The Aston Martin you probably forgot about because nobody is talking about it

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Aston Martin is one of the oldest and most emblematic manufacturers to ever exist. Over the years, they’ve had glorious racing history, as well as iconic models. That said, for one reason or another, some models are more memorable than others. When we talk about the Aston Martin Virage, most people remember the 1989-2000 model, also known as the Vantage V-8. In 2011, the name Virage was brought back, by utilizing the brand’s distinctive modern design. This is everything you need to know about the second-generation Aston Martin Virage.

It was aimed to bridge the gap between the DB9 and DBS

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Aston Martin was doing quite well in the 2010s. So well, in fact, that they started coming up with niche models. Hence, the return of the Virage name. The gran-tourer was supposed to fill the gap between the rather soft DB9 and the more hardcore DBS. Aston Martin is known for its exceptional GT cars, which are able to devour long distances, while still being a joy to drive. Essentially, best of both worlds.

When the DB9 came out, it was the brand’s most successful model. The DBS that came after it was advertised as a new, more performance-oriented model, which was a bit of a stretch. It was essentially a stiffened-up, more powerful DB9. Many people complained that the sport seats did not quite match the GT-nature of the car, despite it having a sportier setting. At the same time, the soft DB9 wasn’t exciting enough for some of the people, looking for a sportier feeling.

It was meant to be best of both worlds

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The Aston Martin Virage literally splits the difference between the DB9 and DBS, in every aspect. Whereas the DBS is aimed to be a sportier GT car, the Aston Martin wants to be a relaxed cruiser. The chassis setup of the Virage is such that it makes the car into a perfect multitasker. It’s still a capable long-distance cruiser but is more eager to be thrown into a corner. At the same time, it’s not as harsh as the DBS, meaning that the suspension, although it still has a sport setting, is set-up more towards comfort. To put it simply, it gives you 90 percent of the DB9’s comfort and 90 percent of the DBS’ performance.

It can give the DBS a run for its money

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At the time of the Virage’s introduction, the British carmaker was still making use of their iconic naturally-aspirated V-12.

The 5.9-liter (5,935 cc / 362 ci) V-12 was actually made by merging two Ford DURATEC V-6 engines together.

In the Virage, the unit produces 489 horsepower (365 kW) at 6,500 RPM and 420 pound-feet (570 Nm) at 5,750 RPM. This allows the 3,836-pound (1,740 kg) GT to hit 60 mph (97 km/h) in just 4.3 seconds, on its way to 189 mph (304 km/h).

2011 Aston Martin Virage specifications
Engine 5.9-liter V-12
Horsepower 489 HP @ 6,500 RPM
Torque 420 LB-FT @ 5,750 RPM
Weight 3,836 lbs (1,740 kg)
0 to 60 mph 4.3 seconds
Top Speed 189 mph (304 km/h)
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To put things in perspective, in the DBS, those figures are 510 horsepower (380 kW) and the same 420 pound-feet (570 Nm) of torque, which allows for a 0 to 60 mph sprint in 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 192 mph (309 km/h). The DB9, on the other hand, lags behind with its 450 horsepower (331 kW), 0 to 60 mph time of 4.5 seconds, and a top speed of 186 mph (300 km/h).

It has a perfect weight distribution

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You can’t really expect a full-size gran-tourer to be lightweight. Although the dry weight of 3,836 pounds (1,740 kg) is similar to its DB9 and DBS counterparts, you wouldn’t expect it to be distributed evenly between the two axles. Having a GT car with a big V-12 in the front, which also happens to have a perfect 50-50 weight distribution is commendable. If you still think the Virage is heavy, keep in mind that a Jaguar XK-R from the same time weighs 3,915 pounds (1,776 kg), while a Bentley Continental – 5,093 pounds (2,310 kg).

It was showing its age

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For all their motorsport glory and know-how, gathered over the years, Aston Martin doesn’t always learn from its mistakes. Similar to the DBS, the 2011 Virage was introduced as a brand new car. The fact is, it had the same chassis, the same V-12 engine, the same interior layout, and the same basic architecture. Although each of these aspects has been improved, one element holds the car back. The Virage’s V-12 was mated to a rather outdated six-speed automatic, in times when other manufacturers had already started using rapid-shifting dual-clutch systems.

It got rebadged as the DB9

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In 2013, Aston Martin realized the error of their ways and rebadged the Virage, as a DB9. More specifically, it was introduced as the 2013 DB9 facelift. With this, the company no longer had any claims of it being a brand new model from the ground up. It’s a good thing too since the car looked exactly the same as the Virage. The 5.9-liter V-12 did receive a bump in power, now producing the same 510 horsepower (380 kW) as the DBS. It even matched the DBS’s 4.1-second time from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h). For the first time in a while, the V-12 unit also received a bump in torque, now producing 457 pound-feet (620 Nm), instead of 420 pound-feet (570 Nm). Sadly, at this point, the car was still using the same mellow six-speed automatic.

It was reasonably priced

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In the world of exotic cars, this is a relative term. That said, when the second-generation Virage was new, UK prices were £150,000 (£160,000 for the Volante). This was right between the £125,000 sticker price of the DB9 and the DBS’ £175,000 price. In the US, prices started at around $209,000. Nowadays, you can pick one up for around $116,000. If you want the Volante version, be prepared to pay as much as $159,000.

The perfect Aston Martin?

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At the time of its unveiling, many people praised the Virage for being the perfect Aston Martin. This was due to the fact that it basically gave you almost DBS levels of performance, with almost DB9 levels of comfort. Essentially, the Virage hit the sweet spot. And although Aston Martin’s cars were never known to be bargain performance cars, it’s good to know that the best car they had come up with was not the most expensive car they could sell you.

The Virage was a limited production car

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Just like its more angular predecessor, produced between 1989 and 2000, the Virage was not exactly mass-produced.

The second-generation Aston Martin Virage was produced over a period of 18 months. During that time, just over 1,000 units were produced, 454 of which were sold in Europe.

These numbers include both the coupe and Volante body styles. Whether intentionally or not, the first Aston Martin Virage also had a production run of just over 1,000 units. Over its 11-year production period, just 1,050 first-generation Aston Martin Virage were made.

Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
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