British automaker Aston Martin will debut its own China-focused “Dragon88” line at the impending Beijing Auto Show. It hopes to follow in the footsteps of the Rolls-Royce whose “Year of the Dragon” special edition Phantom that was made specifically for the Chinese market had sold out even with a $1.2 million price tag.
Six dealerships are operating in mainland China. Aston Martin expects that China would be its third-largest market, trailing only the U.S. and U.K., within just a few short years. Aston Martin hopes to affect the rising demand for ultra-luxury vehicles even as other auto segments indicate signs of a slowdown in China.
It has recently opened its biggest showroom in China in Shanghai and has expressed interest in hastening inland expansion in 2012 to cope with rivals such as Bentley and Rolls-Royce. In 2011, Aston Martin sold 190 vehicles in China -- double what it had sold in 2010. It has new showrooms slated for Chongqing, Shenyang and Ordos. Aston Martin said that the new “Dragon88″ special edition would be offered in V8 Vantage S, Virage and DBS models.
Like other China-only special editions, it comes with Chinese cultural references and iconography. The number eight is considered lucky in China. Its paint themes have three versions: champagne gold (which stands for wealth and fortune); volcano red (peace and protection) or amethyst red (dragon fire).
Its interior embroidery features a dragon that takes inspiration from the Nine Dragon Wall at Beihai Park in Beijing. The Dragon88 line also comes with a Bang and Olufsen speaker system, a set of new 10-spoke dragon edition alloy wheels and special black brake calipers.
Aston Martin introduces its new Virage model, a powerful and supremely elegant sports car, yet juxtaposed as understated. The marque gives customers a class-leading range, all possessing different characters but with the same Aston Martin luxury and soul.
The Aston Martin Virage is truly beautiful, prestigious, and dynamic, combining unmistakable sports car performance with comfort, refinement, and luxury. Its front mid-mounted V12 engine delivers torque with outstanding performance, matched with perfect weight distribution and an inherent agility. Needless to say, the Virage provides the ideal balance between trademark sporting luxury and outright sports car performance, as exemplified by contemporary Aston Martins models.
According to Dr. Ulrich Bez, Aston Martin CEO, the carmaker’s hundred years of automotive history demonstrate that evolution finds and provides the best solutions possible, in time. This, he said, is the case with Virage; the sports car is the next stage of evolution in its VH architecture strategy, doing everything with the brand of perfection that people expect today. Ulrich added that the Virage is the perfect balance between opposites.
Additionally, the Virage sits between the elegant DB9 and the overtly sporting DBS, thus giving customers a car that stays luxurious and understated yet offers performance that is accessible for effortless driving.
Aston Martin's hand-built 6-liter V12 engine generates 490 bhp (365 kW/497 PS) and a torque of 570 nM (420 lb. Ft). Through the brand’s carbon fiber prop shaft, this engine is paired with a 6-speed Touchtronic II automatic transmission that is mounted on the transaxle and that contributes to the perfect 50:50 weight balance.