Aston Martin DB9 Review


Whether it's a coupe or a convertible, the Aston Martin DB9 is a two-door, ultra-luxury four-seater--though the drop-top versions earn the suffix of Volante.

First shown in 2004 and sold in the U.S. as a 2005 mode, the DB9 is back for the 2013 model year, after almost being extinguished in favor of last year's Virage. The DB9 lives on instead of that one-year wonder--and it still leads the Aston Martin lineup as its grand tourer, backed by the two-seat Vantage sports car, the four-door Rapide ("sedan" is a stretch), and the carbon-fiber-bodied Vanquish ultra-GT.

As the replacement for the outgoing DB7, the DB9 arrived in 2005 with a definitive break from the past. Previous Astons had been built conventionally, with steel bodies, but the DB9 ushered in a more mainstream use of the bonded-aluminum architecture that Aston had experimented with on an earlier model. (The same technique had been deployed over at sister brand Jaguar on the 2004 XJ sedan.) The DB9 became a more lightweight car, with a much stiffer body structure, which enabled better handling.

The DB9 kept with Aston Martin's GT tradition under the hood, where a 450-horsepower V-12 engine was paired with a ZF six-speed automatic transmission fitted with steering-wheel controls. The DB9 also sported an aluminum control-arm suspension and big 19-inch wheels and tires, as well as a host of electronic safety systems such as stability control. At the time, it was Aston Martin's most sophisticated vehicle yet, and its most capable, with a 0-60 mph time of less than 5.0 seconds and a top speed of 180 mph.

The DB9 carried on largely in this form through the next five years, with a series of upgrades coming in the last three model years. The 2011 DB9 received a new grille design and a new front bumper, along with clear taillamp lenses and 20-inch wheels and tires. The V-12 engine's output reached 470 hp and 442 pound-feet of torque, and 0-60 mph times dropped to less than 4.6 seconds. An adaptive suspension became available, allowing ride comfort to be switched between sport and comfort modes. Tire-pressure monitors were added, and a Bang & Olufsen audio system offered audiophile-quality music.

In 2012, Aston Martin introduced the Virage, a car that was intended as a companion piece and possibly a replacement for the DB9. With details adapted from the One-77 supercar but only slight powertrain differences, the Virage was discontinued after a single model year as Aston Martin instead introduced a refreshed DB9 for the 2013 model year.

Today's Aston Martin DB9 has inherited some of the Virage's details--LED side repeaters and grille, mostly. The powertrain's still a V-12, but it supersedes even the one in the Virage with 510 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque. The interior offers the same hand-stitched leather as the Virage and some glass switchgear--even a pop-out pen from the console.

Both coupe and Volante (convertible) versions are available, with a base price in the high $180,000 range.

For more information, including more photos and specifications, follow The Car Connection's 2013 Aston Martin DB9 page.

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