• Drop-dead gorgeous looks; hand-crafted interior; perfect driving position; strong in-gear acceleration; exceptionally good steering; sharp handling; outstanding Bang & Olufsen audio unit
  • Firm ride; slower than some rivals; no dual-clutch transmission; too many extra-cost options; SatNav can be frustrating.

OUR RATING
9 / 10



2013 Aston Martin DB9 Review
2013 Aston Martin DB9 Review
2013 Aston Martin DB9 Review

Tweaked for more power and boasting an edgier range of technology, the 2013 Aston Martin DB9 marks more of an evolution of the car’s soul rather than its beautiful body.

From the front the new DB9 is the spitting image of the now discontinued Aston Martin Virage – adopting the same elongated headlamp assembly with LED daytime running lamps.

Aston says it’s made subtle improvements to the front splitter for improved airflow to the carbon-ceramic brakes, but seriously, you’ll be hard pressed spotting those.

The similarities extend to the rear of the car too, except the latest Aston Martin DB9 gets a new ‘flipped up’ boot spoiler for reduced lift, along with more muscular rear haunches for slightly stronger differentiation between the two models.

Inside, we were hoping for Vanquish-grade ergonomics with its lowered centre console and new centre stack, but the layout remains largely unchanged from the outgoing DB9, except for the proper polished glass switchgear.

You can smell the leather-infused aroma oozing out of the Bridge of Weir hides, as you sink into the most perfectly cocooning sports pews – only this time there’s a hand-stitched welt running down either side of the console, which requires a 1.8-metre continuous piece of leather.

2013 Aston Martin DB9 Review
2013 Aston Martin DB9 Review
2013 Aston Martin DB9 Review
2013 Aston Martin DB9 Review

The low-slung seats and small-ish diameter steering wheel in the DB9 combine to provide the prefect driving position, ensuring the driver feels at one with the car.

Everything is special inside here. It’s all real metal, real glass and real carbonfibre – several levels above luxury.

The real surprise, perhaps, is that it actually costs less than the outgoing DB9. Priced from $349,500 for the Coupe and $380,500 for the Volante (tested) the latest iteration of Aston Martin’s grand tourer offers savings of $12,455 and $12,463, respectively.

Mechanically, there’s more of the same under the DB9’s alloy bonnet, with Aston’s 6.0-litre V12 that’s powered it since launch.

The difference is this time there’s a revised block, new head and various other tweaks that bump power and torque up to 380kW and 620Nm – increases of 30kW and 19Nm respectively.

That’s enough to propel the Aston Martin DB9 from 0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds and onto a top speed of 295km/h.

But even with the engine upgrades, the DB9 Volante is outgunned by several lower-priced rivals – at least from a standing start. The BMW M6 Convertible is priced from $308,500 and can reach 100km/h in 4.4 seconds, as can the $299,000 Jaguar XKR-S Convertible.

2013 Aston Martin DB9 Review
2013 Aston Martin DB9 Review
2013 Aston Martin DB9 Review
2013 Aston Martin DB9 Review

The brakes have also been uprated to massive cross-drilled, carbon-ceramic rotors with six-pot Brembo calipers up front, and four down back, for proper fade-free stopping, all day long.

The DB9 boasts the same ‘Gen4’ VH architecture as the more expensive Vanquish, which is not only stiffer than the previous car, but also includes Aston’s next-generation adaptive damping and all-round double wishbone suspension.

Push the crystal-tipped glass key fob into its spring-loaded slot and hold firm until the V12 lets out its signature bark. While we love the aural component, it all feels a bit too theatrical in this age of keyless entry and push button start.

Like all current Astons with the electronically controlled Touchtronic2 six-speed transmission, drive modes are engaged by a series of glass buttons at the top of the centre console (P, R, N and D), rather than a conventional shifter.

Below these are three more glass buttons that control the suspension damping (Normal, Sport and Track modes) along with a sport button.

There aren’t many corners along Miami’s South Beach strip, so we set off with the suspension locked in its most comfortable setting.

As far as we can make out, potholes and busted-up roads don’t exist in the Miami Dade County, but those insignificant-looking expansion joints are properly felt in the DB9, even in the normal suspension setting.

2013 Aston Martin DB9 Review
2013 Aston Martin DB9 Review
2013 Aston Martin DB9 Review
2013 Aston Martin DB9 Review

They’re not enough to unsettle the chassis (that’s rock solid stable), but it’s a very firm setting to be classed as ‘Normal’.

We tried the other two settings and frankly, they may as well have been labelled Firmer and Firmest. It’s not quite in the bone-shattering category, but still way too stiff for anything other than billiard-ball-smooth US highways.

The upside is that body roll is simply non-existent in the DB9 allowing for high-speed cornering while remaining utterly composed and planted.

Tap the Sport button, load up the throttle and start throwing the big Aston into a few corners and the DB9 suddenly morphs from a capable GT to bona-fide sports car.

The DB9’s hydraulic steering is extraordinarily good – Astons are like that. Perfectly weighted, very quick and with scalpel-like precision for racecar-like directness and feedback, which only serve to enhance the driving experience.

You’ll need more than twisty canyon roads to get anywhere near the handling limits of the DB9 – it’s a tremendously well balanced machine that urges you to keep piling on the power for more of that deeply emotive V12 howl.

Wind it up to 5000-plus-rpm on the dial and you’ve got 620Nm of twist for all the overtaking grunt you could ever need. Its all the more enjoyable in the soft-top Volante.

2013 Aston Martin DB9 Review
2013 Aston Martin DB9 Review
2013 Aston Martin DB9 Review
2013 Aston Martin DB9 Review

It feels properly quick from anywhere in the rev range and there’s a tonne of grip, but dial up a moderate dose of over-zealous throttle and the DB9 will light up the P Zeros down back.

Better still, pull the magnesium-fashioned right paddleshifter and you’ve got full control of the transmission.
There are no electronics to shift gears for you in this mode (definitely a good thing) – hold any ratio long enough, and you’ll be bouncing off the rev limiter until you shift up – manually.

The DB9’s Touchtronic transmission is certainly smooth-shifting, but it can’t match the more common (in this class) dual-clutch transmissions for sheer gearbox response and driver involvement.

But these irks don’t spoil what is essentially a class-leading GT-slash-sports car that has been bolstered for even better performance.

Aston Martin has really nailed it with the latest DB9. This is a much improved and more focused car than its predecessor, a figurehead of English automotive styling with a bit of added grunt.

Throw in the cut-down pricing and it’s all the motivation cashed-up punters will need to stake their claim on a classic.


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ASTON MARTIN DB9 BREAKDOWN

2013 Aston Martin DB9 Review
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  • racrepus

    Oooh. 0.2 seconds slower, look out! If it were about a second or more I’d think more of it, but come on, .2 of a second!? I’d take the marginally slower Aston. I honestly couldn’t give a rats ars- about a grand tourers 0-100 time compared to others as long as it still managed under 5 seconds. It makes up for it in so many other ways compared to the XKR and M6.

  • pixxxels

    The car is styled with such exquisite perfection that, when it comes down to it, nothing else matters. The fact you get such a capable and comfortable GT on top is simply a glorious bonus. 

    Also, i’m glad they’ve finally sorted out the Volante’s styling. It used to look sort of clunky in the previous iteration, but this just looks stunning.

    Would look even better without those gaudy US-market reflectors on the front and rear.

  • Devil666

    The old DB9 was a bit disappointing, good to see they’ve given it a nice facelift. The current V12 Vantage is probably my favourite looking Aston, and this is close if not as-good. They ditched the old double-mouth which honestly looked like a birth defect. New one is great but I’d like to see that grille being more prominent. It’s too small, needs to drop down one or two rows. The carbon splitter is a nice touch but it’s too pronounced, and it’ll end up scraping on the road all the time.

    Thank god they gave the engine an overhaul. Still not the best by any measure, but 507 HP is better than the gutless old 470 HP.

    Pitty it doesn’t get the new interior – paying close to $400,000 for a Volvo sat-nav screen and a 2 line monochrome LCD display is honestly pathetic. The hard plastics around the clock feel and sound like the same material in a VY commodore’s Blaupunkt head unit. I dare you all, go sit in one and flick the plastic – same stuff.

    Ultimately will be bought by British loyalists (who can overlook reliability issues) and James Bond wannabes who can’t look past product placement, or people who just like pretty things. Too many compromises, feigned luxury, low tech, and they’ve ruined the ride.

    Put it in the maybe pile.

  • Devil666

    You guys serious?

    • jcss

      With a name like devil666 you probably could only ever afford a VL Commodore.
      Cant take you seriously……… they’ve ruined the ride???  For who? 
       

  • Don Quay

    “Too theatrical”?

    Really Anthony, I would have thought that getting into a car like this and starting it up is worth a bit of theatre. I think any opportunity to drive an AM is an event to celebrate, which is probably why you have to start it that way. Any common little box on wheels has keyless start nowadays, why not do things differently?

    • Anthony

       Fair point, Don.

      • Don Quay

        Thanks Anthony.
        Mind you, I do think that calling the glass key the emotion controller or whatever the name is makes them sound like a bunch of tossers.

  • Devil666

    Censor free speech all you want.

  • theillestlife

    centre dash and wheel look dated.

  • Theo

    US RRP $180,000 – $200,000.
    Mr Crawford, you reviewed the car in America yet oddly omit the American RRP. Do you think Australians are stupid? Furthermore, you tell us twice that we should be grateful for the Australian prices. 

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

      Australian prices are at the top of the review.

      • Pinkieponk

        just like a politician – not answering the question

        • Passer By

          What rellevence does the US pricing have? We do not live in the US and we pay the Australian taxes. Stop blaming manufacturers for local taxes. Believe it or not, the cars are sold into this market for less from the factory to help counter the insane taxes we are forced to pay.
          Take the above pricing and remove the taxes, then divide by a normal exchange rate (before you say it, the current exchange rate is not normal and the market will recover).

          • Nick

            That’s Ok Passeer By we are all fools and believe your wise words

    • Gf

       The review is for Australians, so why would they provide a USA price?

  • Luke Brinsmead

    From the outside it look gorgeous, but the centre console is now looking a bit dated.

  • KS

    I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it, Aston Martins are like a six pack of bread rolls – they might differ in size but they all look the same! There are so many better choices than this brand IMO!

    • Cam

      And thats the way ASTON want it!

  • Funk_docta52

    The Jaguar XKRS convertible is actually $299k, not $364k. You have quoted the old price.

  • OOOO

    AM 100 years old.  Still got it !

  • Tone

    Complaining that there’s no dual-clutch transmission is like saying that Jennifer Hawkins has pointy knees.  

Aston Martin Db9 Specs

VOLANTE : 5.9L MULTI POINT F/INJ - 6 SP AUTO TOUCHTRONIC - PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL - 2D CONVERTIBLE
Car Details
Make
ASTON MARTIN
Model
DB9
Variant
VOLANTE
Series
MY08 UPGRADE
Year
2013
Body Type
2D CONVERTIBLE
Seats
4
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
5.9L
Cylinders
V12
Max. Torque
600Nm @  5000rpm
Max. Power
350kW @  6000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
198.9W/kg
Bore & Stroke
89x79.5mm
Compression Ratio
10.3
Valve Gear
DUAL OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
6 SP AUTO TOUCHTRONIC
Drive Type
REAR WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
3.07
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
85
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
16.5L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1760
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1318mm
Length
4697mm
Width
1875mm
Ground Clearance
113mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:0  Unbrake:0
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11.5
Front Rim Size
8.5x19
Rear Rim Size
9.5x19
Front Tyres
235/40 R19
Rear Tyres
275/35 R19
Wheel Base
2740
Front Track
1568
Rear Track
1562
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Standard Features
Comfort
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones, Power front seats
Control & Handling
19 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Traction Control System
Driver
Power Steering, Trip Computer
Engine & Transmission
Limited Slip Differential
Entertainment
CD with 6 CD Stacker
Exterior
Power Mirrors, Xenon Headlights
Interior
Leather Upholstery, Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Side Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats
Security
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Comfort
Heated Front Seats
Driver
Cruise Control
Entertainment
Premium Sound System
Interior
Wood Grain Trim
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
Warranty
24 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
10-N-15
Country of Origin
GREAT BRITAIN