Bespoke English sports car company Aston Martin hand builds what are considered the most desirable sports cars in the world, but the latest edition to the stable might well have claimed the coveted title of the world’s most beautiful car.
The Virage is a Grand Tourer based on the DB9, but has been tweaked here and there to create a car that will earn its spot in the line-up between the razor sharp DBS and DB9 siblings.
Consequently, power has been increased to 365kW, from 350 kilowatts for the DB9, which is exactly 15kW more than the DB9 and the same number less than the DBS. Oh, and there’s also 570Nm of torque to help move things along. Combine these enhancements with active suspension and standard fit ceramic brakes, and the Virage should make for a more focused driving experience than the DB9.
That said, Aston is always careful to protect the luxury and refinement qualities that are very much a part of its core brand values, so don’t go expecting any dual-clutch systems here either.
There’s really nothing wrong with the six-speed auto box from the DB9 known as Touchtronic II; it provides acceptably quick shifts (especially at speed and with the ‘Sport’ button submerged) while providing a comfortable level of refinement for those more mundane duties, such as the daily office commute.
It’s with some reluctance that I keep referring to the DB9 family as Grand Tourers, the tag is not exactly accurate, given how precise these cars are when pushed hard. It’s difficult to explain, but take the four-door Rapide as an example.
The last time I was in Spain it was for the launch of that car, which CEO Ulrich Bez referred to as a proper four-door sports car, but frankly, I didn’t pay a lot of credence to that statement. I thought it was just marketing spin to counter the performance credentials of the Panamera.
The steering rack ratio had been tightened to 16:1 and the chassis was off the same all-aluminium VH architecture that the company has been using for several years.
Ulrich Bez was right; the Rapide is ‘a proper four-door sports car’ that does corners almost as well as the more focused Vantage. In fact, at the time I said that it handled better than DB9 coupe. That came down to the sharper steering ratio, which provides phenomenal communication and feedback to the driver.
My point is, that with the extra tweaking and active suspension, the Virage should be a cracker of a drive through twisty mountain roads near Ronda in Spain. I’ll let you know soon enough.