The Aston Martin DB9 is a grand tourer first shown by Aston Martin at the 2003 Frankfurt Auto Show. Available both as a coupe and a convertible known as the Volante, the DB9 was the successor of the DB7. It was the first model built at Aston Martin’s Gaydon facility.
The DB9, designed by Henrik Fisker, is made largely of 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. It 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. In spite of comments regarding the DB9’s weaker engine and handling, reviewers liked the car’s ride and driving experience. Some also held issue with the DB9’s small rear seats, cargo space and poor satnav.
The 2012 version has seen many improvements to the design, the engine and the overall driving experience. It now has the most powerful engine yet with peak power of 517 PS and 620 Nm of torque. It also comes with carbon ceramic brakes as standard.
Production of the DB9 ended in 2016 being replaced by its successor, the DB11.
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, the engine has been tweaked in both the cars to produce more horsepower. The DBR9 has won in several events, including its debut event.
Development and design
The DB9 was designed by Henrik Fisker, and was first revealed at the 2003 Frankfurt Auto Show. The letters “DB” are the initials of David Brown, the owner of Aston Martin for a significant part of its history. Although it succeeded 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 was facelifted July 2008. This facelift was mainly the increase in engine power, to 350 kW (476 hp) and a redesigned centre console. Externally, the DB9 remained virtually unchanged.
The DB9’s interior is made with leather and walnut wood. In newer editions, the leather is additionally given hand-stitched accents and joins. On the dashboard, satnav and Bluetooth are standard in later models (options on earlier models). Later models also offered a Dolby Prologic sound system can be connected 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 187 L (6.6 cu ft) in the coupe or 136 L (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 bumpers and bonnet are composite.
For the 2013 model year revision, Aston made minor changes to the bodywork, including enlarging the recessed headlight clusters with bi-xenon lights and LED daytime strips, widening the front splitter, updating the grille and side heat extractors, updating the LED rear lights with clear lenses and integrating a new rear spoiler 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 444 hp (450 PS) 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 503 hp (510 PS) and torque to 620 N·m (457 lbf·ft). The car’s 0 to 97 km/h (60 mph) time decreased to 4.50 seconds and the new top speed is 295 km/h (183 mph).
The DB9 can be equipped with either a six-speed conventional manual gearbox from Graziano or a six-speed ZF automatic gearbox featuring paddle-operated semi-automatic mode. 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.
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. Later versions of 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. Early models had just 2 modes, ‘normal’ and ‘sport’.
The DB9 initially launched with 483 mm (19 in) wheels with a width of 216 mm (8.5 in) in the front and 241 mm (9.5 in) in the back. They were fitted with Bridgestone Potenza 235/40ZR19 up front and 275/35ZR19 is the back. The brakes are large Brembo six-piston calipers in the front and four-piston calipers in the back. Carbon ceramic brakes were an option.
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.