The Aston Martin DB9 is a British grand tourer first shown by Aston Martin at the 2003 Frankfurt Auto Show. Available both in coupé and a convertible bodystyles, the latter being 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 was originally designed by Henrik Fisker, has an aluminium construction. The chassis is the Ford developed VH platform whilst the engine is the 5.9-litre V12 from the Vanquish. The 2013 model year facelift saw many improvements to the design, the engine and the overall driving experience.
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 poor 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.
Aston Martin Racing adapted the DB9 for sports car racing, producing the DBR9 for FIA GT1 and the DBRS9 for FIA GT3. These two cars are modified DB9 models adapted for motorsport; 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 and torque.
Production of the DB9 ended after 12 years in 2016, having been replaced by the DB11 which uses an all-new platform and engine.
The DB9 was designed by Henrik Fisker, and was first introduced at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor 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 name the car DB8 due to fears that the name would suggest that the car was equipped with 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, the then 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 cars per year.
In 2007, the DB9 was revised with upgraded electrical components which helped reliability, new front seat design, LED approach lights on the door handles and lowered suspension (8mm). The DB9 Volante no longer had a 266 km/h (165 mph) top-speed limiter, allowing it to attain an unrestricted top speed of 299 km/h (186 mph) should conditions allow.
The DB9 received a facelift in July 2008. This facelift was mainly the increase in engine power and torque, to 477 PS (351 kW; 470 hp) and 600 N⋅m (443 lb⋅ft), and a redesigned centre console. Externally, the DB9 remained virtually unchanged. The 2013 model year’s new facelift design that resembled the 2011 Virage, as well as increased engine power of up to 517 PS (380 kW; 510 hp) and 620 N⋅m (457 lb⋅ft) of torque.
The DB9’s interior is upholstered in leather and has a walnut wood trim. 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 coupé 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. The boot capacity is 187 L (6.6 cu ft) in the coupé or 136 L (4.8 cu ft) in the Volante.
Made to follow the 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 made of aluminium, though the front bumpers and bonnet are made of composite materials.
For the 2013 model year, Aston Martin made minor changes to the bodywork by adapting designs from the 2011 Virage, including enlarging the recessed headlight clusters with bi-xenon lights and LED daytime running 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.