As it did more than a decade ago, the DB9 sits on Aston’s then new VH platform, (it stands for Vertical/Horizontal and refers to the platform’s almost infinite adaptability). The fact that the structure has spawned one car with just two seats (the Vantage) and another with four doors (Rapide) proves the point well.
But versatile to a fault though the platform may be, it also comes with two problems: it’s heavy and space inefficient. Despite using aluminium for both the platform and most of the body, even the coupé DB7 weighs 1785kg, which is about the same as a standard Jaguar XJ or Audi A8 limo.
Nor is the engine in exactly its first flush. It was first shown in 1996 under the bonnet of the Ford Indigo concept and was, in essence, two 3.0-litre Ford Duratec V6 motors joined together.
The first Aston it powered was the DB7, and since then it has been available in a bewildering variety of outputs and specifications in every production 12-cylinder Aston since. And it’s still mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox in an era when you might expect eight speeds or a dual-clutch transmission.
Even so, the DB9 has not been left undeveloped. It’s now fitted with the AM10 version of the 5935cc V12C, which is tuned to provide 510bhp. That's not only 40bhp more than the previous DB9, but also 21bhp more than the Virage which it replaces.
The platform has been looked at, too, and while the DB9 does not benefit from the additional interior space and torsional rigidity of the carbonfibre reinforced structure introduced for the Vanquish flagship, it’s still an impressive 20 percent stiffer.
On the chassis side, double wishbones are of course retained at each corner, but adaptive damping offering three modes, including one for track work, is now standard, while carbon-ceramic brakes drop unsprung weight by 12.5kg.
Visually, it’s remarkable how pure the car still looks given that its original Ian Callum design was modified pre-production by Henrik Fisker, and recently brought up to date and made compliant with the latest pedestrian impact legislation by Marek Reichman.