The Aston Martin DB9 is a grand tourer launched by Aston Martin in 2004. Available both as a coupe and aconvertible, the DB9 was the spiritual successor of the DB7. It was the first model built at Aston Martin Gaydon facility.
Designed with classic DB elements in mind, the DB9 is made of largely aluminium. The chassis is the VH platform, also found in the Aston Martin DBS. The engine, on the other hand, is the 6.0L V12 from the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish. The most recent Aston Martin has a top speed of 295 km/h (183 mph) and a 0 to 97 km/h (60 mph) time of 4.1 seconds.
The DB9 is rated well by car critics, who appreciate the car's interior and exterior design. Additionally, in spite of the DB9's weaker engine and handling, reviewers liked the car's ride and driving experience. They held issue with the DB9's small rear seats and cargo space and poor satnav, however.
Aston Martin Racing has adapted the DB9 for sports car racing, producing the DBR9 for FIA GT1 and the DBRS9 for FIA GT3. These two cars are lightened DB9s; the interior features are removed and the aluminium body panels are replaced by carbon fibre panels. Additionally, engine has been tweaked to produce more horsepower. The DBR9 has won in several events, including its debut event.
The DB9's styling has also influenced that of Aston Martin's other products- the DBS, the Vantage/ Vantage S, the Rapide, the AM 310 Vanquish and the Virage. Aston Martin recently showed off the CC100 Speedster concept and has released the super exclusive One-77.
The DB9 competes with such cars like the Porsche 911 Carrera, the Ferrari 458 Italia, Audi R8 and the Lamborghini Gallardo.
Development and design
The DB9 was designed by Ian Callum and Henrik Fisker, and was first revealed at the 2003 Frankfurt Auto Show. The moniker "DB" stems from the initials of David Brown, the owner of Aston Martin for a significant part of its history. Despite being the spiritual successor of the DB7, Aston Martin did not call the car the DB8 due to fears that the name would suggest that the car was equipped with only a V8 engine; the DB9 has a V12). It was also reported that Aston Martin believed that naming the car "DB8" would indicate a gradual evolution and misrepresent the car.
The DB9 is the first model to be built at Aston Martin's Gaydon facility in Warwickshire, England. In a 2007 interview, Aston Martin CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez stated that, though Aston Martin was traditionally a maker of more exclusive automobiles, he believed Aston Martin needed to be more visible and build more cars. At launch, Aston Martin planned to build between 1,400 and 1,500 DB9s per year.
The DB9's interior is made of leather with walnut trim. In newer editions, the leather is additionally given hand-stitched accents and joins. On the dashboard, satnav and Bluetooth come standard. A Dolby Prologic sound system can be hooked up to satellite radio, a six-CD changer, an iPod connector, a USB connector, or an auxiliary input jack. This sound system can be upgraded to a Bang & Olufsen stereo.
The coupe comes standard with two front seats and rear seats. A seating package, which removes the back seats and replaces the front seats with lighter seats made of Kevlar and carbon fibre, can be chosen. The boot is 186,891 cm3(6.6 cu ft) in the coupe or 135,921 cm3 (4.8 cu ft) in the Volante.
Made to follow Aston's DB7 model, the DB9 is, according to Aston's initial press release, "a contemporary version of classic DB design elements and characteristics". It retains the traditional Aston Martin grille and side strakes, and the design attempts to keep the lines simple and refined. The boot of the car is pronounced, like that of the DB4 and DB5. At the front, DB9 is without a separate nose cone, and has no visible bumpers. The exterior skin is largely aluminium, though the front fenders and bonnet are composite.
In the revised 2013 model year edition, Aston made small revisions to the bodywork, slightly changing the grille and merging the two sections of the side heat extractors into one. Additionally, Aston Martin added a rear spoiler to the DB9, which is integrated with the boot lid.
The Aston Martin DB9 was initially launched equipped with a 6.0L V12 engine, originally taken from its sister car, the V12 Vanquish. The engine provides 569 N·m (420 lbf·ft) of torque at 5,000 rpm and a maximum power of 456 PS (450 hp) at 6,000 rpm. The DB9 can accelerate from 0 to 97 km/h (60 mph) in 4.7 seconds and has a top speed of 299 km/h (186 mph). The engine largely sits behind the front-axle line to improve weight distribution. Changes to the engine for the 2013 model year DB9 increased the horsepower to 517 PS (510 hp) and torque to 620 N·m (457 lbf·ft). The car's 0 to 97 km/h (60 mph) time decreased to 4.1 seconds and the new top speed is 295 km/h (183 mph).
The DB9 can be equipped with either a six-speed flappy paddle gearbox from Graziano or a six-speed automatic gearbox from ZF. The automatic gearbox increases the 0 to 97 km/h (60 mph) time to 4.9 seconds, though the top speed remains the same. The gearbox is rear-mounted and is driven by a carbon-fiber tail shaft inside a cast aluminium torque tube.
The DB9 is the first Aston Martin model to be designed and developed on Ford's aluminium VH (vertical/horizontal) platform which also underpins Aston Martin's flagship DBS. The body structure is composed of aluminium and composites melded together by mechanically fixed self-piercing rivets and robotic assisted adhesive bonding techniques. The bonded aluminium structure is claimed to possess more than double the torsional rigidity of its predecessor's, despite being 25 percent lighter. Additionally, the steering column, inner door frame, and transmission paddles are made from magnesium, further decreasing the car's weight.
The DB9 also contains anti-roll bars and double wishbone suspension, supported by coil springs. To keep the back-end in control under heavy acceleration or braking, the rear suspension has additional anti-squat and anti-lift technology. The car also features three modes for the tuning: normal, for every-day use, sport, for more precise movement at the cost of ride comfort, and track, which furthers the effects of the sport setting.
The DB9 initially launched with 483 mm (19 in) wheels with a width of 216 mm (8.5 in). These were later changed to 20 in (508 mm) wheels with widths of 216 mm (8.5 in) in the front and 279 mm (11 in) in the back. The tyres are Pirelli P-Zero with codes of 245/35ZR20 and 295/30ZR20. The brakes are carbon-ceramic with six-piston calipers in the front and four-piston calipers in the back.
The Aston Martin DB9 Volante is the convertible version of the DB9 coupe. The chassis, though stiffer, uses the same base VH platform. To protect occupants from rollovers, the Volante has strengthened windshield pillars and two pop-up hoops behind the rear seats. The hoops cannot be disabled and will break the car's rear window if deployed. In an effort to improve the Volante's ride while cruising, Aston Martin have softened the springs and lightened the anti-roll bars in the Volante, leading to a gentler suspension. The retractable roof of the Volante is made of folding fabric and takes 17 seconds to be put up or down. The Volante weighs 59 kilograms (130 pounds) more than the coupe.
The coupe and Volante both share the same semi-automatic and automatic gearboxes and engine. The car is limited to 266 km/h (165 mph) to retain the integrity of the roof. Like the coupe, the original Volante has 569 N·m (420 lbf·ft) of torque at 5,000 rpm and a maximum power of 456 PS (450 hp) at 6,000 rpm. The 0 to 97 km/h (60 mph) is slowed to 4.9 seconds due to the additional weight. On newer models, like the coupe's, the Volante's horsepower and torque have increased to 517 PS (510 hp) and 620 N·m (457 lbf·ft) respectively.
To commemorate Aston Martin's GT1 victory at the 2007 24 Hours of Le Mans, Aston Martin released the DB9 LM to be available in the first quarter of 2008. The DB9 LM comes standard with the DB9's optional sports pack and is only available as a semi-automatic coupe. The LM is only available in Sarthe Silver, named after the Circuit de la Sarthe, where Le Mans is run, and has red brake calipers, a chromed mesh grill, and a special black leather interior. Only 124 DB9 LMs were made.
DB9 Carbon Black, Morning Frost, and Quantum Silver
Following the success of several special edition models of other Aston Martin cars, like the V12 Vantage Carbon Black and DBS Carbon Black, Aston Martin announced three special edition models of the DB9 in 2011: the DB9 Carbon Black, Morning Frost, and Quantum Silver. All three models are denoted by a sill plaque bearing their respective names. All three models have the same 6.0L V12 engine as the base DB9, which produces 477 PS (470 hp). All three models are available both as a coupe and a Volante.
The DB9 Carbon Black, like its name suggests, has a black paint job and interior. This includes a black center console and interior door handles on the inside, and black grills, a black tailpipe, and black 483 mm (19 in) 10-spoke wheels on the outside. The interior also has numerous add-ons to make the car more sporty, including silver stitching for the leather and a polished glass gear stick. The exhaust has been modified to create a different sound to add to the sporty feel. The Carbon Black is only available as a six-speed semi-automatic.
The DB9 Morning Frost's paint job is likewise like its name suggests: pearl escent white. However, on the inside, the Morning Frost is fitted with metallic bronze leather and a black center console and interior door handles. On the outside, the Morning Frost has silver 483 mm (19 in) 10-spoke wheels, silver brake calipers, and silver grilles. Like the the Carbon Black, the DB9 Morning Frost has a six-speed semi-automatic transmission.
The DB9 Quantum Silver uses a silver paint job also found on the Aston Martin DBS in Quantum of Solace, hence its name. Inside, the Quantum Silver shares the black center console and leather. On the outside, it also has black grills and 483 mm (19 in) wheels. The Quantum Silver has the same semi-automatic transmission as its counterparts, and shares a modified sports exhaust with the Carbon Black.
The DB9 has been adapted for use in sports car racing by Aston Martin Racing, a collaboration between Aston Martin and Prodrive. Called the DBR9, the car debuted in 2005. It retains the DB9's 6.0 V12 engine basic parts, but the car has been extensively modified to decrease its weight as well as to improve performance. Most of the car's aluminium body panels have been converted into carbon fibre panels, and several external features, like a front splitter and a rear wing, have been added to increase the car's downforce. Inside, the DB9's interior has mostly been scrapped to save weight. Likewise, though the suspension's layout remains the same, it has been improved to racing specifications. The brakes are upgraded to Brembo carbon-carbon disks and six-piston calipers. The transmission in the DBR9 is a Xtrac six-speed sequential manual, containing a Salisbury friction-plate limited-slip differential, and the prop shaft is also made of carbon fibre. The engine modifications allow the car to develop 634 PS (625 hp) and 746 N·m (550 lbf·ft) of torque; that power, in addition to the lost weight, allows the DBR9 can go from 0 to 161 km/h (100 mph) in 6.4 seconds.
The DBR9 won in its debut at the 2005 12 Hours of Sebring, and has gone on to take wins in the American Le Mans Series, Le Mans Series, FIA GT Championship, as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Aston Martin Racing also developed a different car following FIA GT3 regulations. Called the DBRS9, the car shares carbon fibre bodywork and the chassis and suspension layout of the DBR9. While the engine has also remained the same, it has been tuned to develop 527 PS (520 hp). The DBRS9 can be equipped with either a six-speed H-pattern gearbox or a six-speed sequential box and has a 0 to 97 km/h (60 mph) time of 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 314 km/h (195 mph).
The DBRS9 competed in several endurance races, including the 24 Hours Nürburgring, Spa 24 Hours, and Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race. The car additionally raced in the FIA GT3 European Championship for which it was designed before being replaced by a GT3 version of the V12 Vantage in 2011.
Not only a race-ready car, the DBRS9 was made available to consumers and included an adjustable driver's seat and steering.
Car critics have generally rated the DB9 coupe and Volante well, praising the car's luxurious interior and exterior design. On the British automotive show Top Gear, the DB9 is thought of highly. Notably, on the show's "Cool Wall" segment, the presenters called the DB9 "too cool" for the wall and gave it its own category, dubbed the "DB9 Sub Zero Fridge", a mini-refrigerator containing the car's card. While reviewing the Volante, Richard Hammond called the interior of the DB9 "one of the best known to man". He felt that the car was less stiff than the coupe, however, to the point that the car was "wobbly".
Both Edmunds.com and Road and Track critiqued the DB9 for not having as good handling as other sports cars, noting that the car isn't stiff enough. However, Edmunds noted that while the Mercedes-Benz SL600 and SL55 AMG were objectively better cars, the DB9 was more desirable. When compared directly against other cars, like the Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet and the Ford GT, the DB9 was ranked poorly, though the reviewer noted that comparing it against faster cars "highlighted its shortcomings". Likewise, when compared to the Bentley Continental GT, Mercedes-Benz CL600, and Ferrari 612 Scaglietti F1, the DB9 ranked poorly again, though reviewers said that "despite its problems, the DB9 would be their personal choice". The issues with stiffness were largely fixed by later iterations of the DB9, however, as noted by Autoweek and Edmunds.
The DB9's interior has been called "regal" and "dazzling", with Edmunds saying, "words like 'rich' and 'crafted' just don't cut it, though 'decadent' and 'sculpted by the Almighty himself' get close". Critics liked the comfort of the almost racecar-like driver's seat. Reviewers complained about the back seats however, with Forbes saying "think of it more as a padded parcel shelf". Likewise, reviewers complained that the space for cargo was limited, though many quipped the small back seats could help hold luggage.
Another common complaint was car's poor satnav system, which Automobile Magazine called the car's "Achilles heel", noting that "selecting a route is painful at best". Newer models still contain old satnavs that are outdated and difficult to figure out.