The V12 develops 470bhp, but it’s the almost diesel-like pull from low revs that impresses most. The DB9 is now available with either a manual gearbox or a six-speed auto that also functions as a paddle-shift manual. This is not a success – it’s acceptable in auto mode at medium speeds, but press on harder and it changes gear too slowly.
The steering is too heavy and shudders as you go from lock to lock. The DB9 is at its best on flat, smooth A-roads, where it is composed and grippy. It becomes unruly on anything bumpier, and the traction control is called into use too easily. The ride is on the sharp side of firm, even on the motorway.
The Aston’s 12-cylinder engine sounds fabulous, without being in your face on a motorway journey, and the V12 and automatic gearbox are smooth. However, there is far too much wind and road noise at speed.
The UK will get about a third of the 2200 DB9s to be made each year. That will ensure exclusivity and help to hold up resale values, but should keep waiting lists reasonably short. Naturally, the Aston will be costly to run, but buyers expect that. What might irritate is the short range of the 85-litre tank (fewer than 200 miles).
The Aston V12 engine has proven itself and the automatic gearbox should also be reliable, though some strange warning messages flashed up on the dash of our test car. The cabin looks great, but some of the materials used are not all they could be, and the fit and finish is a disappointment.
Volvo helped Aston develop the DB9, which has full electronic traction and braking aids and airbags, save for side curtains. It also has a multi-stage deformable front crash structure to cut down on repair bills in a minor shunt and protect in a major one. A Tracker system is fitted to help police find the DB9 if its defences are overcome.
The dash is made of matt wood and aluminium, and the rest of the cabin is leather and carpet. The seats are fully adjustable and superbly supportive. The view out is good for a car of this type. The biggest downside is that the minor switches on the dash are too small and are not easy to read.
The DB9 makes a better sports car or tourer for two than a two-plus-two. With a couple of tallish adults up-front there’s negligible knee space behind, and the roofline restricts headroom aft. Unfortunately, those tiny rear seats can’t be folded to supplement what is a fairly small boot.
When you pay £100,000-plus, you expect a high level of equipment and you also want to be able to personalise the car. Aston Martin knows about these things, having been in the luxury car trade for decades, and has fitted the DB9 out accordingly. What that means, though, is that it isn’t as fully equipped as some cars which cost just two-thirds of its price.
Order a brochure, find your nearest dealer or book a test drive