Matt Prior
19 June 2010

What is it?

A lightly revised version of Aston Martin’s forgotten coupe. It’s easy to overlook the DB9 these days, thanks to sportier models stealing its thunder – the DBS at the top end and the V12 Vantage closer to the DB9’s price. But the suave, elegant DB9 has just been updated for the 2010 model year.

Changes are light – there are Marek Reichman-tweaks to the original Ian Callum shape, including a new front bumper incorporating a more Rapide-esque nose, clear rear light clusters and a more defined treatment on the side-skirts.

Mechanically there’s just the one change. Adaptive dampers are now fitted, as standard on both the coupe and Volante convertible. They have two modes – normal and sport, thus rendering the old optional Sport Pack redundant. Accordingly, it has been dropped.

What’s it like?

Still quietly lovely. The DB9 has been the subject of several subtle, model-year changes during the years so, even though it first appeared in 2003, it doesn’t feel outdated.

A positive effect of basing all its cars on the ‘VH’ extruded/bonded aluminium architecture is that when Aston makes a significant engineering change, it can be rolled across all models.

Early DB9s, and its sister models, suffered some unwanted steering kickback. About a year ago a new cross-member behind the dash was developed – much stiffer than the previous one - and the steering column is mounted to it. As a result, as in the Rapide and the Vantage to which the design is also fitted, it much reduces knock through the steering wheel.

Replicate that kind of tweak elsewhere - for the engine management and gearbox software on the six-speed auto of our test car, for example - and you have a DB9 that feels as good as the other, newer cars in Aston’s range.

So the DB9 rides with fluidity, and steers precisely, smoothly and with decent feel. I prefer the auto to the manual in the DB9 – it suits the car, and it’s a super unit, with tight control over the torque converter so it never feels slushy. The engine has a decent spread of power and fine response, too. More torque wouldn’t hurt, but it’s an engine that sings.

The DB9 handles, too. Grip is good and it’s approachable in the style of the best long, front engined, rear drive GT cars.

If there is a place where the Aston is beginning to feel its age, it’s in the cabin. Nothing wrong with the driving position or the general feel of construction, but the layout and design could be clearer.

Should I buy one?

I would. What’s reassuring is that it’s more mature and relaxed than the V12 Vantage. Despite running on very similar architecture the two feel sufficiently different – the Vantage the sports car, the DB9 every inch the grand tourer.

At around £120,000 the DB9 sits between a few rivals – more expensive than Porsches and Maseratis (and, of course, the Jaguar XKR), but cheaper than any Ferrari. Driving one again is also a tidy reminder of what good value it represents next to Aston’s own DBS. As exclusive GT cars go, the DB9 is still right up there.

Join the debate

Comments
15

Re: Aston Martin DB9 facelift

4 years 21 weeks ago

That's a new one. Good value compared to another AM

Re: Aston Martin DB9 facelift

4 years 21 weeks ago

Facelifted or not the DB9 would be my pick over the DBS and the V!2 vantage. But Aston needs to come up with something new forget the rapide nonsense and make a new gran tourer and a genuine sports car, the one that the V!2 vantage tried to be and failed for me at least. The revised DB9 is still a looker but you could save 30k and go for the maserati gran turismo s. It's hard to think how you will regret it.

My main concerns over the current aston martin range is that you pay so much money and you get cars with no superlatives. There isn't a single area that astons lead the way to the competition apart of the looks of course but this has seriously also start to fade away...

Re: Aston Martin DB9 facelift

4 years 21 weeks ago

Still looks brilliant. Shame they stick with the crummy Volvo satnav.

Re: Aston Martin DB9 facelift

4 years 21 weeks ago

I suppose they will be rolling these styling tweaks out to the Toyota iQ too?

Re: Aston Martin DB9 facelift

4 years 21 weeks ago

This car is just stunning. Every time I look at it it takes my breath away and now, after the facelift (however tiny), it's more beautiful than ever...

Do any of you guys know when a new one is coming up? I mean a completely new model

Re: Aston Martin DB9 facelift

4 years 21 weeks ago

"As exclusive GT cars go, the DB9 is still right up there". Does that mean then that against more 'mainstream' rivals, such as the Jag XK, Merc SL, 6-Series and Maserati, the DB9 isn't quite so good?

Re: Aston Martin DB9 facelift

4 years 21 weeks ago

MattDB wrote:
Still looks brilliant. Shame they stick with the crummy Volvo satnav...
...And grey all-plastic column stalks from the Jag S-type & previous XJ.

Re: Aston Martin DB9 facelift

4 years 21 weeks ago

And I think it looks great in white.

Re: Aston Martin DB9 facelift

4 years 21 weeks ago

I bet Nick will come along in a minute to piss on the party.

Now, I do have some criticisms of this car:

  • The cabin design seems not to be quite up to scratch, and the satnav is awful
  • I can't see a gearlever for the autobox - I think I'd want a manual, though.
  • The gearlever for the manual will look terrible, if it's the same one that they use in their other models. I'd change it.
  • I'm not quite sure about the little air intakes either side of the main one, low down at the front. I think they detract from the shape of the main lower grille, which matches that of the traditional Aston grille above.
  • I think the headlamp covers are a bit on the large side. They don't actually NEED to be that big. However, I don't have time to whip up a Photoshop job to see what it would look like with smaller lamp covers, so I'll reserve judgment for now.
  • I still don't like the body-coloured fillet in the tail-lights, and the individual sections of the tail-lights are arguably too small. I don't care how high-intensity the two LEDs you use for the reversing lamps are, there's no replacement for sheer area.
  • Also just noticed there are no front fog/driving lamps! I'd have expected such things to come as standard on a car this expensive...
What cannot be avoided, though, is that, for a front-engined V12 GT, it is fabulous value for money. Since Jag no longer make a V12, and the nearest equivalents from Mercedes-Benz are the smaller and less exclusive SL and the enormous CL, and BMW's (rather lovely) 8-series has been out of production for a good few years (which is a pity - it really was right up there with Aston and Ferrari), and I think the Bentley Conti is too VW-ish, and has a W12, not a V12, and is too heavy and too footballer-y - so that leaves this with only one real rival: the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, which is MUCH more expensive.

Re: Aston Martin DB9 facelift

4 years 21 weeks ago

So if you exclude all the competition, too big, too small, too successful, you consider the DB9 as fabulous value for money. If you count in the much more powerful 2x2s that can compete Merc SL600, Merc AMG 63, Porsche 911 Turbo and the too footballer Bentley Continental (Wayne Rooney has Aston Martins - enought to put off many buyers) they are all much more powerful from smaller or diffeent engines and cheaper. However no doubt they fail to fit into this list as your buyer seeks a V12 front engined model.

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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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