The DB9 is the backbone around which the rest of the Aston Martin range is built. Andy Enright takes a look at the latest model
Something magical has happened to the Aston Martin DB9. The latest car gets a stiffer chassis, more power, carbon brakes, an updated interior and revised styling but the biggest change is that it’s evolved into the cornerstone of the line-up.
This is no mere facelift. The DB9 gets the latest AM11 iteration of the classic 5935cc V12 engine. It’s the same unit used in the V12 Vantage and a version of it is also plumbed under the bonnet of the latest Vanquish flagship. In that guise, it makes 565bhp but in order to give the range-topper a bit of clear air, this version packs 510bhp which is no small beer.
It’s 40bhp up on the old DB9 and 21bhp clear of the Virage that this car replaces. It really has some substance to it, getting to 62mph in just 4.6 seconds on the way to an electronically-limited top speed of 183mph. What’s more, it might be the best-sounding engine for sale today, including the traditional supercar marques like Ferrari and Lamborghini.
The DB9’s role in the Aston Martin range is as a classic GT car but this version seems to have a sportier edge than before. The chassis is now 20 per cent more rigid and the addition of ceramic disk brakes reduce unsprung weight. Together, these combine to allow the suspension to work a good deal better than before, improving both ride and handling. Adaptive damping plays a significant part in this improvement. The driver can now choose between Normal, Sport and Track modes.
The DB9 got a mid-life facelift in at the end of 2010 with a Rapide-style front under-bumper assembly and sharper-looking side skirts. Those staples of the mid-life facelift, lights, wheels and grille, were also modernised. The latest changes build upon this sharper look and Aston claims that 60 per cent of the body panelling has been revised. So what’s changed? There’s a more pronounced rear boot ‘flip’ to enhance the aerodynamics, bi-xenon headlights, a bigger lower front grille and splitter, zinc bonnet vents, pronounced side strakes and LED side repeaters, with all of these features available in either Coupe or Volante open top body styles.
The latest changes don’t just give the Aston Martin DB9 a new lease of life. They underscore the faith that the company has in this model which has become the fulcrum of their vehicle line-up. It’s easy to see how the DB9 could become Aston’s iconic model in the same vein that the 911 is to Porsche and the SLS is to Mercedes. Yes, sportier models might be offered above and below it, but the DB9 is the serenity at the heart of modern Aston Martin.
The changes to this latest car are welcome in making it quicker, more composed and better looking than ever. The DB9 remains the class of the field, with almost every other pretender falling some way short of its elegance and desirability.
Statistics: Aston Martin DB9 range
Price: £131,995 to £141,995
0-62 mph: 4.6
Max speed: 183
Co2 (g/km): 368
Combined mpg: 18.2
Power BHP: 503
Length (mm): 4,720
Width (mm): 1,627
Height (mm): 1,282
Warranty (years): 3
Service int. (miles): 10,000
Boot Cap. (litres): 172 to 186