Saying goodbye to the Aston Martin DB9
Source : Saying goodbye to the Aston Martin DB9
The last hurrah for the Aston Martin DB9 is actually This specific, the 540bhp GT. We take one for a final fling in Wales to savour what still makes a DB9 so special
There is actually no convoluted plan. Normally for a ‘goodbye’ drive of a car, we’d go somewhere regarded as marginally relevant.
Start at the Aston Martin monument near Aston Clinton, or go to that will road inside film Skyfall, or something convoluted or tenuous like that will. I can’t be doing with that will ‘take the item to This specific bit, pose for a poignant picture’ malarkey.
The Aston Martin DB9 is actually a car I’ve just always liked driving. along with also so to mark the fact that will the item’ll disappear coming from production next year, along with also that will This specific design – the DB9 GT – is actually meant to be “the best a DB9 can be”, I’m just going to take the item for a drive. Get up early, travel well, enjoy the sunset, come home. Simples.
The GT is actually the end of a 12-year journey for the DB9, the ultimate variation inside only proper sense of the word. The DB9 itself could hardly be more significant to Aston. the item’s the first of the VH architecture cars, the aluminium underpinnings whose metaphorically flexible ‘vertical’ along with also ‘horizontal’ components mean Aston can make a car as long as the item likes along with also fit whatever components the item likes.
the item’s so versatile that will Aston used to get a bit uppity if you called the item a ‘platform’, because that will suggests the platform is actually at This specific point 12 years old. Yet pull the skin off a DB9 at This specific point along with also coming from a 2004 design along with also they’d look different enough underneath.
The advantages of the structure are many. the item is actually versatile, for one thing. The DB9, Vantage, Vanquish along with also Rapide, as well as the shorter-lived Virage along with also DBS, have all been hung coming from versions of This specific same architecture.
along with also the item makes for easy car upgrades. that will’s important for a company with the limited budget of Aston’s. (“Aston has basically never made money,” says CEO Andy Palmer.) in recent times, the infotainment system has been much better, the Inner surface has received makeovers, the engines have been made cleaner along with also more powerful along with also structurally the item’s more rigid along with also better honed.
however with that will comes a downside: the Aston range has been a group of cars that will, if you’re a less interested observer, look similar along with also do a similar thing. In future, under the stewardship of Palmer, that will’ll be different, we’re told. VH architecture will stay, however each design line will have its own distinct personality – up to along with also including the crossover that will’s meant to provide Aston with the budget to be self-sustainable inside long term. First on the list, though, is actually the DB11, This specific car’s replacement.
I’d be pretty chuffed if the DB11’s demeanour along with also personality turned out not too dissimilar to the DB9’s. the item’s not uncommon to find that will the original variation of something is actually the purest along with also best.
The DB9 was the first VH car, the item’s a GT car along with also, to my eyes, the item’s still Aston at its best. I don’t like talking about aesthetics too much because I’m not a designer, you can make up your own mind along with also I’d rather deal in more objective things, however I’ll make an exception here: I think the DB9 is actually still a staggeringly Great-looking car.
Today, the GT wears a black front splitter along with also rear diffuser, because apparently no pseudo-sporting car of any ilk is actually allowed out of the factory gates without them these days. however when the item rocks up outside my house at yawn o’clock, I still stop along with also just look at the item for a while.
Although I don’t have a tenuously linked plan, photographer Luc Lacey along with also I do have a plan of sorts. To see what the DB9 is actually like at This specific point along with also see how Great the DB11 will have to be, we’ll drive to Wales, mooch around on some Great, quiet roads, along with also take the item to a beach for a sundown photo, if there’s a visible sunset. however This specific being the summer holidays in Great Britain, the day starts pretty grey along with also doesn’t get much brighter.
Hey ho. that will won’t stop us coming from assessing part one of the DB9’s job: grand touring – if Oxfordshire to the Elan Valley is actually particularly grand.
Obviously, the item isn’t, because the item’s wet along with also there are roadworks along with also families in MPVs however, still, the item’s several hours non-stop behind the wheel along with also whether you do that will on the M42 past Redditch or on the A8 coming from Genoa to Saint-Tropez, the net effect is actually the same: you discover that will the DB9 is actually pretty Great at This specific sort of thing.
When the item was launched, the DB9 had plastic switches to move the seats along with also the Volvo-sourced satellite navigation system was rubbish even then, however although the overall cabin architecture is actually similar, here’s where you can see how Aston improves things in tiny increments.
The latest-generation centre console incorporates a touch-sensitive array of haptic feedback switches, the seat controls became nice aluminium items years ago along with also these days, if you reach that will far, the nav screen is actually touch-sensitive along with also pretty easy to use.
that will’s where you notice the budget differences with tiny car makers these days. Hand-crafting used to give them an edge on mainstream cars, however short lifecycles mean ordinary cars kill them for technology. Still, the DB9 GT feels lovingly put together inside. Certainly, fit along with also finish are a class apart coming from where they used to be.
however the item’s the way the DB9 drives that will has always marked the item out to me as a bit special, along with also the GT is actually no different. I like the controlled, composed way the item rides. (A couple of my colleagues think the item can be a bit firm for a grand tourer, however I don’t mind the item.)
What you get is actually a lot of honesty. The big 5935cc V12 – pushed up to 540bhp inside GT, rather than the standard car’s 510bhp – has precisely the kind of response you’d expect coming from a large, naturally aspirated engine: predictable, reliable, zingier at the top end (peak power is actually at 6750rpm) however pleasingly lag-free lower down.
along with also even though the automatic gearbox is actually a six rather than the latest eight-speeder, such is actually the spread of power along with also its smoothness that will you don’t miss having more.
Then there’s the chassis balance. Away coming from the humdrum commuting roads along with also into the quietest bits of Wales, the more interesting side to the GT’s personality comes out.
Sure, the engine’s inside front – along with also the item’s quite big – along with also the kerb weight is actually 1785kg, so the Aston isn’t super-agile, however the DB9 just feels ‘right’. the item steers with great confidence – something else massively much better in recent times is actually clearing the steering of harsh kickback – along with also the handling is actually just so trustworthy, predictable along with also downright enjoyable.
A Ferrari F12 can feel hyperactive; a fast Porsche 911 can feel cold; that will Bentley Continental always feels its size. Of all GT cars, though, to my mind the Aston has the most pleasing handling balance. If you had to write a book on how a big coupé should handle, you’d use a DB9 as the template.
More Great roads follow, along with also a few bad roads, too, until we reach the coast where guess what? the item’s still grey. There’s no visible sunset today, however that will’s fine by me. There are lots of aspects to the DB9 that will I’d rather the sun didn’t go down on at all.
Aston Martin DB9 GT
cost £140,000; Engine V12, 5935cc, petrol; Power 540bhp at 6750rpm; Torque 457lb ft at 5500rpm; Gearbox 6-spd automatic; Kerb weight 1785kg; Top speed 183mph; 0-62mph 4.5sec; Economy 19.8mpg; CO2/tax band 333g/km/37%
We road tested the original DB9 in 2004. This specific is actually what we found…
“In short, there isn’t a better drivetrain on sale,” we said of the DB9 when we first road tested the item, on 1 June 2004. We rather liked the rest of your vehicle, too, because the item notched up four along with also a half stars.
There was a lot to like about the item then, as at This specific point. Back then, its 5935cc V12 put out 450bhp at 6000rpm along with also 420lb ft at 5000rpm, which was enough to punt the item to 60mph in 5.4sec along with also through a standing quarter mile in 13.7sec.
At the time, we reckoned there was “not much that will will out-drag a DB9 in a straight line”, which is actually quite a telling fact about the past 10 years in motordom, because even some hot hatchbacks might out-drag a decade-old DB9 today.
Reading the test at This specific point, though, there is actually a pleasing sense of continuity about the DB9. “By conventional Aston standards the DB9 is actually very firmly sprung,” we wrote, however “the item remains a fine blend of comfort along with also agility”.
Its handling balance was similarly faithful: a touch of understeer that will you could prod through inside wet, however with grip levels so high that will “inside dry, only the insane will try along with also find where the item finally ends”. the item felt agile for its size however wasn’t a car you could thread as easily as a Porsche 911.
Ultimately, “dealing with the bad [was] a gratifyingly short process”. The steering was too heavy, the ride a bit choppy along with also a few switches “unbecoming of a £103k car”. We concluded the item was “extraordinarily desirable along with also supremely capable” along with also “the best car Aston Martin has ever made along with also a tantalising preview of what’s to come coming from Gaydon”. Since then, the DB9 has served Aston supremely well.
Get the latest car news, reviews along with also galleries coming from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:
by via Autocar RSS Feed