Aston Martin DB9 Coupe Sports Pack
Front end features historic Aston grille
- Searing performance and sound from V12 engine
- Exquisite exterior
- Superb long distance comfort
- Quality workmanship throughout
- High running costs
- Heavy clutch can be hard work in traffic
- More rear seat room would be welcome
- Boot space is relatively limited
In recent years Aston Martin has produced a series of modern cars which build on its reputation for manufacturing essentially British cars that can compete with the European elite. Occupying the higher echelons of the Aston range is the DB9, also available with a Sports Pack designed to sharpen its sporting edge.
Few cars at any price can match the visual drama of the DB9. Its exterior design is an impressive blend of classis Aston Martin details but with a thoroughly modern feel. It manages to hint at the past without slavishly copying it and its handsome curves and proportions give it a presence which is hard to ignore. The Sport Pack differs slightly from the standard car by the fitment of five-spoke alloy wheels that, although the same diameter as the standard alloys, appear larger at first glance.
Underneath the skin, the DB9 uses the same complex architecture as the V8 Vantage and Vanquish before it. The core of the car is constructed entirely from aluminium, using high-tech bonding rather than riveting for lightness and strength. The bodyshell is also a mix of aluminium and composite panels, which also brings exceptional strength and light weight. As well as benefiting performance the strong body and frame help to boost refinement levels.
Mechanically, the DB9 uses the desirable front-engined and rear-wheel drive layout although the engine is mounted almost completely behind the front axle and the gearbox is rear-mounted to achieve the perfect 50:50 front/rear weight distribution. The 6.0-litre V12 engine is designed to offer a more relaxed driving style as well as impressive performance.
Inside, the DB9 has a 2+2 layout with the rear seats designed for occasional use. The large transmission tunnel divides the cabin with front seat passengers enclosed by the low-slung seating position. The DB9 also has a compact boot, accessed through a discreet rear tailgate.
Our verdict on the Aston Martin DB9 Coupe Sports Pack
The DB9 competes in a highly exclusive sector inhabited by some of the finest marques in motoring, but it can compete on all fronts. The exquisite design, thrilling performance and sumptuous cabin are a delight and although its price inevitably makes it very exclusive, the lucky few will not be disappointed.
Running costs for the DB9 will be very high indeed. The purchase price, fuel consumption and insurance are all at the top end of the scale, making it a car for the well-heeled only.
Space and practicality
The DB9 is relatively restricted in terms of space, particularly given its size, although most importantly front seat passengers are well catered for. Rear seat occupants will not be comfortable on longer journeys.
Controls and display
The layout of the DB9 is logical and easy to use as well as very attractive, with gorgeous flood-lit instruments and clear digital displays. The button layout is sensible and clear, while buttons on the back of the steering wheel can be used to control the satellite navigation, which is a useful feature.
Even with the Sports Pack fitted the DB9 can deliver high levels of comfort. The ride, although relatively firm, copes well with lumps and bumps thanks to the strong architecture. Road and wind noise is well disguised and at a cruise the engine settles down to a discreet rumble. The seats are also very good, with full electric adjustment to attain an excellent driving position. The rear seats are somewhat lacking in comfort however, although they are designed for occasional use.
Befitting a car of this price and exclusivity, the DB9 comes with an alarm and immobiliser as standard. This can be upgraded to include a tilt and intrusion sensor, while a tracking device is also on the options list.
With an immensely strong chassis the DB9 offers a high level of passive safety, while the high performance brakes and suspension, combined with a standard stability control system, promise an equally high level of active safety.
Beautiful as it is, the real pleasure of a DB9 comes with the driving. Right from the off, the 6.0-litre V12 delivers effortless performance. Even very light throttle applications release large amounts of torque and any gear at any speed produces purposeful acceleration. Use all the revs and the performance is shattering with the quoted top speed in excess of 185mph feeling easily attainable. The handling is equally impressive with a high level of composure and feedback despite the car's size. Even at low speeds the DB9 is a genuine pleasure to drive.
Family car appeal
The DB9's family appeal is limited by its small rear seats. Only the smallest child seats will fit and the boot is insufficient to carry large amounts of luggage.
First car appeal
The DB9 is much too expensive and powerful to suit even the richest first time car buyer.
Quality and image
The DB9 is right at the top of the quality tree, with clear attention to detail and high quality materials throughout. The end result is a car that is a pleasure to operate, right down to switches on the dashboard or opening the boot. The same can be said for the DB9's image, which is close to peerless. The combination of a famous back catalogue of fine performance cars alongside a successful racing heritage and cinematic appearances make it one of the most desirable cars money can buy.
A svelte coupe of this height should be difficult to get into but the clever arrangement of the doors, which open out and upwards, makes getting into the front surprisingly easy. Rear seat passengers do have to squeeze a little even though the front seats slide forward. Access to the boot is adequate, although the aperture is relatively modest.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
The DB9's cabin can be customised to a large degree with a choice of wood or metal finishes to the dashboard. In any configuration it is a highly attractive layout, with quality materials and first class construction.
Colours and trim
Given its low slung driving position and lack of conventional bumpers, parking the DB9 can be a little taxing. The clutch is also quite heavy, which can make low speeds difficult to maintain. However, the light steering and standard rear parking sensors do help.
Tyre inflation system fitted as standard, with tyre pressure monitoring.
Petrol engine - 6.0-litre (470bhp). Transmission options: Six-speed manual or six-speed automated manual gearbox as standard. Trim levels: One trim level with Sports Pack option.
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