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Aston Martin DB9

A round of revisions make the stunning DB9 more desirable than ever.

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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We’ve always loved the way the DB9 looks. The problem has been that some parts of the experience haven’t quite lived up to the promise of the styling. This range of updates subtly moves Aston’s elegant supercar forward. The cabin is better made and benefits from a neater centre console, while the suspension changes improve the DB9’s ride and handling balance. It’s still not perfect, but when you factor in the incredible V12 engine – which now offers even greater performance – and the snappier auto gearbox, it all adds up to a very desirable supercar.

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It’s a fact of life that cars, like people, are easier to forgive if they’re good looking. Take Aston Martin’s DB9. In the past, we’ve had issues with the suspension set-up and build quality, but we have still ended up loving it, simply because it’s one of the most beautiful vehicles ever produced.

However, when you are spending £117,000 on a supercar, you want it to be perfect. So, Aston has brought in a range of updates to make the DB9 better than ever. Is it now the car it always should have been?

Well, Aston’s engineers have fitted new dampers and retuned the suspension bushes to improve ride quality. The six-speed Touchtronic automatic gearbox has been tweaked so it shifts more quickly and offers better low-speed manoeuvrability, too.

Inside, the DB9 has the same centre console as the DBS, while on the outside, there’s a new grille, sleeker mirrors and 19-inch 10-spoke alloys.

The 6.0-litre V12 gets a revised cyl­inder head and new ECU. That liberates 20bhp and 30Nm, taking peak power to 470bhp and torque to 600Nm. As a result, the 0-60mph time drops by one-third-of-a-second to 4.6 seconds (the automatic model is now just as quick as the manual), while top speed creeps up 4mph to 190mph.

From the moment you climb aboard, the DB9 offers an incredible sense of occasion. The leather trim is lush and has intricate stitching, while the new centre console is a big leap forward in quality. The updates to the automatic gearbox make it much easier to manoeuvre the DB9 – and as soon as you start to up the pace, shifts with the steering wheel paddles are crisp and almost instantaneous.

The V12 is simply glorious. It piles on speed, propelling the DB9 forward like a rocketship. It sounds wonderful, the engine note hardening as exhaust baffles open up above 4,000rpm.

As for the suspension, the new dampers have improved the ride, and although it’s still firm – particularly over small bumps – the pay-off is far better body control at high speed.

However, we still have the same complaints about the set-up at the rear, which is vague and slightly too soft. The steering is heavy and doesn’t provide enough feel, either, while the brakes are powerful but also weighty and hard to modulate.

As a result, it can be difficult to feel at one with the car on a twisty, bumpy road. We’d go for the optional Sport Pack, which ties down the rear end more – although even without it, the DB9 is a glorious grand tourer and lots of fun. It’s still not quite the complete package, but it’s better than ever.

Rival: Bentley Continental GT
The Continental provides an incredible blend of storming acceleration, traction and mile-munching ability. It’s one of the best grand tourers in the world.
 

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