The introduction of the DB9 back in 2003 marked the beginning of Aston Martin’s 21st century renaissance. The first new model to be built at the company’s headquarters in Gaydon, UK and the first to be built around the rigid and lightweight bonded-aluminum VH architecture; the DB9 was an immediate and unparalleled success, setting a new tone for Aston Martins of the future.

Now, as the 2011 model year rolls in, the DB9 and its Volante cousin are receiving the most significant upgrades since the car’s launch. The upgrades include new styling, engineering and equipment enhancements, and thankfully the DB9’s gorgeous lines have been left unspoiled.

Subtle styling changes freshen the 2011 Aston Martin DB9’s appearance, with a new front bumper, bright finish radiator grille and a revised lower intake all making the cut. New headlight bezels, restyled side sills, silver brake calipers, 20-spoke diamond turned alloy wheels and clear rear light lenses complete the external revisions.

Under the skin the DB9’s passive damping system has been replaced by a new Adaptive Damping System (ADS), improving ride and handling. The ADS system is offered as standard equipment across the DB9 range, encompassing both the hardtop and Volante models. Controlled by a button on the center console, the two-stage adaptive dampers can be switched between their default mode, which is optimized for ride comfort, and a firmer sport mode, which delivers tighter body control and a more responsive feel.

Power comes from the now familiar 6.0 V-12 engine, which develops an unchanged 470 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. Mated to a choice of six-speed ‘Touchtronic’ paddle-shift automatic or six-speed H-pattern manual transmissions, the DB9 can accelerate from 0-60 mph in around 4.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 190 mph.

Other changes include the addition of a new tire pressure monitoring system, updated Bluetooth connectivity, and a restyled Bang & Olufsen stereo.

Expect to see similar changes translate onto the 2011 Aston Martin DBS, with both models expected to arrive in U.S. showrooms in the second half of the year.

[Aston Martin]