The second mid-life tweak of the DB9 Volante has hit the jackpot

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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kdwilcox 14 September 2010

Re: Aston Martin DB9 Volante Touchtronic

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.

PHILBY 14 September 2010

Re: Aston Martin DB9 Volante Touchtronic

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.

crashbangwallop 14 September 2010

Re: Aston Martin DB9 Volante Touchtronic

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