by: Mike Ginsca
Power, Beauty, Soul. Aston Martin has incorporated these three words into every vehicle they’ve produced since 1913. So what do each of those words represent in a modern Aston Martin? Read on…
Performance – The “Power” of this Aston Martin comes from a howling V12 engine that produces 450hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. The only word that can accurately describe how the DB9 accelerates is astonishing. Yes, there are more power engines out there with fewer cylinders but few can match the smoothness and sense of urgency that this V12 provides. Whether the car is accelerating from a dead stop or overtaking at high speed, the rate at which it accelerates feels like it’s unending. My only criticism is that the throttle and brake pedals are a bit too sensitive. If this was a thoroughbred race car then they would be just fine but because it’s considered as more of a GT car, then the pedals are a bit too sensitive. The new 6-speed automatic ZF transmission helps to put all of the V12’s power down to the road. Shifting is smooth and fast but what impressed me more was how quickly the transmission responded to driver inputs. Usually in other automatic cars, there’s a delay between the time the driver puts his foot down on the throttle to the time that the car actually starts to accelerate. In this DB9 however, it feels more like a manual transmission rather than a “slush box”. Overall, the power train of the DB9 is perfectly capable of dealing with the slow pace of city traffic or the high speeds of highway cruising.
Aston Martin have also put a great deal of resources into developing a chassis that is capable of being comfortable when driving like normal human beings but also stiff and sporty enough to make even a 66 year old person feel like 16 again. The new chassis has double the rigidity of the outgoing DB7 but it is 25% lighter. What that means is that the lightness helps keep fuel bills low as well as 0-100km/h times and the rigidity helps keep the 19” wheels and 275 wide section tires planted on the road at all times. Steering is very quick and responsive and nicely weighted for enthusiastic driving but for city driving, and taking a lot of 90 degree corners, it is a little bit too heavy.
Comfort – “Beauty” is split into exterior, more on that later, and interior. Nearly a decade ago when this DB9 was launched, no other auto manufacturer could even come close to the beauty of the interior design and the quality of the materials. The brushed aluminum trim has a timeless design to it and the engine start/stop button looks like it’s encased in crystal. The instrument cluster is just as beautifully crafted with the prominent speedometer and the counter clockwise motion tachometer. The only let down is the steering wheel which looks like it came from a mid-size Ford sedan.
The ride quality is a little bit on the firmer side than one would expect in a GT car. It’s nowhere near as harsh as a true sports car like the Corvette Z06 but neither is it as soft and smooth as a Mercedes SL63 AMG, it’s just right in the middle. One thing I was not expecting was the feeling of claustrophobia in this car. The roof line is very low and the side windows are very small making it seem like there is less room inside the cabin.
Odds and Ends – The exterior “Beauty” of the DB9 is exquisite. Photographing this car was not difficult because from every angle the car has an interesting and appealing line that engages the human eye. Aston Martin DB5, Ferrari 250, Lamborghini Miura, these are all cars that half a century ago captivated onlookers and they all still do to this day. Half a century from today, this DB9 will also continue to captivate onlookers and lucky owners as it will become a future classic.
And that brings us to “Soul”. Most people don’t believe that a mechanical object can have a soul but for gear heads a car is more than just a lifeless machine. Some consider it as an extension of one’s body while others as a reliable lifelong companion. Whatever the case may be, Aston Martin’s in general bring out certain special feelings when a person drives or even sees an Aston Martin. It’s those special feelings that can turn a good car into a timeless classic that will be revered for decades to come.
Thank you to Autoform performance Inc. for providing the vehicle.
Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.