KBB Editors' Overview
By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor - Updated Date: 7/16/2012
In the world of high-end luxury performance cars, the Aston Martin name fits neatly above Audi and BMW, but just below legends such as Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz. Two of the most recognized Aston Martin cars for 2012 are the DB9 coupe and DB9 Volante convertible. Although the DB9's styling is vaguely reminiscent of the Jaguar XJ, there is a more substantial presence with this car, both inside and under the hood. A massive V12 engine powers the DB9, something you won't find in a Jaguar, and the car's suspension, though tuned for performance driving, returns a rather comfortable ride. From its signature grille and handcrafted cabin, to its familial connection as James Bond's car of choice, the DB9 is a thoroughly satisfying ride.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a sleek, personal 2+2 performance coupe or convertible that is as sophisticated in design and engineering as it is in good looks, the 2012 Aston Martin DB9 and DB9 Volante certainly qualify.
You May Not Like This Car If...
Purists who demand a manual transmission and top-speed bragging rights may be happier in a more performance-oriented supercar like the Aston DBS. The DB9's minuscule back seat isn't even fit for children, making it little more than a leather covered briefcase holder.
What's New for 2012
The formerly offered (and rarely ordered) manual transmission has been deleted from the DB9 lineup, but the car's cabin is upgraded with a new Garmin-based navigation system.
With a 0-60 mph run of just under five seconds, the 2012 Aston Martin DB9 isn't the quickest car in its class, but it certainly can't be called a slouch, either. The Volante convertible is just a few tenths of a second slower. The DB9's 6-speed automatic transmission is quick and precise when left on its own, but its manual mode is somewhat slow to shift, and generally doesn't add to the enjoyment of driving. The steering feeling is first rate, nicely weighted at the center with progressive feedback as turn-in commences. The DB9 coupe's ride is amazingly smooth and its interior is well insulated from outside noise. The same can't be said of the Volante convertible, however, where you'll endure quite a bit of wind buffeting inside the cockpit even at moderate speeds.
ADAPTIVE DAMPING SYSTEM
This superb electronically controlled suspension offers a compliant ride in the "normal" mode, but modifies its settings impressively for more aggressive handling when set to "sport."
BANG & OLUFSEN BeoSound AUDIO
This optional sound system sends 1,000 watts to specially tuned speakers to create one of the most vibrant and ear-piercing audio paradises available on four wheels.
Nowhere is the 2012 Aston Martin DB9's claim to exclusivity more apparent than inside the cabin. Special touches unique to Aston Martin include the Touchtronic 2 automatic transmission that uses console-mounted push buttons for gear selection. In between the buttons is the docking station for the "Emotional Control Unit" or ECU, a glass and steel key that brings the DB9 to life. The front bucket seats are deeply contoured and, though comfortable for some, may prove confining to others. As for the rear seat, it is really just an afterthought, barely large enough for even a small child.
There is more to the 2012 Aston Martin DB9's seductive exterior than just good looks. The entire chassis is made of high-strength aluminum, a design that allows for maximum rigidity and minimal weight. Even the wheels and 5-bar grille are composed of the lightweight alloy. On the Volante convertible, extra bracing is added to ensure body flex and bending is kept to a minimum, while the deployable roll bars tucked inconspicuously behind the rear seats ensure an added measure of safety.
Notable Standard Equipment
Every 2012 Aston Martin DB9 and DB9 Volante come standard with a 6.0-liter V12 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle-shift control, 19-inch alloy wheels, an adaptive suspension, a 700-watt Aston Martin Premium audio, USB/iPod interface, Garmin equipped satellite navigation, and front and rear parking sensors. The Volante adds a power-operated soft top with a glass rear window.
Notable Optional Equipment
Two special edition trims, the Luxury and the Sport, provide DB9 buyers with even more exclusivity. Luxury models include unique 10-spoke alloy wheels, Morning Frost paint, silver brake calipers, a metallic bronze full grain leather interior and contrasting hood and body trim. The Sport adds a sport tuned exhaust, custom black paint, black brake calipers, black alloy wheels, and Obsidian Black leather. Stand-alone options for the DB9 include the Bang & Olufsen audio system, 20 different interior leather color combinations, and an almost endless list of exterior paint colors and options, including a paint-to-match option that allows the owner to pick any color available regardless of the manufacturer.
Under the Hood
Power for the DB9 and DB9 Volante convertible is derived from an all-aluminum 6.0-liter V12 engine. With a reported 0-60 time of 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 190 mph, the V12 clearly occupies a place in supercar lore. The Touchtronic 2 6-speed automatic transmission's mid-ship placement just forward of the rear axle helps the DB9 achieve a perfect 50:50 front-to-rear weight ratio, and the engine's presence is announced by a set of massive rear exhaust pipes specially tuned to amplify the V12's throaty growl.
470 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
443 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/20 mpg
The 2012 Aston Martin DB9 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of around $195,000, but with options and special edition packages, that can easily climb past $220,000. A 2012 DB9 Volante starts just under $210,000 and can run as high as $230,000. This pricing puts the DB9 about $100,000 more than the Porsche 911 or Jaguar XJ, but in good company with the Mercedes-Benz SLS and Ferrari California. Ordinarily, our Fair Purchase Price would tell you the best price to pay for a 2012 DB9, but in this category, we really don't expect too many Aston Martin buyers or dealers to be haggling over the bottom line.