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by Tim Beissmann

Aston Martin has released the first official images and details of the 2011 Aston Martin Virage ahead of its unveiling at next week’s Geneva Motor Show.

Developed on the Gaydon-based manufacturer’s VH architecture, the Virage Coupe and Virage Volante will sit between Aston Martin DB9 and Aston Martin DBS in the line-up, designed to be a “supremely elegant and powerful … understated sports car”. (‘Virage’ is a French word meaning bend or curve, as well as change or shift.)

The Virage is powered by a hand-built 6.0-litre V12 engine, which produces 365kW of power and 570Nm of torque. The six-speed Touchtronic II automatic transmission is still mounted at the back in transaxle fashion like the DB9 and contributes to the vehicle’s overall 50:50 weight balance.

Aston Martin says the driving dynamics have been tuned for a more engaging yet refined experience, allowing the driver to extract the maximum performance from the car with minimal effort.

The Virage features a newly developed Adaptive Damping System, which has 10 unique ride settings – five in normal mode, five in sport mode.

The Sport button on the dashboard has the usual effect, sharpening the throttle response, speeding up the gear changes and holding gears for longer.

Lightweight Carbon Ceramic Matrix brakes are standard, offering more progressive stopping power and more resistance to fade than conventional cast-iron discs. The lower rotational mass also provides improved acceleration.

The styling of the Virage draws inspiration from the One-77, with a new aluminium metal five-vane front grille and single bi-xenon headlamps at the front, LED side indicators from the profile and a restyled diffuser at the rear.

Of the 200 man-hours it takes to build each Virage, 70 man-hours go into the interior alone. Traditional luxury leather and premium quality surfaces are teamed with a 6.5-inch high resolution display, Garmin satellite navigation system, fascia-mounted joystick and a 700W premium audio system with Bluetooth phone connectivity and full iPod integration.

Aston Martin has confirmed it is now taking orders for the Virage Coupe and Virage Volante across its 41-country, 132-dealership network.

Aston Martin Australia’s Marcel Fabris confirmed the Virage will arrive in Australia at the beginning of the second half of the year.

“The first customer deliveries of Virage Coupe and Volante will commence during July 2011,” Mr Fabris said. “As with all Aston Martin models, the supply of Virage will be limited to assist maintain exclusivity.”

He confirmed Aston Martin dealers would commence taking orders for the Virage this week.

“Virage will be priced between existing DB9 and DBS models. Final Virage pricing will be confirmed during the Geneva Motor Show. Indicative pricing will see Virage Coupe start around c. £150,000.”

A direct currency conversion makes that $242,000, but in Australia the Virage will fall between the $368,469 DB9 and the $497,441 DBS.




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