Steve Sutcliffe
16 October 2012

What is it?

This is the car that marks the end of the road for the short-lived Virage but, claims Aston, also fills the gap “perfectly” between the entry level V8 Vantage and the new Vanquish at the top of the range. It’s a heavily revised but also more expensive version of the DB9, it costs an eye-watering £131,995 and it boasts a rousing 510bhp at 6500rpm.

That’s good enough to send the new, 1785kg DB9 to 62mph in just 4.6sec and on to a top speed of 183mph. Compared with the previous car, CO2 emissions have dropped a touch to 333g/km, which is useful, although the capacity of the V12 remains at 5935cc with torque rising slightly to 457lb ft at a 5500rpm.

The styling upgrades are as obvious as they are beautiful in the metal. Overall the new DB9 has more than a whiff of the Virage about it visually, and there’s not a lot wrong with it for that (unless you were one of the 1100 or so buyers who invested in a Virage, in which case you mightn’t be quite so delighted by the latest DB9).

Aston’s designers and engineers are particularly proud about the pedestrian protection that has been achieved despite the car retaining its endearingly long, low-slung bonnet. They’ve also introduced adaptive damping to the all-round double wishbone suspension, which features three different modes – Normal, Sport and Track – that help “transform” the DB9 on the move.

Perhaps even more significantly, carbon-ceramic brakes now come fitted as standard – as they did on the Virage. They help reduce the DB’s unsprung weight while improving its braking performance and longevity, and all without removing any feel at the pedal. These alone help justify the jump in list price compared with the outgoing model.

What is it like?

Very good indeed, even if it is a touch on the expensive side compared with the outgoing car. On the road the new DB9 feels so good, in fact, that it asks questions about the new Vanquish that all but the most committed Aston Martin salesman might well struggle to answer. 

With 510bhp from its heavily revised V12 engine it feels properly quick in the mid-range and makes a suitably monstrous noise to go with it. And in its steering, handling, ride and braking — especially its braking — it is close enough to its big brother that you’d need to drive them back to back and over an identical road merely to tell the difference between them.

Except, of course, there is a difference that separates it from the bigger car, and it’s in the way the DB9 can swap so seamlessly between roles on the move. In truth, it’s a softer, more refined machine than the Vanquish on the road, and in any of its three modes. As a result, it feels more of a genuine GT car.

The DB9 is not a car you climb into and naturally want to start throwing around, even though it reacts a whole lot better than you’d expect if and when you do. It feels almost gentlemanly in its responses when in Normal mode, and with the Sport button disengaged so that the throttle response and exhaust noise are at their most civil.

But if you dial up Track mode a quite fantastic cacophony erupts from the exhausts, the throttle response becomes twice as crisp and the gear changes become snappier, and better, too. And no, there isn’t an option for a manual gearbox, Aston Martin claiming that, with the DB9 in particular, customers simply won’t want a three-pedal transmission when the six-speed paddle shift suits the car’s character so well (and they’re right by the way, no matter what the purists may say).

Should I buy one?

Aston Martin has suffered from some poor press of late, specifically concerning the age and quality of its VH engineering system that was conceived in 2004 and still lies at the heart of its cars today. But the new DB9 – based on the fourth generation of the VH system, the same as that of the vastly more expensive Vanquish – proves that there’s more than a little life left in the idea yet.

Be in no doubt, this is one of the great GT cars of the moment. It’s as modern in its engineering execution but at the same time as endearing in its core appeal as anything Aston Martin has produced since the Gaydon era began all those years ago.

If you’re in the market for this kind of car, it’s hard, if not impossible to think of a better direction in which to aim £132,000. 

Aston Martin DB9

Price £131,995; 0-62mph 4.6sec (claimed); Top speed 183mph (claimed); Economy 19.8mpg (combined); CO2 333g/km; Kerb weight 1785kg; Engine V12, 5935cc, petrol; Installation front, longitudinal, rear wheel-drive; Power 510bhp at 6500rpm; Torque 457lb ft at 5500rpm; Gearbox 6-spd auto

Join the debate


Still don't get the price.

2 years 6 weeks ago

£190K,a lot of money for not a lot,there are cars half the money that give twice the thrill of the Aston,could it be paying for the name on the Bonnet?

Peter Cavellini.


2 years 6 weeks ago

Now all they need to do is make servicing costs sensible and it can be considered a true Porsche alternative!


The problem is performance, not price

2 years 6 weeks ago

Compared to this;

Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0

 Price: £128,466; Top speed: 193mph; 0-62mph: 3.9sec.

(But then, I guess  a 911 is as common as a VW golf these days)


Evolution not revolution

2 years 6 weeks ago

Not sure why performance would be the problem seeing as how these cars are GT's rather than sports cars and are bought for different reasons. Plus porsche are mass produced and part of VW whilst AM are a niche independent player. If speed and acceleration times were the only thing that matters (a bit like who can pee the highest contest eh?) then why would anybody buy a Porsche when the Nissan GTR is about? ANd where can you drive these cars flat out anyway on the public roads in the UK?

AM are not for hooning about, they waft you along in relaxation and with a tremendous sense of occasion. Personally I'd like to see them survive and keep building great cars. Too many detractors who have never driven one, let alone owned one. 

Regarding DB9's syling

2 years 6 weeks ago

Steve Sutcliffe wrote:

The styling upgrades are as obvious as they are beautiful in the metal.

You've got better eyes than me!


Steve Sutcliffe wrote:

Overall the new DB9 has more than a whiff of the Virage about it visually

No kidding! I'd say it's near enough identical.

The Handsome One

2 years 6 weeks ago

This new updated DB9 is a very handsome vehicle more so than the Vanquish I think, I especially like the front three-quarter profile. And the new wheel design is excellent! As for the dash, it looks more 'expensive' than the much more modern Vanquish's, probably because of all the retro-chrome bits. Whether it feels that way in reality, probably not. Overall a fine refinement of a classic profile!



Peter Cavellini

2 years 6 weeks ago

Peter Cavellini wrote:

£190K,a lot of money for not a lot,there are cars half the money that give twice the thrill of the Aston,could it be paying for the name on the Bonnet?

It's actually £132K. It's the Vanquish that cost £190K and the closest rival to the Vanquish is the Ferrari F12 which may offer alot more performance and thrills then the Vanquish but it's a whopping near £100K (with options) more and it's not as refined as the Aston on the road which is where these cars will be most of the time.  

Off course you are paying for the name on the bonnet. What kind of a silly comment is that. Why do you think people buy German cars even though Japanese cars are just as good or if not better for the money?

Jensen LS3/s V Aston DB9

2 years 6 weeks ago
The new DB9 is a stunner, yes it looks very similar to the old model but you can see it is fresher and has much more detail to it's body. 
The recently replaced Bentley Continental is very similar in that it also looks very much like the old model but it is of course very nearly a new car. This Aston is also massively revised.


It is a hard choice for me but I think I'd opt for the Aston over it's direct British competitor. It is all about the shape but the new Bentley Continental is a nice proposition as well. 


I first saw the new DB9 about a week ago. It took a few seconds for me to realize it was the new car, the new front lights cluster being the main giveaway.  When you study the shape more you see more and more changes that become very obvious.

The performance is more than enough for this model of Aston.
Some are moaning about the shape being to like the outgoing model, what did they expect it to look like?

Aston knows exactly what their bulk of customers want, as do Bentley. 


For Aston Martin to make major changes to the DB9's exceptionally beautiful shape would be just stupid. If it ain't broke why fix it as they say. This car's overall shape has many more years left before it needs replacing.
The name, the quality and the beauty wrapped in 500+bhp is all you need to pull up at your hotel in Monaco or on Knightsbridge. 

I think you might also find a lot of buyers of this car do not compare it with other makes, they just want this car for what it is, the perfectly reserved  Aston Martin. They don't want to look a spanner pulling up in a Ferrari shouting it's vulgarity to all around.
This car is a reserved beauty, utter class. It's first owner will not have a sexual inadequacy problem like the second owner of a Porsche GT3 who has outtakes from the Jeremy Kyle show on his big Galaxy Note.


I might well choose this car over the Bentley but for the same money you could have a Jensen Interceptor R LS3 with a supercharger bolted on. see Ebay 300771465006
As for the price, well Aston have got that spot on. This will afterall be their bread and butter sales car.

There is though one serious problem with this car and that is it is very very difficult to choose a colour for something so beautiful and with such classy lines. I think I'd still go for white or maybe orange or maybe the Jensen?

Aston are doing the Porsche design

2 years 6 weeks ago

Yes I'm saying that Aston Martin are becoming one of the elite to most boring design studio's in the world.

They have designed beautiful cars (unlike Porsche), but there is no distinction between the DB9 and the Vanquish apart from a price tag and a bodykit.

How lazy is that.

People liked the old Vanquish as it looked different to the DB9.  

Its Old

2 years 6 weeks ago

I'm sorry but its just too old now, not just the design but the engine as well.  Aston needs a rethink.  If it were my money I would save 30k and buy an XKR-S.  Just me.


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Our Verdict

Aston Martin DB9

The Aston Martin DB9 matches the emotion of a Ferrari but it adds practicality and offers an experience unmatched for versatility and all-round appeal

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