Objects of desire: Virage Volante

What constitutes good design, and is this mutual to desirable design? This is what crossed my mind as I glanced at the Aston Martin Virage Volante test car that was delivered to our London office – the Lightning Silver coloured soft-top oozing the sort of unfussy elegance this marque has mastered.

The strong James Bond connection clearly helps boost Aston Martin’s persona, yet the collection on the whole never fails to deliver the promise of a special ride. I say special as Aston Martin cars are arguably not as pure to drive as some of their German siblings, but what makes these cars so apparently desirable is that they are sold in medium volumes and therefore have the added bonus of exclusivity. Plus under the watchful eye of design director Marek Reichman they are exceptionally well executed inside and out.

Sitting somewhere in between the luxurious DB9 and the sporty DBS the Virage is the latest addition to the family. This sporting GT comes in both coupé and convertible – Volante – versions and is clearly a subtle stylistic evolution of one of Aston Martin’s most perfect creations, the original DB9.

At the front sits the revised front grille and stretched jewelled LED headlights. It shares the classic proportions of its siblings, and the profile is certainly handsome – its streamline look suggesting fluid movement.

The cabin shares this simplicity in design in that without quite knowing why you feel utterly comfortable and at home. Our test car had hand-stitched Aurora Blue leather seats with contrast silver coarse stitch, the soft leather extending to the door panels. The dash sported a Piano Black veneer and the signature Aston Martin glass buttons – the ambiance sporty and driver-focused enough without feeling too masculine.

The navigation system has also undergone a much-needed upgrade – essential in this increasingly technologically driven car world. And needless to say this is a fast car. Underneath the skin sits a powerful 6-litre V12 motor that provides 489bhp at 6500rpm, speeding from start to 62mph in just 4.6 and reaching speeds of up to 186mph.

The Virage is perfectly proportioned and oozes elegance. It is sharp, fast and a breeze to manoeuvre around the open country roads where we headed out from the confines of London.

Nargess Shahmanesh Banks

Read my interview with Marek Reichman on the small Aston Martin Cygnet city car here and a drive around the city for the Aston Martin Magazine.

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