Power and elegance

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 September, 2011, 12:00am


Aston Martin wowed the Shanghai Auto Show in April with the Vantage S, four-door Rapide and its flagship One-77. Owned since 2007 by a consortium of two major investment houses - Investment Dar and Adeem Investment based in Kuwait - the British marque is thriving on the mainland, where sales increased by 25 per cent last year.

In July, Aston Martin's CEO Ulrich Bez said the marque would further develop 'a new dedicated organisation for China and establish a regional office in Shanghai'.

The spearhead of the marque's mainland marketing thrust is arguably the Virage, which was also unveiled at Shanghai Auto and launched in Hong Kong last month.

Named after the French word virage, meaning a bend, turn, or shift in orientation, the Virage is a sleek, powerful ride with swan-winged doors, a One-77-inspired grille, and a light, bonded aluminium body that sells for HK$3.488 million at dealers Aston Martin Hong Kong.

The four-seater combines the elegance of the DB9 and the power of the DBS. Its front mid-mounted V12 engine thumps 490 brake horsepower and wallops 570Nm of torque via a carbon-fibre prop-shaft and a six-speed Touchtronic II automatic transmission. Such engineering enables the Virage to reach 100km/h in 4.6 seconds and a top speed of 299km/h, yet it is also easier to drive with a 50:50 weight balance and a new adaptive damping system that 'reads' and adapts to the road for the best handling settings, the marque says.

The Virage has Carbon Ceramic Matrix brakes as standard as they are powerful, resistant to fade and much lighter than conventional cast-iron discs, Aston Martin says.

The weight saving at each wheel improves comfort and handling and their 'lower rotational mass also provides improved acceleration', the marque says.

The Virage has a lavish, hand-crafted interior, a new fully integrated satellite navigation that simplifies operations through a fascia-mounted joystick, and new 6.5-inch high-resolution display screen.

The model is also equipped with heated sports seats, cruise control, satellite navigation, Bluetooth telephone and the 700W Aston Martin Premium Audio System with iPod integration, the marque says.

'Customers who want to tailor-spec their cars today will see deliveries for Christmas/New Year,' says Gordon Choy, Aston Martin Hong Kong's spokesman.