The brakes may look great, but English car aficionados will then turn their sights to the interior. As if it were customary, Aston Martin unabashedly states that the Virage's interior requires 70 man-hours of "expert craftsmanship." The hand-stitched Bridge of Weir leather requires seven hides from Scandinavia, which semi-explains the car's premium price tag (cows aren't cheap, after all). Otherwise, it's business as usual, with glass buttons occupying the center stack alongside an analog clock. To operation the transmission, a series of glass switches need only to be depressed on the stack. For manual mode, a set of magnesium leather-clad shifter paddles give drivers the control they need.
Somewhere in the annals of time, designers decided aluminum equated performance, so there's plenty of aluminum inside, as well as hand-polished wood accents. Power everything and a 700-watt premium sound system with Dolby Pro Logic II support, Apple iPod integration, and a 6.5-inch high-res display mesh seamlessly. An optional 1000-watt sound system brings the bump if needed. And although the coupe is set up for a 2+2 arrangement, the rear seat can be deleted if more storage space or less weight is desired. The Virage Volante will always maintain the four-seat setup.
Though Aston Martins share a great deal of exterior design language, the designers wanted the Virage to have a presence all its own. To that end, HID headlights flank the front end, and a new aluminum front metal grille reminds us of the One-77 halo car. The front wings are subtly placed, but they're unique to this particular Aston. Six LEDS act as the side-repeater lights in each headlight, and the signature swan wing doors open out and up at 12 degrees to avoid scraping the curb. Anyone who has ever parallel-parked a low-slung car will understand what we're talking about here.
While the Virage's straight-line speed may not sound all that impressive, customers won't be buying it because it's the fastest piece of iron, er, aluminum, out there. They'll buy it because of the experience, and because they can.
2012 Aston Martin Virage/Virage Volante
Base price: $200,000 (MT est)
Vehicle layout: Front-engine, RWD, 2-4-pass, 2-door coupe/convertible
Engine: 6.0L/490-hp/420-lb-ft DOHC 48-valve V-12
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Curb weight: 3900-4200 lb (mfr)
Wheelbase: 107.9 in
Length x width x height: 185.2 x 75.0 x 50.5-50.7 in 0-62 mph 4.6 sec (mfr est)
EPA city/hwy fuel econ: N/A
Energy consumption, city/hwy: N/A CO2 emissions N/A