In an industry where a five-year-old design is considered out of style, few products can soldier on with graceful elegance quite as well as Aston Martin’s DB9. Now entering its ninth year on the market, the Aston Martin DB9 has managed to outlive the Aston Martin Virage, which vacates the premises in 2013 after just 18 month on the market. Proving that its short life was not in vain, the Virage bequeaths upon the DB9 most of its tasteful upgrades.
Built as a luxury grand tourer, the Aston Martin DB9 (which has endured in a single generation since its introduction eight years back) is available in both coupe and Volante (convertible) trims. Both come powered by a 6.0-liter V-12 engine, now rated at 510 horsepower (up 40 horsepower from last year) and bolted to a six-speed Touchtronic automatic gearbox equipped with paddle shifters. The combination is good enough to get the car from 0-60 mph in around 4.6 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 186 mph. Handling is purer than classic GT, with crisper turn-in and higher cornering limits, but true sports-car duties at Aston are left to the smaller Vantage.
Under its shapely body, the DB9 relies on a a bonded and riveted aluminum frame to reduce weight and add stiffness. Exterior styling is elegant, and the car can’t be mistaken for anything but an Aston Martin. Its designers clearly spent time obsessing on details, too; the door handles are recessed, while the hood descends clear to the front edge of the car to avoid a bumper cut line. These may be minor points, but they speak to Aston Martin’s attention to detail.
Inside, the same upscale club-room feel predominant throughout Aston Martin’s product mix applies to the DB9. Leather and wood abound, and Aston Martin has only begrudgingly added modern amenities like infotainment and navigation systems. Unlike the LCD instrument display used in the Jaguar XJ, technology is used to supplement tradition in the DB9, not replace it.
Front seats are comfortable enough for occupants of all shapes and sizes, though the rear seats are more of an afterthought than a feature. Only those short of height and inseam need to apply for admission to the rear seats, which are best reserved for children, pets or emergency use only.
For 2013, the DB9 gets automatic headlights and a rearview camera system, as well as more power and a lower price tag (which now begins at $185,000, excluding destination charge). A carbon fiber trim package adds a bit of flair both inside and out, but we think your money would be better spent on options like the 1000-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system, or even the distinctive leather headliner available on coupe variants.
For more on the 2013 Aston Martin DB9, see our comprehensive review on The Car Connection