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The DB9 represents a true renewal for Aston Martin. While retaining the classic long hood proportions of James Bond’s bullet-proof DB7, parent Ford pumped up lots of pounds for a new chassis, and to completely revamp the fabled Aston Martin V-12 engine. The result is an exhilarating drive into a new realm of high performance British motoring.
Engineers at England’s most historic car company set out to build what became the 2005 Aston Martin DB9 Coupe. They were aiming at a truly 21st century design. Well, cast your eyes over the DB9’s subtle yet complex curves, and you’ll see both heritage and innovation.
This GT’s composition is pure and modern, with its aluminum and composite body panels exhibiting
minimal ornamentation, and a smooth, aerodynamic flow. But the distinctive grille and muscular profile are classic Aston Martin. The stunning Coke-bottle body sits on a lightweight aluminum frame with a 107.9-inch wheelbase, and a sedan-wide track, supported by big 19-inch alloy wheels and ZR-rated tires.
The rear 275/35 rubber is driven by a completely overhauled all-aluminum 6.0-liter quad-cam 48-valve V12 engine, producing 450 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque.
Between the engine and wheels is either a just released 6-speed manual gearbox, or our test car’s 6-speed automatic with Touchtronic manual shift. There’s also a limited slip differential, and mild-mannered electronic stability control, which all together delivers a 0 to 60 time of 4.8 seconds. The quarter mile ends in 13.2 seconds at 110 miles-per-hour. Go for the manual and you’ll lop off a few tenths more. Either way, it’s impressive for a 3,880 pound machine.
The big V12 revs fast, delivering maximum torque at 5,000 rpm. And its powerful forward thrust is accompanied by a deep, throaty exhaust note.
In manual mode the gearbox delivers quick, firm up shifts. Standard mode will automatically shift early, but Sport mode allows you to run all the way to the 6,800 rpm redline. In down-shifts, such as when diving into the challenging corners of West Virginia’s Summit Point Raceway, the gearbox’s electronics will blip the throttle to match revs.
The chassis and double wishbone suspension feel extremely tight in corners, but do tend to push on the front despite the 50/50 weight distribution. To get around it, you simply apply a bit more throttle, which breaks the rear tires loose in a smooth, gentle slide. All through this, the DB9 is communicating every nuance of suspension, tires and pavement back to the driver, which really comes in handy when you stab the brake pedal, activating the radial-mounted 4-piston calipers. They clamp huge 14-inch front discs, and haul the DB9 down from autobahn speeds with minimal drama.
But today’s Aston Martin is as much about luxury as speed, and the DB9 will not disappoint those who want some posh with their power. Cabin access is through its unique “Swan Wing” magnesium-framed doors, which cant up 12-degrees to ease entry. The cabin itself is a feast of hand-fitted leather and wood. The dash is all curves, with a striking waterfall style center console and unique counter-rotating, aluminum-faced instruments.
Available features include satellite navigation, automatic climate controls, and high power Linn 6-disc audio systems that range from 128 to 950 watts. The 10-way power adjustable front seats are plush and comfortable. Front leg room is better than previous Aston Martins while still not generous, and it’s practically non-existent in the child-size rear buckets. Luggage space is also at a premium in the small 6.1 cubic-foot trunk.
Of course, if you can afford the DB9 Coupe’s $160,000 sticker, you can afford to have your luggage hand-delivered to your destination. Or try the new DB9 Volante convertible for about $173,000.
But it’s not luxury that makes the DB9’s extravagant prices seem reasonable. It’s the exquisite combination of classic style, history, and stunning performance that makes this British 2+2 the crown jewel of Ford’s stable. The 2005 Aston Martin DB9 represents a rebirth and bright future for one of England’s greatest car brands and it embodies respect for a glorious past as well.