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Aston Martin DB9: Buying guide and review (2004-2016)

Aston Martin DB9: Buying guide and review (2004-2016) Classic and Performance Car
Aston Martin DB9 Aston Martin DB9 Aston Martin DB9 Aston Martin DB9
The DB7’s direct replacement was so much of a leap forward that Aston skipped the number 8 and jumped straight to DB9. At least that was the line thrown out by Aston Martin’s PR machine at the time, and it’s testament to the all-round brilliance of the DB9 that the motoring media were more than happy to swallow it. (In truth, the badging was a Ford directive to avoid a clash with Jaguar’s conceptually similar XK8.)
 
Whatever, when the world’s press descended on Nice in March 2004 for the DB9’s driving debut, they were attending arguably the most important launch in the company’s history. Not only was the DB9 the replacement for the DB7 – then the marque’s best-selling car yet – it also embodied a whole new manufacturing regime that would underpin the future of the company and its new factory. It simply had to succeed.
 
We’d seen extensive use of aluminium in an Aston’s superstructure before, but the original Vanquish was a complex construction of aluminium and carbonfibre and of course still largely hand-built at Newport Pagnell. The DB9 embraced entirely modern manufacturing processes and the so-called VH (Vertical Horizontal) platform – essentially a way of spinning a whole range of cars from the same basic structure and many shared components.
 
The DB9 was the first of the new breed, its bonded aluminium monocoque and all-wishbone suspension owing absolutely nothing to the DB7. It wasn’t entirely new though. The magnificent 5.9-litre V12 engine was carried over from the DB7 Vantage, though substantially updated with revised crankshaft, cams, inlet and exhaust manifolds and management system. Peak outputs were 450bhp at 6000rpm and 420lb ft @ 5000rpm (compared with 420bhp and 400lb ft for the DB7 Vantage). 
 
New(ish) for the DB9 was Touchtronic 2, a six-speed version of the five-speed ZF torque-converter auto from the DB7 Vantage but now with the facility to flick between ratios using paddles mounted on the steering column – a big improvement on the DB7’s fiddly wheel-mounted buttons. It even gave throttle-blips on downshifts, aping the ‘F1’ system on contemporary Ferraris. A six-speed Graziano manual was also available, and both ’boxes were rear-mounted, improving weight distribution. 
 
Most definitely all-new was the DB9’s body, shaped initially by Ian Callum and, after the Scot had left to join Jaguar, refined by his successor, Henrik Fisker. It took themes first seen on the DB7 (and subsequently developed on the Vanquish) and moulded them into something thoroughly contemporary and yet – as the passing years have proved – timelessly beautiful. Details like the flush door handles, the ‘swan-wing’ effect of the doors opening, and the chronograph-like faces of the instruments added to the DB9’s aura of specialness.
 
Which one to buy?
 
At first the DB9 was available only as coupé; the open Volante model followed in 2005. In late 2006 (for the ’07 model year) came a range of updates, including redesigned seats. More significantly, the same year saw the introduction of the Sports Pack for the coupé – 
a package of chassis upgrades that won wide acclaim. 
 
The obvious visual change was a striking new five-spoke ‘diamond-turned’ wheel in forged aluminium that shaved more than 1kg of unsprung weight from each corner. Underneath, the ride height was lowered a smidge, the spring rates increased, the dampers retuned, and the original composite undertray was replaced with an aluminium one, which aided structural stiffness. The combination delivered markedly improved ride and handling with noticeably lighter, keener steering. 
 
The good news was that as well as being an option on new cars, it was also possible to retro-fit the Sports Pack to earlier examples, though the five-spoke alloys could also be purchased separately, so it shouldn’t be taken as read that a car that has them fitted will have the Sports Pack. A dealer or specialist with access to the dealer communication system will be able to check if it’s a genuine Sports Pack car.
 
The next step-change was for the 2009 model year, with a power upgrade to 470bhp and a number of detail changes including a new centre console taken from the DBS and the arrival of Bilstein dampers, which gave a more supple edge to the ride. For 2010, Sports Pack Plus saw the introduction of two-stage adaptive damping, which became standard from 2011MY.
 
A few special editions to be aware of: in 2007 Aston announced a limited-run DB9 to celebrate the DBR9’s class win at Le Mans. The DB9 LM was a Sports Pack car with a cosmetic overhaul that included Sarthe Silver metallic paint, Obsidian Black leather with Coarse Red stitching, a circuit map stitched into the centre armrest – and rather un-DB9-like bright red facia trim and door cappings! 
 
Other specials you might come across are the Sport Edition and Luxury Edition. Sold in 2011, they had slightly more kit but were mechanically standard.
 
Finally, late 2012 saw the launch of the thoroughly updated ‘new DB9’ for 2013 model year, power rising to 510bhp, accompanied by a general sharpening of the looks and all manner of specification changes, including the fitment of carbon-ceramic brakes as standard. 
 
Very few DB9s were specified with the manual gearbox, and after a few years it was deleted, so it’s a bit of a rarity. Although it’s the same gearbox as the V8 Vantage, it’s a single-plate rather than a twin-plate clutch so it isn’t as smooth, and it’s also quite a heavy clutch, but today those cars are quite sought-after by enthusiasts.
 
Performance and specs
 
Engine V12, 5935cc 
Power 450bhp @ 6000rpm 
Torque 420lb ft @ 5000rpm
Transmission Six-speed automatic with Touchtronic 2 shift (six-speed manual option)
Fuel consumption 19.5mpg
Insurance group 20
0-60mph 4.9sec 
Top speed 186mph 
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2740mm
Length 4710mm
Width 1875mm
Height 1270mm
Weight 1800kg
 
Common problems
 
• Service intervals are 10,000 miles or 12 months – most cars get an annual service and if you budget £1000 a year for routine work you won’t be far off. 

• The good news is that the V12 engine is very strong, and serious faults are rare. The most common problem is with the coil packs, which suffer from heat damage and occasionally from water ingress causing shorting. It’s an expensive job to replace them (around £600 per bank) so check the engine pulls cleanly and smoothly. Any misfiring points to problems.

• The vast majority of DB9s have the paddleshift auto, which is generally robust and trouble-free. 

• The life of the clutch on the manual cars varies hugely depending on use, from as little as 15,000 miles to as much as 30,000-plus.  

• Check for corrosion – the body may be largely aluminium but you may well find bubbling on the edges of doors and other panels, and if it’s extensive you’ll be looking at expensive rectification. 

• Underneath, check carefully for accident damage: best advice is get the car on a ramp and remove the undertray, though a lot of the front structure is visible under the bonnet.

• On early cars there should be orange glue between the panels, which should all be crisp and clean and straight. Volantes sometime suffer water ingress in the boot, so check there too. 

• Check that the hi-fi works – the early Linn systems were troublesome; the later Alpine units are the ones to have. The early sat-navs may seem a bit clunky, but the experts are agreed it’s better to have one than not.
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.astonmartinworks.com - Aston Martin’s official heritage and restoration workshop 
• www.amoc.org - Aston Martin Owners Club website and forum
 
Summary and prices
 
So that’s the DB9, the consummate GT of the Aston range and now something of a bargain. A full service history with Aston Martin dealers and recognised specialists is a good starting point. Some early, high-mileage cars have slipped out of the network and though they appear bargains at £30k or even less, they are best avoided. 
 
£30-£35k buys an ’04 car with around 50,000 miles and a proper history, while £40k buys a nice ’05 example. An ’09 car with the extra power and various upgrades starts at around £50k, while top money for a pre-13MY DB9 is c£70k.
 
Words: Peter Tomalin/Vantage magazine
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Last updated: 8th Dec 2015
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Aston Martin DB9
39495 145000 GBP
  • Aston Martin DB9

    POA POA

    Used condition, Franchise approved,

    • Mileage: 600 mi
    • Engine size: 5935
    For sale
    POA POA
    Aston Martin Leeds
  • Aston Martin DB9

    £116,950 £116,950

    Variant name:Coupe GT ,Derivative:GT ,Variant: GT V12 GT 2dr Touchtronic Auto NATIONWIDE DELIVERY INCLUDED. Aston Martin Edinburgh present this beautiful DB9 GT finished in Lightning Silver with an Obsidian Black leather interior. The interior also benefits from Phantom Grey contrast stitching with Taylor's Grey alcantara headlining. This car has been serviced by ourselves in Nov 2017 and comes with the balance of Aston Martin's warranty until Nov 2019. Tailored finance packages available

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 7458 mi
    • Engine size: 5.9
    For sale
    £116,950 £116,950
  • Aston Martin DB9

    £49,989 £49,989

    Variant name:V12 ,Variant: V12 Coupe Sports Pack, Obsidian Black Leather with Contrast Grey Stitching, Black Carpets and Tailors Grey Headlining. Piano Black veneer inlays. 19" Sports Pack Alloy Wheels, Red Brake Calipers, SAT NAV, Power foldback door mirrors, Xenon (HID) headlamps + headlight washers,10 way electric front seats, Auto Air Conditioning, Boot mounted umbrella with holder, Heated front seats, Cruise Control, Bluetooth Phone Prep. Aston Martin Main Dealer Service History. Superb condition throughout.

    • Year: 2007
    • Mileage: 11680 mi
    • Engine size: 5.9
    For sale
    £49,989 £49,989