One of Aston Martin's endearing traits has been its ability to make more from less -- especially when it comes to its VH (Vertical/Horizontal) platform strategy that uses basically the same chassis bits to produce all its cars from the V8 Vantage up through the four-door Rapide.With the introduction of the 2012 Aston Martin Virage, the British sports car maker now offers three distinct V-12 models on the same 107.9-inch wheelbase and positions the car as a way for customers to split the difference between the sporty DB9 and the sportier DBS. Or better yet, the new lineup should be described as sporty (DB9), sportier (Virage), sportiest (DBS).
2012 Aston Martin VirageThere is much of the Virage besides its name that is shared with the DB9 and DBS, which starts with the same 6.0-liter V-12 engine. This front mid-mounted powerplant produces 490 bhp and 420 lb.-ft. of torque. Like the DB9, it's mated to a Touchtronic 2 six-speed ZF automatic gearbox with a paddle-shift feature that gives rev-matched downshifts. The DBS differs in that it offers only a six-speed manual. With a similar curb weight and dimensions, the Virage offers comparable performance to that of the DB9 with zero-to-62 mph acceleration of 4.6 sec. and a top speed of 186 mph.
The Virage is offered as a 2+2 coupe, with a rear-seat delete option. The Volante (convertible) variant is only a two-seater. In splitting the difference between DB9 and DBS, Aston offers a number of standard features such as a new Adaptive Damping System that has five stiffness settings in the normal mode and five settings within the stiffer sport mode. The system automatically reacts to road irregularities to provide optimum levels of ride and handling. Also standard on the Virage are carbon ceramic disc brakes.
2012 Aston Martin VirageWhile the silhouette of the Virage is pure Aston Martin, changes to the front clip give the car a more aggressive and finely chiseled look. According to Marek Reichmann, Aston's director of design, "We have sculpted a new face which sharpens and refines the Virage, whilst still being instantly recognizable as a pure Aston Martin sports car. The whole car looks as if it were precision machined from a single billet of aluminum, emphasizing the attention to detail and exquisite surface language."
Contributing to this new look is a new grille inspired by the One-77 supercar. The opening is divided by five horizontal chambered vanes that give the Virage a shark-nose appearance. The minimalist front bumper is offset by small winglets in the fascia that sweep rearward and has its line picked up by the car's rocker extensions. The signature vent in the front fenders has also been redesigned to incorporate six LED side marker lights. The new front end is further enhanced by the use of a new single lens bi-Xenon projector beam lights. The new headlamp bezels also include an LED light bar along the side which adds to the carís subtle, yet distinctive look.New 20-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels are also unique to the Virage, which also offers customers the option of color coordinating the brake calipers to the car's exterior paint scheme. The calipers can be ordered in a choice of black, gray, red or yellow.Production of the 2012 Aston Martin Virage has already begun with pricing expected to be between the $180,000 DB9 and $266,000 DBS.