Aston Martin Virage Volante - iDrive

Fulfilling fantasies while leaving reality in the rear-view mirror

Aston Martin may be on a roll with a new town car, a family friendly hatchback and an expansion in China after some tough years at home, but it’s the company’s new two-door Virage that, in glossy poster form, will occupy boys’ bedroom walls until an all-new range is launched in 2013.

It sits somewhere in between the luxurious DB9 and the sportier DBS, retaining the aggressive styling and breathtaking performance of the latter with the elegance of the former. As I eased it out of the company’s factory i

Warwickshire, the desire to drop the soft top, unleash the noise and indulge all my boyhood motoring fantasies in one go is just too strong to resist. The Virage, thanks to Aston’s clever chassis design is an evolutionary step but it doesn’t disappoint. Dare to take it all the way to the rev-limit and the engine’s guttural rasp gives way to a volcanic whine before what seems like a barrage of small-arms fire erupts. Press the dashmounted sports button and the 6.0-litre V12 jumps forward again, gear changes become more aggressive and already precise corning becomes more determined. But drop back the revs, reattach your retinas and you’re an adult again. The Virage is never going to be ideal for long distances or city runs (it’s extremely wide) but drive it sensibly and it becomes a comfortable cruiser. Criticisms? It costs six times the average salary, which in 2011 is embarrassing, gets about 15 miles to the gallon (also embarrassing), the rear seats are not designed for humans and some radio controls were unreliable. But this is a glamorous convertible designed to fulfil fantasies, ignore realities, disregard sensitivities and break bank balances. In those terms, it excels

ASTON MARTIN VIRAGE VOLANTE

Price: £157,995

Engine capacity: 6.0-litre V12

Power output (PS @ rpm): 490 @ 6,500

Top speed: 186

0-60 mph (seconds) 4.6

Fuel economy (mpg) 18.8mpg

CO2 emissions (g/km): 349



THE COMPETITION

The Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 offers even more power, while the Ferrari California wins the style stakes

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