Aston Martin introduces the new Aston Martin Virage - supremely elegant and powerful, yet juxtaposed as an understated sports car. The marque can now provide customers with a class-leading range, all with different characters, yet with the same unique Aston Martin soul and luxury.
2012 Aston Martin Virage Review Aston Martin introduces the new Aston Martin Virage - supremely elegant and powerful, yet juxtaposed as an understated sports car. The marque can now provide customers with a class- leading range, all with different characters, yet with the same unique Aston Martin soul and luxury. Beautiful, dynamic and prestigious, the Aston Martin Virage combines outright sports car performance with luxury, comfort and refinement. The front mid-mounted V12 engine's torque delivery provides outstanding performance, coupled with the car's inherent agility and perfect weight distribution delivering the ideal balance between outright sports car performance and trademark sporting luxury exemplified by modern Aston Martins. Aston Martin CEO, Dr Ulrich Bez said: "100 years of automotive history has demonstrated that evolution delivers the best solutions in time. So it is with Virage; it is the next level of evolution in our VH architecture strategy and it does everything with the perfection that you would expect today. It is the perfect balance of opposites." The Aston Martin Virage sits between the enduringly elegant DB9 and overtly sporting DBS, providing customers with a car that remains luxurious and understated but delivers increased performance and crucially performance that is always accessible for effortless driving. Aston Martin's revered hand-built 6.0 litre V12 engine produces 490 bhp (365 kW/497 PS) and 570 nM (420 lb. Ft) of torque and through its carbon fibre prop shaft, is mated to a six-speed Touchtronic II automatic transmission mounted on the transaxle contributing to perfect 50:50 weight balance. The Aston Martin Virage's dynamics have been tuned to deliver an engaging yet more refined driving experience, where the driver can extract the maximum performance from the car with greater ease. A newly developed Adaptive Damping System (ADS) intelligently 'reads' the road to provide optimum road holding, adapting to different conditions. The system now selects up to five different stiffness settings within normal mode, and a further five stiffer settings within sport mode. Aiding driver control, a 'Sport' button on the facia allows the driver to select a sharper throttle response and faster gear changes while also holding the gears without automatically shifting up at the revolution limiter. Aston Martin Virage will be delivered with Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) brakes as standard - bucking the trend in this market - offering progressive and tremendous stopping power. Powerful, resistant to fade and much lighter than conventional cast-iron discs, the CCM braking system means that not only is the overall vehicle weight reduced, but the weight saving at each wheel means that a better balance between ride comfort and handling can be struck. Lower rotational mass also provides improved acceleration. Aston Martin Virage capitalises on the technology from the DBS and unites it with the comfort and refinement found in the DB9 and Rapide. Aston Martin's own bonded aluminium 'VH' architecture that forms the backbone of the marque's sports cars, takes inspiration from the aerospace industry where weight reduction is the ultimate goal. Strong yet light, the inherent properties of modular aluminium lend themselves perfectly to an extremely rigid and versatile platform which allows the production of a Aston Martin Virage coupe and Volante. The Aston Martin Virage sits low and wide asserting the power which lies beneath; single bi-xenon headlamps follow the lines of the car's flanks to give a more crisp and modern look from the front. A new aluminium metal front grille, inspired by the One-77, features five horizontal vanes which are chamfered creating an aerofoil profile. The new front bumper is pure and relieves the car of any visual complexities, contributing to the overall simplicity of design. The front wings distinguish the Aston Martin Virage from its stable mates housing a new modern interpretation of the Aston Martin iconic side strake housing six LEDs elegantly forming the side repeater. Aston Martin Virage's side sills carry the simplicity of the front bumper through to the rear diffuser which houses a body- coloured blade accentuating the width of the car. As drivers and passengers open the signature swan wing doors, they are greeted by the aroma of seven hides of the finest Bridge of Weir leather expertly hand stitched by craftsmen. Inspiration has been taken from luxury leather goods to produce a pinstripe welt which flows down either side of the facia and along the seat and door, drawing your eye through the car. Each Aston Martin Virage will have 70 man hours of expert craftsmanship lavished on the interior alone to create the famous sophisticated Aston Martin interior. In all, over 200 man hours will be spent handcrafting the Virage at Aston Martin's global headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire, England as it becomes the tenth major production car to be built there in the space of less than eight years. Simplicity runs throughout the car with the new fully integrated Satellite Navigation system that has been developed in conjunction with Garmin. The new system simplifies operation through the existing four-way joystick mounted on the facia. A new 6.5 inch high resolution display uses the latest graphics and maps to visually and aurally guide the driver to their destination. Standard equipment includes heated seats (Sports seats only), cruise control, satellite navigation, Bluetooth telephone preparation and the powerful 700W Aston Martin Premium Audio System with Dolby® Pro Logic II® and full iPod® integration. Performance Sitting at the heart of any Aston Martin sports car is an evocative engine and no more so in the new Virage which adopts the famous hand-built 6.0 litre V12 which is assembled in Aston Martin's bespoke engine plant in Köln, Germany. Aston Martin technicians spend in excess of 20 hours building and testing every engine before sending it to Gaydon where it is mounted as far back in the Aston Martin Virage as possible to contribute to its perfect 50:50 weight balance. The Aston Martin Virage engine produces 490 bhp (365 kW/497 PS) and 570 nM (420 lb. Ft) of torque and is identified from other V12s in the family with a black plenum. The plenum houses a new 'five pillar design' increasing the rigidity of the manifold delivering an improved sound quality. The V12 has been designed to deliver over 85% of Virage's peak torque at only 1,500 rpm providing for instant and crucially, real-world useable traction. Aston Martin Product Development Director, Ian Minards explains: "The new Virage represents another landmark Aston Martin in the sporting GT class, combining luxury with performance. Our Engineering team has sought to balance the elements of contemporary design, strong performance credentials and driving fluidity. We have focused on the major building blocks of automotive performance and control, as well as the intricate details of operation, comfort and craftsmanship." The Touchtronic II transmission features as standard, and contributes to Aston Martin Virage's refined power delivery making gear changes tangible yet effortless. Engineered in conjunction with ZF, the six-speed automatic has optimally placed ratios to remain quiet on motorway stretches and deliver an engaging response when driving spiritedly. Controlled through finely polished glass switches depicting P, R, N, D on the facia, the driver can engage automatic mode, and the intelligent control system will decide precisely the right time to change gear in order to achieve the smoothest ratio move and the optimum fuel economy. In addition, the driver has the option of pulling either of the magnesium leather clad paddles to engage manual mode. Mounted on the steering column so that the driver can always easily locate either up or down, the manual mode gives the driver complete control. Virage features a Sport button on the facia which when depressed will create a heightened driving experience through faster gear changes and the system will override the automatic change-up so the driver is able to hold the gear on the revolution limiter. Control The new Aston Martin Virage features a new Adaptive Damping System (ADS) which has been tuned to suit the particular character of Aston Martin's latest sporting GT. Each damper has five individual computer controlled stiffness settings. This allows the Virage to 'read' the road via strategically placed sensors around the car, constantly adjusting the ride at each corner. Using yaw, accelerometer, steering wheel, throttle and brake (ABS) sensors, the intelligent system can take into account the demands the driver is making of the car at any given time. The Adaptive Damping Electronic Control Unit (ECU) uses these measurements to determine the most appropriate damper settings required at any given time, becoming stiffer for better handling and control during dynamic driving, and becoming softer for greater ride comfort during 'normal' driving conditions. Increasing driver control further, the glass ADS button on the facia allows the driver to override the system to push the dampers into a firmer range of settings. As the button is depressed, for the initial five seconds, all damper settings are set to their firmest providing the driver a tangible difference. After five seconds the system reverts to the optimum setting within the firmer range resulting in a more focussed but comfortable driving experience. Virage is delivered to customers with Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) brakes as standard - bucking the trend in this market. Critically acclaimed to provide the ultimate in progressive stopping power, the CCM discs take advantage of six piston callipers at the front and four at the rear. Giving the driver tangible control when braking, they are much more resistant to fade than conventional cast iron discs and at 12.5 kg lighter than a conventional system they contribute to a lower unsprung mass aiding ride comfort and handling. The Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system has been specifically tuned for the Aston Martin Virage. A three-stage DSC system allows the driver to tailor the level of electronic intervention according to the type of driving. In default mode, the system is set to 'on' which will limit any tyre slip in difficult conditions, and provide the maximum amount of security possible without being intrusive. Holding the DSC button for four seconds will engage 'Track Mode' which delays the electronic intervention further, creating a safe yet purer experience. Depressing the button for a further five seconds will disengage the system completely. Using knowledge learned from the V8 Vantage Roadster and DBS Volante, the new Virage Volante features a solidly-mounted rear subframe as well as front and rear shear panels which deliver high levels of rigidity. This means that the Virage Volante retains its sporting dynamic characteristics, uncompromised by the open roof. For the first time on an Aston Martin the Virage coupe also uses a shear panel at the rear of the car, again to enhance strength and rigidity. The fully integrated Aston Martin standard satellite navigation system has been completely revised for the Aston Martin Virage benefiting from a new system developed in conjunction with Garmin which is operated using the existing joystick and facia buttons. Features include clearer graphics, improved pictorial junction views and safety camera data. The new system maintains its integrated look, out of view beneath the real wood facia, rising seamlessly from the centre console at the touch of a button. Control through the aluminium four-way joystick prevents unattractive finger marks on the screen which impede clear vision. Design, Refinement and Comfort The new Virage was designed at Aston Martin's dedicated design studio at its global headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire, England. As an independent company, Aston Martin can take an initial sketch, through to a full size clay model, then to a prototype and ultimately into production all on one site. It allows the marque to be agile and reactive customer trends and demands. Virage will be built in the same production facility as the DBS and DB9 and will be Aston Martin's tenth major new model to go into production at the UK site since Gaydon was opened. Marek Reichman, Design Director at Aston Martin said: "The new Virage moves Aston Martin's design language evolution into a new contemporary phase. We have sculpted a new face which sharpens and refines the Aston Martin Virage whilst still being instantly recognisable as a pure Aston Martin sports car. The whole car looks as if it was precision machined from a single billet of aluminium emphasising the attention to detail and exquisite surface language. At Aston Martin we pride ourselves on beautifully honed surfaces created by skilled craftsmen." Reichman continues: "The Virage will always delight, from picking up the glass and polished aluminium ECU key, walking up and admiring its stunning form, and tacitly appreciating the treatment of all the other senses through the finish of the materials. It makes every journey an event. "The Virage doesn't wear its identity on its sleeve, it doesn't shout 'look at me', rather calmly hints at its potential, through pure lines and a low elegant stance." New single lens bi-xenon lights lie beneath a new front headlamp which houses a side light 'bar' dissipating LED light giving the Virage an individual yet subtle visual on the road. New 20" wheels add to the sense of proportion with a five spoke twin-prong design as standard and a 10-spoke forged diamond turned wheel as an option. Customers are also afforded the option of coordinating their brake callipers with their exterior paint colour with black, grey, red and yellow now being offered. The Aston Martin engineering team sought to create a sports car that offers customers the highest levels of refinement yet combined with the increased power and control desired by customers. To this ends extra sound insulation has been applied to the front and rear bulkheads to create a relaxed ambiance when cruising. The Aston Martin Virage Volante features an extra layer of Thinsulate material in the fabric hood making the Volante feel like a coupe when the hood is up. Each Virage features seven hides of the finest leather sourced from Scandinavia with each interior taking in excess of 70 man hours to hand craft. It is this attention to detail which creates one of the finest and opulent moving interiors in existence today. As the driver or passenger opens the swan wing doors - which open up and out at 12 degrees to prevent any scrapes on nearby kerbs - they are greeted to pinstriped leather seams which are hand stitched by one seamstress just to be sure of a consistency throughout the car. The 10-way adjustable sports seats are sculpted to provide maximum support and comfort while the two-stage heated seats instantly shake the chill on a frosty morning. The option of an alternative lightweight seat arrangement is available with the 2+0 layout on the coupe. Contributing to the feeling of luxury, finely polished glass buttons adorn the facia inviting the driver to select their desired setup or control. Aston Martin's design team have stayed true to the ethos of using material honestly where facias are real hand finished and polished woods, dials are milled aluminium, and leathers retain their patina and aroma years into their life. In coupe form, Aston Martin Virage is available as a 2+2 or a 2+0 as an option, the latter providing a rear parcel shelf ideal for soft bags, while also reducing weight.
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