A-Z Supercars: Aston Martin Virage Vantage

Through the 1990s, Aston’s flagship was this twin-supercharged heavyweight

The Virage Vantage was the valedictory blast for old-school Aston, a glorious, evolving celebration of bulk versus brute force. Developed from the slightly underwhelming Virage coupe, which had replaced the classic V8 in 1989, the new Vantage’s pumped-up bodywork and no-nonsense attitude made it a real hero car to a whole generation of British sports car fans.

In its original 1993 form, its quad-cam, 32-valve, 5.3-litre V8, aided by two superchargers, heaved out 550bhp and 550lb ft of torque. Unsurprisingly, it would become known as the V550. It could do 186mph and hit 60mph from rest in 4.5sec, proving that, although it weighed the best part of two tons, a big engine would always get the upper hand – in a straight line at least.

Just to make absolutely sure, Aston uprated the engine to 600bhp and 600lb ft in 1998 (yes, the V600), elevating the claimed top speed to 202mph and cutting the 0-60mph time to 3.9sec. Seldom had anything so heavy moved quite so quickly. Even more surprising, however, was the urgency with which the Vantage could be hustled through bends. Sure, the huge tyres screamed for mercy, but the solution was usually to give the throttle a big old prod to induce a fluid, smoky drift that was far more satisfying than it was painful. When it came to chassis balance, the Aston was easily the equal of Ferrari’s 456.

Forty Le Mans-badged cars were made in 1999 (604bhp, stiffer suspension, upgraded interior, Le Mans-winning DBR-1 aping cosmetics) to send the Vantage on its way and close a remarkable chapter in the Aston story.

It was replaced in 2000 by the all-new Vanquish model, which ushered in the start of a new era for the marque; we would never see the like of the brutish but rather wonderful Vantage again.

SPECIFICATION

Years made 1993-1999 Engine V8, 5340cc, twin superchargers Max power 550bhp @ 6500rpm (V550) Torque 550lb ft @ 4000rpm (V550) 0-60mph 4.5sec Max speed 186mphPrice £87,000 new, £50-100,000 today

Most Popular

Peugeot 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar shown in new images
Peugeot 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar
Peugeot

Peugeot 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar shown in new images

Peugeot Sport’s new wingless Le Mans racer gears up for its competition debut later this year
18 Jan 2022
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring 2022 review – pairing the magnificent 992 GT3 experience to a more subtle audience
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring eCoty – front tracking
Porsche 911 GT3

Porsche 911 GT3 Touring 2022 review – pairing the magnificent 992 GT3 experience to a more subtle audience

There are few, if any, more rewarding, engaging or intense experiences for those in pursuit of the thrill of driving
7 Jan 2022
High performance Aston Martin DBX to be ‘most powerful luxury SUV’ on sale
Aston Teaser
Aston Martin DBX

High performance Aston Martin DBX to be ‘most powerful luxury SUV’ on sale

Aston’s high performance DBX to be revealed on Feb 1 and pack a whole lot more power
18 Jan 2022