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2013 Aston Martin DB9 review

The 2013 Aston Martin DB9 has undergone its most significant update in recent history, cementing itself as one of Aston Martin’s finest vehicles.

2013 Aston Martin DB9 Volcano Red

70 percent of the DB9’s body panels are new, with several items such as the headlights carried over from the outgoing Virage model.

The DB9 sits in the middle of Aston Martin’s range and was designed as the ultimate Grant Tourer. It’s the definition of style and the most affordable way to buy into a four-seat Aston Martin.

Priced from $349,500 for the two-door, four-seat DB9 coupe. The convertible DB9 is priced from $380,500.

2013 Aston Martin DB9 – THE SPECS

Engine: 5.9-litre naturally aspirated V12
Output: 380kW@6500rpm / 620Nm@5500rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Drive type: Rear-wheel drive, limited-slip diff
Wheels: F: 8.5×20, 245/35  R: 11×20, 295/30
ANCAP rating: Not tested
Kerb weight: 1785kg

Power-to-weight: 4.7:1 (kg:kw)
Official fuel economy: 14.3L/100km
Economy during test: Hmm…
Fuel capacity/Type: 78L/95 RON
Power efficiency: 26.6kW:official L/100km
0-100km/h: 4.6 seconds
Priced from: $349,500

2013 Aston Martin DB9 rear

2013 Aston Martin DB9 – THE PACKAGE

It’s impossible to call the design anything but stunning. Sleek running lines, hints of carbon fibre and beautiful visual cues turn heads everywhere the car goes. Even the door handles aim to captivate, requiring a push to release the handle and a pull to open the door.

Aston Martin engineers worked to develop a system that avoids door damage on high curbs. The system they engineered allows the door to open outwards and upwards on a gas strut to sit higher than the curb.

Under the bonnet, Aston Martin has extracted more power from the 6.0-litre V12 engine by implementing dual variable valve timing, larger throttle bodies, and a new fuel pump, along with a revised block, machined cylinders, and a new intake manifold.

Power has jumped 30kW from 350kW to 380kW, while torque has increased from 601Nm to 620Nm. The stunning engine is mated to a single-clutch six-speed automatic gearbox and mechanical limited-slip differential, which helps maximise traction during cornering.

While fuel use isn’t top of mind for an Aston Martin buyer, it’s always handy to know how many trees you should plant after each drive. On the combined cycle, the DB9 consumes 14.3L/100km in hardtop and soft-top form.

In the cabin, the rich smell of leather is intoxicating, with leather covering almost every visible surface. Instead of a regular gear shifter, the DB9 uses glass buttons mounted to the dashboard, while the key is cast from a single glass piece and inserted into the dashboard to start the car.

Another interesting feature is the inverted tachometer that spins anti-clockwise, as opposed to clockwise in most other cars on the market. Custom colour combinations are now available during order that allow buyers to select different colours for the seats, dashboard and leather stitching.

Despite excellent leg and headroom in the front two seats, the rear seats are quite cramped and limited to children.

Audiophiles will instantly fall in love with the optional Bang and Olufsen, 1000W sound system. Featuring an array of speakers and omnidirectional tweeters, it is without doubt one of the best sound systems on the market.

Satellite navigation is now much easier to use with an integrated Garmin navigation system designed to fit neatly above the gear selectors and controlled by a joystick at the bottom of the dashboard.

No matter how hard we tried, we weren’t able to find an unflattering angle of the DB9. Front, rear, side, top-down, down-up and back-to-front, there’s no way you can call the DB9 ugly or even unattractive. Even the fuel filler cap is made from aluminium and feels strong in the hand — which is handy considering how often you need to open it.

Attention to detail within the cabin is second to none. It’s evident from touching and prodding interior surfaces that build quality is paramount for Aston Martin. The interior remains generally similar in design to the DB9 of yesteryear, which isn’t a bad thing. When a manufacturer like Aston Martin strikes a winning balance between design and functionality, there is rarely a need for change.

The Aston Martin DB9 hasn’t been tested by ANCAP or EuroNCAP, but appears to be structurally sound courtesy of an aluminium construction and masses of rigid support braces.

2013 Aston Martin DB9 interior

2013 Aston Martin DB9 – THE ROAD TEST

Starting the DB9 is an experience in itself. As you push the key into the dashboard, the cranking V12 winds up before firing out a beefy bellow to make its presence known. At idle there is absolutely no mistaking the ability or potential as the 5.9-litre V12 (5935cc) waits in anticipation.

Driving the DB9 is more of an experience than a chore. Masses of torque available low in the rev range allow the car to surge forward with only a hint of throttle input. In fact, you won’t find many situations where the gearbox needs to kick down and go wild in the search for speed.

But, if you do feel the need for speed, simply hit the Sport button and hold on. In Sport mode, the gearbox takes on a radical demeanour and gives the driver an opportunity to stretch the DB9’s legs.

As the tachometer moves past 3,000rpm, a raucous exhaust note erupts throughout the cabin. The sweet and meaty note is unique to Aston Martin’s V12 and is impossible to miss as a V12 Aston Martin flies by.

Gears can be manually selected using static paddle shifters located behind the steering wheel. The 0-100km/h dash takes all of 4.6-seconds, despite the DB9’s portly 1785kg mass.

The six-speed automatic gearbox suits the DB9’s grand touring nature and while the steering wheel paddle shifters give instant control, the gearbox could be a little quicker. Downshifts tend to be slow and don’t match the raucous nature of the V12 engine.

Steering and brake feel is excellent. The updated DB9 comes with carbon ceramic brakes that allow enthusiastic driving without the inherent issue of brake fade. The brakes also offer excellent pedal feel when the brakes are still cold, which is normally uncommon with carbon ceramic brakes.

The ride and handling is spot on for regular driving, featuring a supple ride that can be adjusted at the push of a button. The firmer ride settings ensure that body roll is eliminated during cornering and faster driving.

Two extra suspension settings (Sport and Track) offer a firm and firmer ride respectively. We found the Track setting to be a little too firm at times, especially considering some of Australia’s low-quality B-roads. It would feel more at home on a track while it’s being pushed closer to its limits.

The stability control also has two settings that allow a little more rear-end action on demand. Despite the wide and sticky 295mm rear tyres, traction can be an issue on damp roads and when the tyres are still cold.

Get some warmth into the treads and it’s a different story. Available grip during cornering is simply amazing, with enough feedback through the chassis to deliver an enjoyable driving experience.

2013 Aston Martin DB9-PerformanceDrive

2013 Aston Martin DB9 – THE VERDICT

Aston Martin’s restyled DB9 now offers added value for money, a blissful engine and performance characteristics to match its beautiful styling. What else more could you want?

PROS:
– Stunning design that will never date
– Engine and exhaust note
– Now better value for money
– Unmatched exclusivity

CONS:
– Gearbox could be a little sharper at times

2013 Aston Martin DB9

2013 Aston Martin DB9 – THE COMPETITORS

Bentley Continental GT V8
4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 – 373kW-660Nm – 10.5L/100km – 2250kg – $370,000

Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
6.3-litre naturally aspirated V12 – 545kW-690Nm – 14.9L/100km – 1525kg – $691,000

Maserati GranTurismo S MC-Shift
4.7-litre naturally aspirated V8 – 323kW-490Nm – 16.6L/100km – 1880kg – $345,000

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
6.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 – 420kW-650Nm – 13.3L/100km – 1695kg – $468,320

Images by Paul Maric/Night images by JoelStrickland

Paul is a contributing road tester at PerformanceDrive. He is an expert in supercars and luxury cars. From Melbourne, Paul's journalism experience is vast, covering not only the auto industry but also travel and tourism. He test drives over 70 new vehicles every year, with reviews appearing in prominent magazines, newspapers, and online. He is one of the founding team members at CarAdvice.com.au.

  • Toby11

    Sensational car.

    Arguably, I would buy this over the Vanquish. It’s better value for money and now has looks to kill!