What is it?
To call the Aston Martin DB9 GT a run-out model would be a gross over-simplification, but there’s no denying that it will be the last and final version of the seminal V12-powered flagship grand tourer that appeared in 2003 and ushered its manufacturer into the modern era, soon after it had relocated to its present Gaydon factory.
Nowadays, Aston Martin people are busy in the back rooms expanding their model range for the years beyond 2020, yet even after 12 years in production the DB9 shape and specification still look deeply impressive - especially in this GT guise, with a unique black splitter at the front that matches the one behind.
Some will see the DB9 era as a golden period in Aston history and will want to plug into it before it ends. This new GT is for them.
What's it like?
Familiar, mainly, but the DB9 has had huge improvements over the years and this car continues the trend right to the end.
There’s a feeling, typified by the new nav screen, touch-sensitive console switchgear and a myriad more conscientiously applied improvements, that Aston Martin is using this last of the DB9s to ramp up to its replacement, called DB11 (shown at Geneva next March; on sale late in the year), because the DB10 label has already been used up on the forthcoming Bond film.
The 5935cc quad-cam V12 appears for the last time in normally aspirated form, punching out another 30bhp and thus delivering 540bhp at 6750rpm, not far short of the output tipped for the cleaner, twin-turbo version that’s coming next.
But again, there’s a strength and a simplicity about the way this engine delivers its power, good enough to be remembered long after it’s gone. It still sounds wonderful in the cabin and the always smooth power and torque delivery are second to none, even if the paddle-controlled automatic transmission is only a six-speeder as opposed to the eight-slot ’box everyone else is adopting (including Aston itself for the DB11).
There aren’t many other headline changes in the GT, barring the name, but the colour and trim options are modern and varied (Aston prides itself on meeting customers needs here). The looming fascia and somewhat confined cabin don’t really match the best modern designs, but the whole thing is built with obvious love and care, and it’s a pleasure to run your eye along the flawless hand-stitching of the dash