Aston Martin DB9

Fast British Grand Tourer oozes style and class

6.8
wowscore
This is the average score given by leading car publications from 8 reviews
  • Stunning looks
  • Excellent engine
  • Great to drive
  • Looks like the old one
  • Fiddly interior
  • Old fashioned auto-box
 

£140,942 - £165,949 Price range

 

4 Seats

 

19 - 28 MPG

Review

The Aston Martin DB9 could be considered one of the world’s most beautiful cars, and a recent sprucing-up has done little to change that perception.

It may not have changed drastically since its release, but the small tweaks Aston Martin makes quite regularly mean it is still receiving glowing reviews even after all these years. So what should the prospective DB9 customer know about?

After its many years of service, Aston Martin will soon retire the DB9 and replace it with the DB11 – number 10 was only offered to James Bond, unfortunately. Check out everything we know about the upcoming Aston Martin DB11 including gorgeous high-res pictures.

Not a lot has changed in here from the last DB9, save for a few different material options. It’s still luxurious and well-built while the glass buttons and ‘Emotion Control Unit’ (that’s a key, to you and me) give the cabin a special feel. There’s plenty of hand-stitched leather too, and the headlining is trimmed with Alcantara.

Testers say the centre console is “clean and well designed” but a few drivers complain about the cabin’s usability. One says the climate and stereo controls are “fiddly”, while another says they’re “no more legible than they were a decade ago”. That leaves the cabin “as infuriating to operate as it is beautiful to look at”. One reviewer also says tall drivers will still find there’s too little leg room.

The DB9 is “very good” to drive and “a proper GT car.” Leaving the outright performance aside, it’s a car both happy to be pushed through corners or cruise on the motorway. There’s plenty of steering feel (and it’s “not too heavy” either, according to one tester) and good balance.

Selectable Sport, Normal and Track modes let the driver pick his or her ideal chassis setup, though one reviewer comments, “Most of the time, the car’s best left in Normal where true grand touring ride comfort awaits”. Several say it “flows” down a twisty road with very little effort, yet is still equally as happy cruising at speed. The standard carbon ceramic brakes are praised both for their power and their feel – frequently a criticism of older generation carbon discs.

For those in the mood for a more relaxed drive, the DB9 is available as the soft-top Volante model. It doesn’t quite feel as rigid as the coupe thanks to the lack of a roof, but there are few better cars on sale from which to relax and enjoy the scenery.

Always the centrepiece of an Aston Martin, the DB9’s 6.0-litre V12 engine is as highly-praised as ever. It develops 517 horsepower at 6,500 rpm, and 620 Nm of torque at 5,000 rpm. Despite a relatively portly kerb weight of 1,785 kg, it’ll catapult the DB9 to 62 mph in just 4.6 seconds and not stop until it reaches 183 mph – you lose your nerve, or you lose your licence!

The huge torque and the standard six-speed automatic gearbox mean several testers actually found it very easy to drive at low speeds, but there’s always power when you need it. The auto gets mixed reviews, most saying it’s smooth and quick, while others note that it’s a little old-fashioned – fewer gears than many rivals, not ideally geared, and not class-leading in the speed of its changes.

One reviewer in particular sums up the difficulty here: “It’s hard to call a car costing £131,995 value but for a hand-built, ultra exclusive V12 Coupe as beautiful as the DB9, it probably is”. That’s a lot of money by anyone’s standards, but plenty of factors come into play at this end of the market.

Price-wise, a £122,000 Bentley Continental GT V8 is closest, but it’s not quite the driver’s car the Aston is. On the plus side, some say you lose very little to the far more expensive Vanquish – so in that respect, the DB9 is good value.

Aston Martin’s beautiful but identikit range could prove difficult to fathom at a glance. If you want a sportier car, buy the Vantage. If you need more doors, the Rapide is for you. For even more power and luxury, the Vanquish is the one you want. Beyond that, there’s little to note – the DB9 does exactly what you’d expect.

The DB9 Volante starts at £143,495, and is arguably even prettier than the coupe on which it is based. The lack of the roof makes even easier to appreciate the glorious V12, too.

Conclusion

Aston Martin has managed to improve the DB9 over its predecessor, both in the way it drives and impressively, in the way it looks. There are still reservations over some of the cabin design and space, and the six-speed auto is getting on a bit these days, but as sports GTs go there’s little to touch the DB9. It rides and handles well and features one of the world’s great engines.

The looks and the noise of the DB9 would be enough to recommended it, even if the rest of the car was awful. The fact that it is so accomplished in so many areas means that if you can afford it, we can’t help but urge you to buy one.