Friday, November 7, 2008

Aston Martin DB9

Aston Martin DB9Although there have been several models produced in Aston Martin's 90-plus-year history, none have been as famous as those with "DB" tattooed to their tails. The Aston Martin DB9 coupe and Volante convertible is in fact the ninth model to be sold with these hallowed letters, and carries on a sterling automotive tradition.

Sold throughout the 1950s and '60s, and then resurrected in 1994, the DBs were and still are some of the most drop-dead gorgeous and performance-capable sports cars on the road. Numerous examples have also been driven by a certain British super spy, making the words "Aston Martin" and "James Bond" synonymous terms. It could easily be argued that thanks to 007, the Aston Martin and DB names have remained relevant enough to survive through decades of tumultuous financial difficulties.

As such, the Aston Martin DB9 simultaneously represents the brand's past and future, with sexy styling inspired by (but not copying) previous models and a high-tech aluminum platform that has underpinned every subsequent new Aston. If this success continues, hopefully we can look forward to new DBs for years to come.

Current Aston Martin DB9

The Aston Martin DB9 was introduced for 2005, offered in 2+2 coupe and convertible body styles. The drop-top version is known as the Volante, which for those who skipped Italian 101 means "flying." All DB9s are powered by a 6.0-liter V12 that produces 450 horsepower and 412 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual or six-speed automatic with paddle shifters are available, and both transmissions are located at the rear transaxle for better weight distribution.

The Aston Martin DB9 comes with a healthy options list and a vast selection of customizable color combinations. The Volante's soft top can be had in seven different colors, while leather is available in so many shades that even Prince could find one that's too garish. All DB9s come standard with 19-inch wheels, xenon headlamps, eight-way power heated seats, a navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity and a 128-watt Linn audio system with six-CD changer and auxiliary audio jack. Aside from the slew of options, the coupe is available with a Sports Pack that provides firmer spring, shock and antiroll bar settings. For those with athletic aspirations, this is definitely a worthwhile add-on.

Not that it comes as a shock, but this 449-hp, V12-powered GT is a rather fun automobile. The bellowing exhaust and voluptuous low-end power can make this civilized tourer into a heathenish beast with just a touch of the throttle. The DB9 changes directions easily and responds to steering and brake inputs with an immediacy not always associated with big, grand touring coupes. Yet, unlike the related but smaller V8 Vantage, the DB9 is not at its best when being flung around twists and turns. We found that the Volante suffers from having its roof lopped off, with a busy ride over rough pavement and a noticeably softer suspension.

Although buying an exotic car with a price tag of more than $100,000 is often a matter of taste, it is hard to argue with the Aston Martin DB9. It may not be as visceral or thrilling as some more sporting entries, but it's almost impossible to match its impeccable style and legendary heritage.

Past Aston Martin DB9 models

The Aston Martin DB9 was an all-new model for 2005. There have been no major changes since.
Aston Martin DB9

No comments: