Julian Rendell
9 May 2006

What's new?

Ever since the Aston Martin DB9 won its first Autocar group test a couple of years ago, the car has been a favourite of ours. Gorgeous styling, luxurious cabin, brilliant engine noise, ease of driving and quality of build have all won it fans.

But there’s always been a mild debate about the ride and handling on UK roads. Is the ride sufficiently composed for a GT? Is the steering sufficiently responsive? And is there enough traction? Privately, even Aston high-ups admit the springs and dampers could be improved.

Which explains why a new Sport pack is now a £2495 factory-fit option on the coupé, which comes with either a manual or auto ’box. The pack gives you lightweight wheels that save 1.5kg per corner, stiffer springs, a thicker front anti-roll bar and an alloy ‘shear’ panel bolted under the front subframe.

What's it like?

Sharper steering is the most obvious improvement, so where a DB9’s steering is mildly anaesthetised, the Sport pack adds feel and responsiveness on turn-in.

Even at lower speeds it’s noticeable, translating into greater driver confidence. As you’d expect, stiffer springs enliven the low-speed ride, but there’s surprising compliance over bigger bumps. Its lively character is maintained on the motorway; keener drivers will love its edge, but those searching for a more relaxing ride won’t be so enamoured.

That lively character defines the back-road drive, too, the car working the driver hard and demanding constant input.

Should I buy one?

We’ve previously described the DB9 as a gentleman’s hot rod. The Sport pack simply makes it even hotter and all the more enjoyable.

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

Driven this week