The Aston Martin Virage is on its way to becoming a prized collectible. The V12 powered GT and middle child in Aston’s two-door, four-seater lineup, is being discontinued after only 18 months on sale.
With a 5.9-liter V12 and 490 horsepower, the Virage seems like an attractive proposition, but it is difficult to distinguish it from the other V12 two-doors in Aston’s lineup.
Including the Virage, Aston Martin makes three two-door, four-seat cars with V12 engines; the other two are the more basic DB9 and the sporty DBS flagship. All three are essentially the same car with different options and slightly different styling.
This strategy works for Porsche and its ubiquitous 911, but that’s because the various 911 models are distinct from one another. This is not the case with the Virage. The middle Aston has a nice name, but it only has 20 more horsepower than a DB9, and styling changes that are the equivalent of an aftermarket body kit.
Aston may have intended the Virage to split the difference between the relatively cushy DB9 and the sporty DBS, but those two models weren’t that different to begin with; the DBS is essentially a performance version of the DB9. True, the DBS has 510 hp, compared to the DB9’s 470, but it costs almost $87,000 more. That is a significant difference, but there just isn’t room in between for a third model.
The Virage could have offered a compromise between the more laid back dynamics of the DB9 and the hardcore DBS but, again, it was hard to tell the difference. Despite the wonders that can be done through software tweaks, the Virage was reportedly the worst of both worlds. It had the harsh ride of the DBS, but without that car’s precision.
Aston Martin is preparing a new car, the Vanquish, to replace the DBS. Maybe it will take a crack at another midrange model, or just combine the Virage and DB9 into one replacement for the slot below the Vanquish.
There is one bright side for current Virage owners: their cars will become highly collectible. Only 1,000 Virage coupes and convertibles have been made, so they will be incredibly rare. Car collectors love failures for that reason. Out of context, the Virage’s flaws will be less apparent. After all, it’s still a V12 Aston Martin with the gorgeous styling of a DB9/DBS.