Aston Martin Virage

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Aston Martin Virage/Vantage/V8 Coupe/V8 Volante LWB
Aston Martin Virage.jpg
1991 Aston Martin Virage
ManufacturerAston Martin
1,050 produced
LayoutFR layout
PredecessorAston Martin V8 Vantage (1977)
SuccessorAston Martin V8 Vantage

The Aston Martin Virage is an automobile produced by British manufacturer Aston Martin as a replacement for its V8 models. Introduced at the Birmingham Motor Show in 1988,[1] it was joined by the high-performance Vantage in 1993, and the name of the standard car was changed to V8 Coupe in 1996.

This V8-powered car was intended as the company's top model, with the 6-cylinder 1994 DB7 positioned below it. Although the DB7 was switched to a V12 engine and claimed a performance advantage, this V8 model remained the exclusive, expensive, and hand-built flagship of the Aston Martin range. It was replaced in 2000 with the Vanquish. By the end of the 2000 model year, 1,050 of all Virage related models had been produced. The V8 Vantage name reappeared on a new entry-level model in 2005.

A new generation Virage was introduced at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, to fit into the middle of Aston Martin's current lineup.


Aston Martin Virage - Flickr - mick - Lumix.jpg
365 produced
Body and chassis
ClassGrand tourer
Body style2-door 2+2 coupé
Engine5.3 L V8
Transmission5-/6-speed manual
3-/4-speed automatic
Wheelbase2,610 mm (102.8 in)
Length4,735 mm (186.4 in)
Width1,855 mm (73.0 in)
Aston Martin Virage engine bay

When compared to the preceding V8, the design was fresh and more modern. It looked more like a Lagonda than the V8 it replaced. Indeed, the chassis was an evolution of the Lagonda's, with a de Dion tube rear suspension, located by triangulated radius rods and a Watts linkage, and a double wishbone unit at the front.[2] To cut costs, many of the less-important pieces came from other companies, as had been the case for many an Aston past. The sleek headlights and taillights were Audi 200 and Volkswagen Scirocco units, respectively, while General Motors, Jaguar, and Ford provided the steering column, climate control panel, and dash switches. In fact, Ford had purchased Aston Martin and Jaguar shortly before the Virage debuted.

Rear view of Virage

The Virage was a large, heavy car in spite of its all-aluminium body, but the 32-valve 5.3 L (5,340 cc) V8 engine's 494 N⋅m (364 lb⋅ft) torque elevated its performance to near super car levels. "Acceleration just never seems to run out", claimed Sports Car International on a first test. They also praised the "eager and quicker revving" nature of the 335 PS (246 kW; 330 hp) engine with its Callaway-designed heads and Weber-Marelli fuel injection. "Nothing sounds quite like an Aston V8," they concluded. The 1,790 kg (3,946 lb) car could reach 158 mph (254 km/h). The automatic could reach 60 mph (97 km/h) from standing in about 6.5 seconds.[1] An upgrade to 354 PS (260 kW; 349 hp) was announced at the 1996 Geneva Show.[3] The actor Rowan Atkinson owned a Virage Coupe which featured on the front cover of Car (magazine) May 1990.[4] In the article he commented how the modern climate control system provided heating efficiency beyond the veteran Aston driver’s dreams and couldn’t believe warm air would emanate from the footwell within 90 seconds of start up.

The five-speed ZF manual was fitted to about forty percent of Virages. The more popular automatic option was Chrysler's three-speed Torqueflite transmission. For 1993[clarification needed] the three-speed was replaced by a four-speed automatic unit.[3] The six-speed manual from the Vantage also became optional late in the Virage's production run.[5]

V8 Coupé
Aston Martin V8 1997.jpg
101 produced
Body and chassis
ClassGrand tourer
Body style2-door 2+2 coupé
Engine5.3 L V8

Works Service[edit]

In January, 1992, Aston Martin introduced a conversion service, transforming the car into a Virage 6.3. As the name implies, the centerpiece of the conversion was a 6.3 L (6,347 cc) V8 derived from the AMR1 racing car. This engine produced 500 hp (373 kW) at 6,000 rpm and 480 lb·ft (651 N·m) at 5,800 rpm, allowing the car to reach 175 mph (282 km/h).

Other changes included 362 mm (14 in) ventilated disc brakes, the largest used in a passenger car until the Bentley Continental GT, and 18 in (457 mm) wheels. Visually, the 6.3 had wide flared bumpers, low sills and air dams, and side air vents.

Virage Shooting Brake

In true British tradition, a shooting brake (estate) version of the Virage was offered in extremely limited numbers. A three-door four-seater, it debuted at the March 1992 Geneva Motor Show. Unlike prior Aston Shooting Brakes, however, the Virage was produced in-house by the company's Works Service, with maybe six constructed in total. The price new was GB£165,000. The cars are believed to have retained Virage chassis numbers, except two that received chassis numbers of the type "DP/2099".[6]

Lagonda Virage Saloon

Another rare Works Service car is the Lagonda Saloon. Only a handful of these long-wheelbase four-door Virages were built as a special customer order, reviving Aston Martin's long-dormant second marque. Introduced in 1994, it was made by Aston Martin Works Service with a 12-inch (30 cm) chassis extension, although two were ordered with an 18-inch (460 mm) extension. The name refers to the four-door Aston Martin Lagonda. The Lagonda Virage cost about GB£250,000 and only eight or nine were made, with some being conversions of regular Virages.

Lagonda Virage Shooting Brake

The five-door Lagonda Virage Shooting Brake debuted at the same time as the Lagonda Virage. It was made by Aston Martin Works Service in only one or two examples, and has been spotted bearing "Vacances" badging at the rear.

V8 Coupé

A less extreme V8 Coupé was also built from 1996, replacing the defunct Virage. Lacking the superchargers and the more aggressive body style of its big brother Vantage, the V8 Coupe produced 349 hp (260 kW) and 369 lb·ft (500 N·m). In total, 101 examples of the V8 version were built from 1996 through 2000.

Virage Volante[edit]

Virage Volante
1995 Aston Martin Virage Volante front.jpg
233 produced
Body and chassis
ClassGrand tourer
Body style2-door 2+2 convertible
Engine5.3 L V8

The Virage Volante convertible debuted at the 1990 Birmingham Motor Show as a strict two-seater, but a 2+2 version was shown at the 1991 Geneva Motor Show.[1] Production examples, beginning in 1992, were all to feature 2+2 seating. Sources claim that between 224 and 233 examples had been produced when the series ended in 1996. The last 11 example (hence the difference between 224 and 233) already had the naturally aspirated 1995 version motor of the later V8 and V8 LWB Volante with the improved four-speed and overdrive Torqueflite automatic and 354 hp (264 kW).

A new V8 Volante Long Wheelbase, with styling based on the V8 Coupe was built from 1997 to 2000 on a lengthened chassis. 63 V8 Volante LWB cars were built.

The final Virage variant to be built was the ultra-limited V8 Vantage Volante of 2000. Nine of these high-performance convertibles were produced, one of them on the long wheelbase chassis.


Vantage/Le Mans
AM Vantage V550.jpg
280 produced
Volante, 2000:
8 SWB, 1 LWB
Body and chassis
ClassGrand tourer
Body style2-door 2+2 coupé
2-door 2+2 convertible
Engine5.3 L supercharged V8

As with many other Astons, a high-performance Vantage model of the Virage would later appear. First shown at Birmingham in September 1992, the Vantage was produced from 1993 through 2000 and, like so many other Aston Vantages, soon became the only variant available. The Virage name lasted just a few years, with its final descendants inheriting the simple and familiar V8 name.

The design was freshened, leaving only the roof and doors of the car intact. The Vantage was wider, lower, and used four round tail lights (rumoured to have been those used on a Chevrolet Corvette for the prototype), and featured new rear suspension and interior electronics. Like the 6.3, the Vantage used record-sized 362 mm (14 in) brake discs and 18 inch wheels.[5]

Vantage 1998

The most radical change to the Vantage, however, was inside the engine compartment. The 5.3 L; 325.9 cu in (5,341 cc) V8 engine now used twin superchargers. Power output topped the industry[citation needed] at 550 hp (410 kW) (and homologated at 585 hp (436 kW)), and torque was equally high at 555 lb·ft (745 N·m) at 4,000 rpm. Top speed was 300 km/h (186 mph), with acceleration to 60 mph (97 km/h) taking 4.6 seconds.[5] For the 1998 V600, the engine was upgraded to 600 hp (608 PS; 447 kW) at 6,200 rpm and 600 lb⋅ft (813 N⋅m) at 4,400 rpm of torque.[7] The earlier version is often referred to as "V550" to set it apart from the later, upgraded models.

In 2000, Aston Martin's "Works Service" unit built nine bespoke Vantage Volantes (convertibles), one of which was built to long wheelbase specifications.

V8 Vantage Le Mans[edit]

Vantage Le Mans

Just before the new European emission and safety regulations came in force, Aston Martin decided to put a memorable end to the V8-Vantage line with a special model called "V8 Vantage Le Mans". Honoring Aston Martin's 1959 victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the prototype of a limited run of 40 was presented in Geneva in 1999 on the 40th anniversary of the win. They were the only Aston Martin to carry the Le Mans name.

The engine delivers 612 PS (450 kW; 604 hp) and 820 N⋅m (605 lbf⋅ft) of torque, supported by a suspension reinforced with special Koni shock-absorbers and stiffer anti-roll bars. The bodywork featured a blanked-out front grille and modified side vents – replicating the side vents of the Le Mans winning DBR-1 – as well as a bigger front spoiler and rear skirt. The interior was reworked with a gigantic rev-counter, a special Titanium finish on some parts, and features such as heated windshield, parking radars, traction control, heated electric seats, and full Connolly leather upholstery with matching Wilton wool carpets. Wheels were the same Dymag magnesium units as seen on most V600s. Performance included a claimed top speed of 200 mph (or 320 km/h) and 0 to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds. The keyholder was in sterling silver and a map from Newport-Pagnell to the legendary Le Mans track was provided in the delivery documents. Each car was made upon special commission and fitted with a number plate indicating also the name of the first owner.

U.S. availability[edit]

The Virage did not become available in the United States until the summer of 1990 and the Virage Volante convertible would become available in 1992. Shooting Brake versions and the Virage Vantage were not officially offered for sale in the U.S. The car's availability ended after the 1993 model year, due to the lack of passenger airbags and inability to meet emissions regulations.[8]

Virage (2011–2012)[edit]

2012 Aston Martin Virage coupé.jpg
Body and chassis
ClassGrand tourer (S)
Body style2-door 2+2 coupé or convertible (Volante)
LayoutFMR layout
PlatformVH Generation II
DoorsSwan doors
RelatedAston Martin DB9
Aston Martin DBS
Aston Martin Rapide
Engine5.9 L V12
Transmission6-speed ZF 6HP26 (Touchtronic II) automatic

In February 2011 it was revealed that a new Aston Martin Virage would be launched at the Geneva Motor Show. The Virage capitalises on the technology from the DBS and unites it with the comfort and refinement found in the DB9 and Rapide. The Virage was intended to sit in the narrow slot between the basic DB9 and the flagship DBS.

It has a 2-seat or 2+2 seating configuration. The Virage's hand-assembled 5.9-litre V12 engine delivers 490 bhp (365 kW; 497 PS) and 570 N⋅m (420 lb⋅ft) of torque. It is capable of accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.6 seconds, and has a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph). The Virage was available in two versions: Coupé or Volante (convertible).[9][10]

In series 17, episode 2 of Top Gear, James May said that the Virage is the "in-the-middle" version that was sharper than the DB9 but not as aggressive as the DBS. However, he was unhappy that the Virage is just "another pointless bone-shaking racing car",[11] and made many complaints about the ride comfort, stating that its lack of comfort was a direct result of it having been tested at the Nürburgring, because too much emphasis was put on handling, and too little effort was put on comfort. It set a lap time of 1:24.4 at the Top Gear test track.

Rear view of Virage Volante

Aston Martin announced that the current Virage would be discontinued after 18 months of production, as the distinctions between it, the DB9, and the DBS were simply too slim.[12]


  1. ^ a b c Büschi, Hans-Ulrich, ed. (March 1991). Automobil Revue 1991 (in German and French). 86. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG. p. 163. ISBN 3-444-00514-8.
  2. ^ "Virage". Autocar & Motor: 29. 15 August 1990.
  3. ^ a b Büschi, Hans-Ulrich, ed. (6 March 1997). Automobil Revue 1997 (in German and French). 92. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG. p. 151. ISBN 3-444-10479-0.
  4. ^ "Car Magazine". May 1990.
  5. ^ a b c Automobil Revue 1997, p. 153
  6. ^ "Virage Shooting Brake in Aston". Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  7. ^ Nick D & Richard Michael Owen, ed. (20 April 2016). "1998 Aston Martin V8 Vantage V600". Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  8. ^ Mateja, Jim (22 June 1997). "DB7 is a shout from long-hushed Aston Martin". Chicago Tribune.
  9. ^ Cropley, Steve (23 February 2011). "Aston brings back the Virage". Autocar. UK. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
  10. ^ Knapman, Chris (23 February 2011). "Aston Martin brings back the Virage". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 10 March 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
  11. ^ Aston Martin Virage test (Series 17, Episode 2). BBC Top Gear. Archived from the original on 8 December 2011.
  12. ^ Ramsey, Jonathon (4 September 2012). "Aston Martin Virage discontinued after short lifespan". AutoBlog. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
1. Kevin Blick (September 1990). "Anglophyle Style". Sports Car International. 6.9: 22–27.
2. Covello, Mike, updated by, Standard Catalog of Imported Cars: 1946–2002, Krause Publications, Iola, WI, U.S.A., 2002.

External links[edit]