First Look: 2012 Aston Martin Virage

The new Virage will have 12 cylinders. Even if you don't plan on ever owning an Aston, any enthusiast should at least hope to experience the aural composure afforded by such an exceptionally large crankshaft and 12 cylinders. The 6.0-liter V-12 with 490 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque is part of the tried-and-true Virage formula, capable of sending the vehicle from 0-62 mph in 4.6 seconds with a top speed of 186 mph, according to Aston. Roughly 20 hours are needed to prepare the famed engine alone.

Once prepared, the 12-cylinder is hoisted into Aston's highly versatile aluminum VH platform, which is also used by the rest of the lineup. A six-speed automatic transmission manages the power and sends it through a carbon-fiber driveshaft to the limited-slip rear differential, where Pirelli PZero tires measuring 295/30/20 await duty. It's just a little less glamorous up front with 20-inch wheels wrapped in 245/35 rubber.

The Virage will be sold as a coupe and in Volante convertible trim. Attached to the chassis are the usual performance car specifics, including double A-arms at the corners with incorporated anti-dive geometry for optimal braking and handling. A new Adaptive Damping System with Sport mode takes great care of the damper settings and comes with a total of 10 driver-selectable damping settings: five for normal mode and five for Sport mode. In Sport, the Virage alters the throttle mapping and readies the transmission to hold gears.

The Virage's brakes are serious business. The standard rotors are manufactured from what Aston calls "Carbon Ceramic Matrix," and no pure road car needs the level of heat fade resistance and brake performance the carbon-ceramic material provides. The rotors are nearly 28 pounds lighter than comparable iron blanks. Biting into the surely shrill-sounding, 15.7-inch front rotors are six-pot calipers; the rear brakes use four-piston binders on 14.2-inch rotors. Feeling the need to show off? Aston will paint the calipers black, gray, red, or yellow.

Once you look at it. The Virage look like the old DB7. But the DB9/S back. I would mind 007 drive it with gadgets.

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