of the marque). I am always in awe of almost any AM, one of the few cars I have never owned that were worthy of my money - simply because they were always just out of reach of my pocket even in 2nd hand form not more than 3 years old. I love this but I would have felt it better to ditch one other model and let this take its place rather than just increasing the varietes available. After all - how many well heeled punters are there to go round? There is plenty of competition out there to choose from these days.

14 March 2011

Yes, very nice but a new model ? Come on Aston. It's clearly an updated DB9. I mean, who is going to buy a new DB9 now ? At least unlike the Cygnet, it's a genuine Aston.

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