Merc SLS roadster vs Bentley GTC vs Aston Virage Volante
West Scotland is icy, dark and dangerous this time of year. The perfect place to head with £500k of lairy supercabrio metal...
Posted: 10 Feb 2012
At least, from the outside. To hop from the Bentley into the Aston is to move from five-star hotel to pleasant English B&B. It's by no means bad, simply... dated. Where the Bentley's upholstery seems sourced from the plumpest, cheeriest cows, the Aston's leather is papery to the touch, the product of a herd fed on low-fat lentil soup. Though, at long last, Aston has ditched its ancient Volvo satnav for a shiny new hi-def Garmin unit, the pop-up nav display isn't integrated with the rest of the car's infotainment gubbins, meaning the audio display is confined to a poxy screen at the bottom of the centre stack.
Critically, objectively, it's the same story on the road. Good, not quite perfect. The six-speed autobox - geared for a world where triple-figure speeds are a daily reality, not a distant dream - is mainly obedient, but occasionally gets itself into a lurchy mess on upshifts. In its softer damper setting, the Virage confidently absorbs most lumps, but on truly crap tarmac the Aston can't match the body control of the SLS, which, though stiffer-sprung, always somehow regains composure immediately as the Aston wobbles itself out. Roof up, too, the Virage looks less resolved than either the SLS or the giant-canvassed Conti.