Julian Rendell
3 September 2010

What is it?

Strange how car makers often leave the best until last. Here’s Aston Martin’s five-year-old DB9 Volante going through its second mid-life tweak, with just a couple of years of life left, and it has hit the jackpot.

The changes are minimal, really, but what an effect. Visually, there are a few external styling tweaks to the grille, bumpers and tail-lights.

But crucially, the Volante also gets new computer-controlled Bilstein dampers, managed by mapping that shows Aston’s engineers can create a nicely balanced yet compliant chassis still capable of very good body control.

What’s it like?

In so doing, they’ve fed some Jaguar-style sophistication into the DB9’s chassis. What a contrast to the first-gen Volante, a soggy and ill-disciplined machine.

The foundations for this transformation were laid in the DB9’s 2010 model year revisions late last year.

A new cross-car beam with beefed-up support for the steering column sharpened the steering and a shear panel stiffener for the front subframe eradicated front-end waywardness.

Aston introduced Bilstein dampers in place of Multimatic units back then, but they still operated with distinct bump/rebound steps. And there was just one setting. For better body control, you needed to spec the sports chassis, with the inevitably compromised ride.

These new infinitely variable dampers get rid of those steps, and bring a much better standard setting or firmer ride at the touch of a button.

For some drivers, the body control still might not be sufficiently Germanic and iron-fisted, even in the sports setting. But everyone else will regard it as a great step forward.

In fact, the ease with which the Volante now carries speed through corners throws the spotlight on the ZF auto, which, at times, seems non-plussed by the Volante’s new alacrity.

It’s a minor point, but it gives clues to where Aston will be going with the new DB9, out around 2012/13. That car will be based around today’s underpinnings.

Should I buy one?

If Aston can squeeze further significant improvements out of the existing bonded alloy chassis, as it has in the 2011 model year cars, then the DB9 has a fascinating future. But right now, this is the best DB9 Volante you can buy.

 

 

Aston Martin DB9 Volante Touchtronic

Price: £134,445; Top speed: 190mph; 0-62mph: 4.6sec; Economy: 19.4mpg; CO2: 345g/km; Kerb weight: 1800kg; Engine type: V12, 5935cc, petrol; Power: 470bhp; Torque: 443lb ft; Gearbox: 6-speed automatic

 

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Comments
7

Re: Aston Martin DB9 Volante Touchtronic

4 years 1 week ago

Umm, just thumbed through the pics that accompany this article and I don't think that's an engine bay containing a 6.0-litre, longitudinal V12...

Re: Aston Martin DB9 Volante Touchtronic

4 years 1 week ago

6th.replicant wrote:
Umm, just thumbed through the pics that accompany this article and I don't think that's an engine bay containing a 6.0-litre, longitudinal V12...
You mean that the 6.0 Aston engine doesn't look exactly the same as a 1.33 Toyota Transverse mount with an Aston badge on it? Hmmm. I think they had me with my DB9 - I wondered why it sounded like an IQ...

Re: Aston Martin DB9 Volante Touchtronic

4 years 1 week ago

Autocar wrote:
The changes are minimal, really, but what an effect. Visually, there are a few external styling tweaks to the grille, bumpers and tail-lights
I'd forgotten how lovely and elegant this car looks as most magazines have concentrated on the DBS, V8 Vantage etc etc which are all a bit more muscular in their styling. This is just beautiful.


Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

Re: Aston Martin DB9 Volante Touchtronic

4 years 1 week ago

Same again styling (One for those Porsche haters)

A touch slow for such a big engine

Still look gorgeous in dark metallics

I will probably prefer the cheaper facelift XKR---just as good looking with a lot more punch and tech!

Re: Aston Martin DB9 Volante Touchtronic

4 years 1 week ago

Too fat, too slow, too expensive and too late.

Re: Aston Martin DB9 Volante Touchtronic

4 years 1 week ago

The only car Aston Martin builds that makes a lot of sense is the DBS not because is perfect only because it has no direct rivals to compete againist. DB9 is a looker but after 7 years I got used to it. For me it has aged badly, mercedes SL looks fresher though older and I dare to say I would prefer even a 911 over it. It maybe be allmost a 50 year old shape but somehow you never get tired of it.

Re: Aston Martin DB9 Volante Touchtronic

4 years 1 week ago

For me,the best Aston is the V8 Vantage,they did a long term test

in the mag,they were of the opinion that it is a very good car indeed.

You can use it every day,as they did,and they had no problems,as

for the way the car looks,well,thats down to opinion.

To my eyes the 911 is so bland its a joke,a big joke,the Aston

however still looks very good dispite the fact it is a few years old.

Aston do not have the money to give us any thing new at this

time,so we will have to put up with what we have for a few more

years i think.

For me that will not be too much of a problem.

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Aston Martin DB9

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