From £125,050
The new Aston Martin DB9 might cost a great deal more than the car it replaces, but it is able to ask serious questions of the £190k Vanquish

Our Verdict

Aston Martin DB9
The Aston Martin DB9 is a V12-engined grand tourer

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

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's 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


16 October 2012

£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.


16 October 2012

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?

17 October 2012


Unlike other supercar makers, Aston keeps churning out the same shape with a few minor changes,they keep showing concepts like the Zagato or the limited(?) edition 1-77,so, where's the design going when it comes to there Halo car the DB9 etc?.Trying to be ultra chic and make there product sound really exclusive isn't fooling anyone, there still pedaling a car that is getting forgotten,sure, the get a test in mags, but only for the heritage name, the same things are said about it and that's all,best Aston at the moment looks wise?......the Vantage V8.

Peter Cavellini.

16 October 2012

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


16 October 2012

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)


16 October 2012

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.


17 October 2012

I'm not sure that the 911 GT3 RS would qualify as a genuine GT.....

17 October 2012

Yeah but the Porsche GT3 RS 4.0 has got a huge wing on the back. That's a bit naf around town.

17 October 2012

Jinx59 wrote:

Yeah but the Porsche GT3 RS 4.0 has got a huge wing on the back. That's a bit naf around town.

Wing is for down force around corners.

If it has no wing, it "may" actually go even faster striaght line..:o

16 October 2012

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. 


Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    2 May 2016
    There's lots of work yet to be done, but the Aston Martin DB11's hardware has been signed-off. To experience it, we've driven a prototype
  • First Drive
    1 May 2016
    If you like Minis, going quickly and basking in the sun, then you're in luck; we've driven Mini's new John Cooper Works Convertible on foreign roads
  • Lotus Elise Cup 250
    First Drive
    29 April 2016
    The fastest, most track-focused and most expensive Elise ever made. It's simple, raw and immersive
  • Porsche 911 Targa 4S
    First Drive
    27 April 2016
    Slick looks, open-top fun and 911 handling sound brilliant, but the Targa has historically trailed the Coupé. How does the new model fare on UK roads?
  • Jaguar F-Pace 2.0d
    First Drive
    26 April 2016
    Jaguar's debut SUV wowed us abroad, but does it still impress as much here on the UK's roads?