We Bond With Gaydon's Gorgeous Tweener "You need to get in touch with Steven Ewing right away," said the instant message. It was from Autoblog editor-in-chief John Neff, and since fleet manager Ewing was online, I pinged him. "Hey, are you available to grab an Aston Martin Virage for the weekend?" he asked. "There's one in New York." Before answering, a flurry of thoughts raced through my head. Did I have plans this weekend? How much would I really get to drive the car? I don't usually go into the city on Fridays. Should I make the exception? Then I looked out my window, saw the Nissan Versa I was scheduled to drive that very same weekend and banged out a brief reply. "Yeah, Steve. I can do that." The Virage, as you know by now, is the newest Aston Martin, resurrecting a moniker last used on a series of the British automaker's V8 cars from the late '80s to 2000. Today's Virage is not part of the current V8 Vantage line, however. It's a "tweener" V12 model that slots above the DB9 and below the DBS. Like them, it's built on the automaker's aluminum-intensive VH architecture and draws power from a 6.0-liter V12. True to its spot in the hierarchy, the engine's 490 horses stake the middle ground between the DB9's 470 and up to the DBS's 510. The Virage's 420 lb-ft torque rating equals the DBS and trails the DB9's 442 lb-ft. Rain-soaked and finished in Tungsten Silver, the Virage looked as if it had been plucked from a shark tank and deposited in front of my office. Sleek and menacing, herds of New Yorkers rushing to lunch as they dodged the raindrops uniformly paused to give the big coupe a look before shuffling along. Later in the weekend, the Virage created another sensation at the local car wash, as patrons and staffers alike reached for their phones to take snapshots of the car. Everyone wanted to know what it was, and then they simply wanted it. I think that there's a photo of the Aston tacked to the establishment's wall now. One person unhappy to see the Virage was the attendant at the first Manhattan parking garage I drove it to. After sizing up the car and realizing what it was, he refused to so much as touch it, much less park it. $232,905 in the metal can be intimidating that way. After doing what felt like a 19-point turn to get the Aston turned around in the tight confines, I could actually sympathize with the guy. I took it to another garage I regularly use, where the smiling attendant (who initially mistook the Virage for a Jaguar) drove off into the bowels of the facility, the V12's exhaust note echoing off the walls as the car disappeared. The Virage's interior is mostly clutter-free. Unlike the similarly priced Bentley Continental GT, the Aston doesn't bother with a multifunction touchscreen that dominates the center stack. Instead, you get …
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