With this being the 100th year in existence for Aston Martin there couldn’t be a better time for the company to be introducing a swathe of new models.
The centenary of any business is one to celebrate, but the new DB9 represents Aston Martin in its truest sense in this special year. It’s a car capable of devouring continents in style and at a pace that would exhilarate even the most hardened of super car owners due to the introduction of the V12 6Ltr engine that was previously reserved for the range-topping DBS and Vanquish.
Aston has introduced a new Vantage, DB9, Rapide S, Vanquish and ONE-77 to define the range as Sport, Timeless, Luxury, Ultimate GT and Iconic.
Before I get into the technical detail and the all important ‘how she makes me feel’, it’s important to make the following statement: I Kenton Robbins will personally start the lobbying process of the current Secretary of State for Transport Minister, The Rt Hon Patrick McLougnlin MP, to pass the law that all Aston Martin V12 owners must use their cars in public three days a week at least, and more if possible, and drive in 2nd gear at 2,500-3,000 revs alternating throttle modulation in built-up areas.
If this could be a reality, the nation would be a better place with a greater distribution of visual smiles per capita than anywhere else in the world, as the guttural resonance that’s produced is as close to audible ecstasy as you can get and seems to enlighten those of the public that have a fondness for all things automotive.
This leads me to the centrepiece of the car - at its heart is an engine with the strength to carry worlds on its shoulders and the subtle depth and refinement to deliver a surge of power in an infused manner that few engines can deliver. With 620 Nm of torque, it defines a benchmark of power that few can measure up to, and when provoked gives a wealth of feedback and a smooth build in speed that can startle.
Upon driving the car for the first few hours I was unsettled by the length of travel that the throttle demands to exercise the engine’s full potential. It was only after considering the ergonomics and design of the DB9 over fish and chips on the way home that it dawned on me why it would have been designed into it as a feature, especially as the old DB9 was renowned for having an on/off switch of a throttle.
They were designed in an old school methodology in order to help the driver avoid a moment of embarrassment by not allowing them to access the full potential by accident, which could result in a lesson in ditch finding!
Aston are the masters of this impeccable attention to detail and anybody who’s owned one will, I’m sure, have experienced this in the care the dealers put into understanding customers’ needs. After all, you don’t have a problem with an Aston - you have a ‘bespoke concern’ that they will endeavour to solve. This is the essence of Aston ownership and the brand, and it is further communicated in the cabin. The dash cluster dials are like chronographs from the face of a fine Swiss watch and the leather is hand-stitched in strong seams where thread dives up and down through the leather like contrails in the sky.
This attention to detail is a treat for the eyes and features strongly in the cabin, from the dash to the seats, where a DB9 embroidered stitched logo greets you on the headrest. Meanwhile, the aluminium fixtures and features all shout of being hand-built by craftsman, further supporting the desire of Aston to labour the point of the car being handcrafted.
The technical aspect of the cabin is now one to be enjoyed rather than sneered at. Long gone are the bargain bucket Ford components that were adorned with shame by previous incarnations of Aston’s. Now you are treated to a sound system that has bark and depth alike and switch gear that reflects the luxury and craftsmanship it deserves. At 6ft 2ins my frame is on the upper end of car designers’ spec, but I was comfortably accommodated. The rear seats were well proportioned for my two daughters, aged eight and 10.
White would not be my first choice of colour, but what it does do is define the silhouette and emphasise the strong sill line that incorporates aero detailing. The rear light cluster enhances this with inset detailing drawing the colour into it, with a solid presence that’s been designed with purpose to catch the eye when glancing over the muscular rear of the Aston. The rear diffuser also benefits from the white body colouring, once again catching your glance and drawing you in to further explore the detail of the under wrapped nature of the rear valance and how it interacts with the rest of the rear’s design.
The two strong chrome tail pipes give contrast to the white as they deliver that infamous snarl that is so well associated with Astons. The vented bonnet, which now has added attitude and elegance, and a deep cutting front splitter in carbon fibre both add to what is now a sportier DB9. These features are all part of what I would consider to be a design icon. Its brilliant proportions and smooth looks are coupled with muscular line detailing, resulting in an exquisite looking car.
Almost all cars have an unflattereing angle that can create a sense of unease or disparity with the overall design. The Aston, however, doesn’t suffer this in any way. It manages to command a sense of awe that’s intensely pleasing to the eye. It’s an elegant car that achieves the overall design brief of being ‘timeless’ - but now also has the ability to excite and invigorate even the most demanding of customers.
It has the energy to provoke a reaction from an incredibly wide range of people. In my time with the Aston, I was approached by young and old alike, with people talking with respect for the brand and a feeling of pride. One elderly couple stopped me as I walked to the car and suggested that it could be one of the finest brands in existence.
Aston topped the CoolBrands* list this year, and deservedly so as it holds a special place in the heart of the vast majority of us. The Bond effect in the last year has truly extended the allure of the brand into a different league that’s now beyond A-list. Much as the past year has seen the birth of the ‘hyper cars’ it has also seen the coming of age of the DB9.
With all super cars, the owners are looking to use the car as an instrument to deliver an experience, a wealth of feelings that will exhilarate and create a sense of pride. The DB9 is a master at delivering these sensations. All this is thanks to the sound of the exhaust, the surge of power delivered like there’s a nuclear reactor under the bonnet, and the smooth ride that’s able to transform to a taught, stiff, capable weapon at the press of the sport and adaptive suspension buttons.
It’s this ability to change the nature of the car that is its true talent. It has been said by many men over the years that the ideal wife is a goddess in the kitchen and minded in the bedroom. The DB9 has the ability to be this ideal companion, a partner that can work with your every mood, responding accordingly. The subtle changes in the throttle response and suspension are hard to notice at first. Once you’ve pressed the aluminium buttons, there seems to be nothing more than a firming up of the ride.
It’s only when you are pushing hard and demanding more from the car that you realise the depth of these changes. The engine comes alive with fresh attitude and verve that sings in a baritone ensemble ready to perform for its conductor. The suspension now reads your needs instinctively - it’s in-tune and sublime, directly lighting the sensors and delivering the feel and sensation desired.
Indeed, it is the way the DB9 makes you feel that makes it a very special car. For those reading this who have previously considered buying an Aston in the past, I’d encourage
you to take one for a drive. But be warned - it might end up being the only car you’ll ever want to drive again!
The car Kenton drove was Aston
Martin DB9 Coupe from JCT600 in
Leeds and it costs £140,000 with
options included. It was supplied by
Aston Martin Leeds, 08448 443108.