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Review (2/2)


Sitting at the heart of any Aston Martin sports car is an evocative engine and no more so in the new Aston Martin Virage Volante which adopts the famous hand-built 6.0 liter V12 which is assembled in Aston Martin's bespoke engine plant in Köln, Germany. Aston Martin technicians spend in excess of 20 hours building and testing every engine before sending it to Gaydon where it is mounted as far back in the Virage as possible to contribute to its perfect 50:50 weight balance.

The Virage Volante engine produces 490 hp (365 kW/) and 420 lb-ft (570 Nm) of torque and is identified from other V12s in the family with a black plenum. The plenum houses a new 'five pillar design' increasing the rigidity of the manifold delivering an improved sound quality. The V12 has been designed to deliver over 85% of Virage's peak torque at only 1,500 rpm providing for instant and crucially, real-world useable traction.

The Touchtronic II transmission features as standard, and contributes to Virage's refined power delivery making gear changes tangible yet effortless. Engineered in conjunction with ZF, the six-speed automatic has optimally placed ratios to remain quiet on motorway stretches and deliver an engaging response when driving spiritedly. Controlled through finely polished glass switches depicting P, R, N, D on the facia, the driver can engage automatic mode, and the intelligent control system will decide precisely the right time to change gear in order to achieve the smoothest ratio move and the optimum fuel economy.

In addition, the driver has the option of pulling either of the magnesium leather clad paddles to engage manual mode. Mounted on the steering column so that the driver can always easily locate either up or down, the manual mode gives the driver complete control.

Virage features a Sport button on the facia which when depressed will create a heightened driving experience through faster gear changes and the system will override the automatic change-up so the driver is able to hold the gear on the revolution limiter.


The new Virage Volante features a new Adaptive Damping System (ADS) which has been tuned to suit the particular character of Aston Martin's latest sporting GT. Each damper has five individual computer controlled stiffness settings. This allows the Virage Volante to 'read' the road via strategically placed sensors around the car, constantly adjusting the ride at each corner. Using yaw, accelerometer, steering wheel, throttle and brake (ABS) sensors, the intelligent system can take into account the demands the driver is making of the car at any given time. The Adaptive Damping Electronic Control Unit (ECU) uses these measurements to determine the most appropriate damper settings required at any given time, becoming stiffer for better handling and control during dynamic driving, and becoming softer for greater ride comfort during 'normal' driving conditions.

Increasing driver control further, the glass ADS button on the facia allows the driver to override the system to push the dampers into a firmer range of settings. As the button is depressed, for the initial five seconds, all damper settings are set to their firmest providing the driver a tangible difference. After five seconds the system reverts to the optimum setting within the firmer range resulting in a more focused but comfortable driving experience.

Virage Volante is delivered to customers with Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) brakes as standard - bucking the trend in this market. Critically acclaimed to provide the ultimate in progressive stopping power, the CCM discs take advantage of six piston calipers at the front and four at the rear. Giving the driver tangible control when braking, they are much more resistant to fade than conventional cast iron discs and at 12.5 kg lighter than a conventional system they contribute to a lower unsprung mass aiding ride comfort and handling.

The Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system has been specifically tuned for the Virage Coupe and Volante. A three-stage DSC system allows the driver to tailor the level of electronic intervention according to the type of driving. In default mode, the system is set to 'on' which will limit any tire slip in difficult conditions, and provide the maximum amount of security possible without being intrusive. Holding the DSC button for four seconds will engage 'Track Mode' which delays the electronic intervention further, creating a safe yet purer experience. Depressing the button for a further five seconds will disengage the system completely.

Using knowledge learned from the V8 Vantage Roadster and DBS Volante, the new Virage Volante features a solidly-mounted rear subframe as well as front and rear shear panels which deliver high levels of rigidity. This means that the Virage Volante retains its sporting dynamic characteristics, uncompromised by the open roof. For the first time on an Aston Martin the Virage coupe also uses a shear panel at the rear of the car, again to enhance strength and rigidity.

Navigation System

The fully integrated Aston Martin standard satellite navigation system has been completely revised for the Virage range benefiting from a new system developed in conjunction with Garmin which is operated using the existing joystick and facia buttons. Features include clearer graphics, improved pictorial junction views and safety camera data. The new system maintains its integrated look, out of view beneath the real wood facia, rising seamlessly from the center console at the touch of a button. Control through the aluminum four-way joystick prevents unattractive finger marks on the screen which impede clear vision.

Aston Martin Virage Volante: Photo Gallery, Review (1/2) and Specifications

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