At the time, the arrival of Ford at Aston Martin must have been greeted in much the same way a sailor shipwrecked for months would view being given unlimited access to the Harrods food hall.

New factory? Check. State of the art manufacturing processes? Step this way. An all-new car sitting on an infinitely adaptable bonded aluminium platform? Ker-ching. And so, with the arrival of the DB9 in 2003, was the modern Aston Martin born.

Geneva Motorshow update: Aston Martin reveals the tech spec and pricing for the DB9's successor - the DB11

It is, however, unlikely they’d have anticipated at the time that, all these years later, the same fundamental car would still be in production.

Ford hit trouble and started frantically chucking brands over the side to keep themselves afloat: Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo and, yes, even Aston Martin – you name it, it was off-loaded.

But while the others were snapped up in short order by vast conglomerates, Aston Martin went it alone. Today, it is the only low-volume yet mainstream premium car manufacturer not owned by a massive automotive multi-national.

So while this leaves Aston to pursue its own agenda and able to make decisions in a fraction of the time possible by rivals with supervisory boards to convince, so too does it lack their access not only to money and the ability to borrow large sums of it, but also to technology, manufacturing facilities and, above all, purchasing clout.

For now, the DB9 continues as if not the best-selling or most exotic Aston Martin, then at the very least the pivot point of the range, the centre of focus and the car that must, above all others, define what an Aston Martin should be.

Top 5 Grand tourers

  • Mercedes-Benz SL

    Mercedes-Benz SL

    1
  • Mercedes-Benz CLS
    Does the Mercedes CLS lead the four-door coupé pack?

    Mercedes-Benz CLS

    2
  • Porsche Panamera
    The Porsche Panamera was first launched in 2009 and revamped in 2013

    Porsche Panamera

    3
  • Audi A7
    The Audi A7 Sportback delivers on all fronts, except for an ability implied in its name

    Audi A7

    4
  • BMW 6 Series coupé
    The 6 Series shares its plaform with models as diverse as the 5 Series and Rolls-Royce Ghost

    BMW 6 Series

    5

First drives

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