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If you're having trouble telling the Aston Martin Virage apart from its Russian nesting doll collection of brothers and sisters, we certainly can't blame you. The Virage slots in between the DB9 and DBS in the Aston Martin lineup, though all three are virtually identical in terms of body style and cabin space. Visually, the easiest way to tell the Virage apart is by noting the side gills that are a visual departure from those seen on nearly every Aston Martin produced since the late 1950s.
There are more important differences, however. In the most basic sense, the Aston Martin Virage plugs the perceived gap between the two DB cars in terms of power, price, sportiness and the ability to be a comfortable cruiser. In many ways, the Virage stands as the Goldilocks choice, but truth be told, we're not sure it really represents a nearly $30,000 improvement over the DB9. At the same time, we're also not sure if it will dissuade those from paying even more for the DBS and its more ruggedly handsome allure. In the end, though, who's to argue with an increase in choices?
Current Aston Martin Virage
The Aston Martin Virage is available in coupe and convertible body styles, the latter of which is known as Volante. A pair of vestigial "plus-2" seats is standard, but the coupe allows you to replace them with a parcel shelf.
The Virage is powered by a 6.0-liter V12 engine like its DB siblings, but its output falls precisely 20 horsepower between the two at 490 hp and 420 pound-feet of torque. Unlike many other exotic sports cars that feature automated manual transmissions, the Virage makes do with a traditional six-speed automatic that can be controlled with paddle shifters. It works well for the Virage's grand touring nature, but we lament the absence of a row-your-own manual transmission.
Like every Aston Martin, the Virage is distinguished by being both engaging and livable. The sonorous V12 engine, precise steering, neutral 50/50 weight balance and commendable road-holding abilities equate to a car that can be genuinely thrilling to drive. It can't quite match the ultimate handling or acceleration capabilities of most exotic sports cars, but then they don't provide the cross-country comfort and road-trip readiness of the Virage.
While its DB siblings perform a similar trick, the Aston Martin Virage goes a step further by offering a more advanced adjustable suspension that automatically adapts to road conditions. The result is not only a better ride but also handling that more adeptly deals with pavement imperfections that would usually knock the DBs out of whack (especially in their Sport modes). While the Virage might not attack corners with the same skill as the pricier DBS, it's likely to be a more livable car on a day-to-day basis. The DB9, meanwhile, offers less sport and more comfort.
Although the Virage may drive a little differently from the DBs, you'll be hard-pressed to tell them apart inside. Certain trim bits and the quality of construction just aren't up to the level of Bentley or Mercedes-Benz, but it's nevertheless difficult to find a surface that's not covered in soft leather and wood or alloy trim. There's even some sapphire crystal filling in the blanks. We could live without the overly ornate gauges, however, and the in-car electronics are behind the times.
The driver seat is marvelously comfortable, with ample leg- and headroom for taller drivers. But since no human is likely to ever fit in the backseat, you might as well opt for the parcel shelf for the coupe instead. For larger items, the trunk is actually quite generous for an exotic sports car. As for the Volante, visibility isn't great with the top raised and wind buffeting can be tiresome.
In total, it's hard to recommend the Virage in place of another Aston Martin or even exotic sports car since purchasing any one of these cars is so driven by emotion. You certainly can't go wrong, so if this Goldilocks Aston GT speaks to you, we certainly won't dissuade you from signing on the dotted line.
Used Aston Martin Virage Models
The Aston Martin Virage was all-new for 2011, though in many ways it is just an updated and enhanced version of the DB9 introduced back in 2005.