2012 Aston Martin Virage
2012 Aston Martin Virage. Click image to enlarge

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By James Bergeron

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2012 Aston Martin Virage
2011 Aston Martin V8 Vantage S

Montreal, Quebec – Lucky for me, I share my initials with arguably the most famous fictional character of all time: Ian Fleming’s “Bond – James Bond.” And for one beautiful day in downtown Montreal, I shared his love of Aston Martins as I sampled the all-new Virage and V8 Vantage S. Both were earlier revealed at the Geneva Auto Show in March.

To the untrained eye all Aston Martins look the same, but after a quick sampling it was obvious that, despite their similarity in exterior and interior designs, these are very different cars with distinct personalities and purposes.

First up was the Virage, Aston’s newest offering. This model’s unveiling increases Aston Martin’s product offerings to the largest in the company’s nearly 100-year history. The Virage is available in 2+2 Coupe or 2+2 Roadster configurations – although if I am being honest, I found the back seats are suitable for no more than some groceries or a purse, as I attempted to crawl back there with no luck.

2012 Aston Martin Virage
2012 Aston Martin Virage
2012 Aston Martin Virage. Click image to enlarge

The Virage sits in the Aston Martin lineup directly between the DB9 and DBS, providing customers with a car that remains luxurious and understated but still delivers the increased performance and effortless driving expected of a grand tourer.

Like all Aston Martins, the entire vehicle is hand-built and completely customizable by the customer. The interiors are entirely covered in luxurious leathers and real wood trim. With the act of simply sitting in it, without starting it, it becomes obvious that the vehicle is special with the attention to detail and distinctiveness it exudes.

A hand-built 6.0-litre V12 engine that produces 490 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque powers the Virage. The only available transmission is a six-speed Touchtronic II automatic transmission with steering column-mounted paddle shifters. A newly-developed Adaptive Damping System (ADS) intelligently “reads” the road to provide optimum road holding, adapting to different conditions. The system selects up to five different stiffness settings within normal mode and a further five within sport mode.

2012 Aston Martin Virage
2012 Aston Martin Virage. Click image to enlarge

The standard kit includes Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) brakes, heated seats (sports seats only), cruise control, navigation, Bluetooth and a powerful 700-watt Aston Martin premium audio system.

Starting any Aston Martin is an experience. Insert the key into the dash, hold down and wait for that rumble of the exhaust as it fires up. Unconventional and non-ergonomic is the gear selection, a series of buttons mounted high on the dash, but I suppose one rarely does more than put their Aston Martin into Drive and go.

My time in the vehicle was short but still a pleasure. Most surprising was the ability for the Virage to soak up the crumbling streets of downtown Montreal. Looking for a hot date? This may be your ticket, as the attention was certainly there no matter how understated a colour your Aston may be – there is no denying they are automotive art. Despite their seeming form-over-function design in terms of looks, all the vents louvers and details in the Virage are functional. It proved surprisingly easy to manoeuvre and visibility was shockingly good, although not nearly as good as the sound of the exhaust as it burbled and rumbled, echoing off the buildings in Old Montreal.

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