By KBB.com Editors
In the world of luxury performance cars, British automaker Aston Martin neatly fits above brands such as Audi and BMW, and just below exotics like Ferrari and Bentley. The 2013 DB9 holds the middle ground of Aston's lineup, above the sport-oriented Vantage and below the new Vanquish GT. Available as a gorgeous coupe or convertible (Volante), the DB9 blends the performance of a sports car with the comfort of a grand touring vehicle. The 2013 Aston Martin DB9 is the fastest and most powerful yet, endowed with a new V12 that delivers over 500 horsepower. Though now celebrating a century in motoring, Aston Martin's dealer/service network is far smaller than, say, Porsche's. On the other hand, Aston Martins boast intrinsic exclusivity, not to mention a special affiliation with Bond, James Bond.
If you're looking for a relatively exclusive 2+2 performance coupe or convertible with exquisite looks, sophisticated engineering and a cylinder-rich engine, the 2013 Aston Martin DB9 easily qualifies.
Driving purists who desire a manual transmission or a higher degree of performance should consider the Aston Martin Vantage V12 or a model from other high-end automakers lusting for clients who can afford to spend nearly $200,000 on a car. If you need to accommodate four adults, look beyond the DB9 and its tiny rear seats.
The 2013 Aston Martin DB9 has a new V12 engine that is more powerful yet emits slightly fewer emissions. Carbon-ceramic Brembo brakes are now standard. Exterior revisions are most noticeable in the DB9's front fascia and rear trunk lip, while the underlying chassis has been stiffened for better performance.
Driving Impressions With a 0-60 mph time of about 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 183 mph, the DB9 isn't quite the quickest or fastest in this class, but it's certainly...no slouch. You'll still be almost guaranteed first access onto the freeway should your right foot desire. Of course, the DB9 isn't just meant to be quick. Comfort is a major consideration, and is achieved with a new Adaptive Damping System that is user-adjustable for a softer ride (Sport and Track modes stiffen the ride for better performance). We enjoyed the DB9's steering weight and its progressive feedback. The 6-speed automatic transmission is snappy, but when in manual mode is somewhat slow to react to inputs. The DB9 coupe's ride is amazingly smooth and its cabin is well insulated from outside noise. That can't be said for the Volante convertible, which lets in quite a bit of wind buffeting even at moderate speeds.
BANG & OLUFSEN BeoSound AUDIO
We've heard a lot of sound systems in a lot of cars, but the Bang & Olufsen setups in Aston Martins are something magical. Aside from its sheer power output – 1,000 watts for those counting – this optional system is optimally tuned to bring audiophile bliss that rivals the DB9's excellent exhaust note.
Those with a love of both timepieces and automobiles will be interested in the DB9 Transponder watch. Created jointly with Jaeger-Le-Coultre, the watch lets you lock or unlock the DB9 with the press of a sapphire crystal. At nearly $25,000, the watch is an option as extravagant in price as it is in cachet.
Bathed in leather and appointed with elegant touches like magnesium shift paddles and glass switches, you don't need to be a member of the Royal Family to recognize the DB9's interior as one of supreme luxury. This is what sport and elegance are all about – at least if you're in deeply contoured front seats. The tiny rear seats, on the other hand, are best thought of as parcel shelves. In coupes, the option is available to have them left out altogether. Amid the DB9's contemporary dash is the docking station for the "Emotional Control Unit" or ECU, a glass and steel key that makes the Aston roar to life.
As with the interior, attention-to-detail is paramount to the DB9's exquisite outer looks. For instance, Aston Martin says it seeks such perfection in the paint finish that 50 man-hours are spent on the body of every DB9, including rigorous hunts for tiny blemishes. If paint can be called lucky, the coats applied to the DB9's curves surely are blessed. With a low profile, long hood and big rear fenders that resemble well-defined muscles, the 2013 DB9 is a portrait of elegance and strength. 2013 models appear sleeker thanks to elongated headlight housings, while a rear trunk lip enhances aerodynamics and allure.
The 2013 Aston Martin DB9 comes with a powerful V12 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, carbon-ceramic brakes, and 20-inch alloy wheels with Pirelli P Zero tires. Inside are full-grain leather, heated front seats, a satellite navigation system, a 700-watt sound system with 6-disc changer and integrated iPod controller, and USB/auxiliary inputs. Front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera will help you maneuver your supercar in tight spots. Other nice touches include a trunk-mounted umbrella and a Lamy pen and pen holder. The Volante adds a power-operated soft top with a glass rear window.
Extras for the 2013 Aston Martin DB9 include a superb-sounding B&O audio system, a 2+0 seating option in the coupe, satellite radio, and various wheel choices. Carbon-fiber packages are available for both the interior and exterior of the 2013 DB9. The former adds the strong and lightweight material to the shift paddles and door pulls, while the latter adds carbon fiber to the coupe's front splitter, rear diffuser, and mirror arms. For those seeking a cozier feel, a leather headliner is available.
The 2013 DB9 uses an all-new, aluminum-alloy 6.0-liter V12 gasoline engine that sends 510 horsepower to the rear wheels. The engine is front mid-mounted for better overall weight ratio and, thus, better handling. The only transmission is a 6-speed automatic with a manual-shift mode. Premium fuel is required, and a gas guzzler tax of around $2,000 is also applied to the 2013 Aston Martin DB9.
510 @ 6,500 rpm
457 @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19 mpg
The 2013 Aston Martin DB9 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of over $186,000 for the coupe and over $201,000 for a Volante convertible. Options can add tens of thousands to each model. At these prices, the DB9 costs more than even a Porsche 911 Turbo S, Jaguar XKR-S and Maserati GranTurismo, and is in line with starting prices of the Mercedes-Benz SLS, Ferrari California and Bentley Continental GT. Ordinarily, our Fair Purchase Price would tell you the best price to pay for a 2013 DB9, but in this category, we really don't expect too many Aston Martin buyers or dealers to be haggling over the bottom line.
By Subzero288 on Tuesday, January 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,500overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Gorgeous looking, sumptuous interior, glorious V12"
Cons: "HORRIBLE build quality, thirsty, weak structure"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"I'm amused by the other owners who've been so seduced by this car's design that they've convinced themselves it's a wise purchase. Granted, I have the Volante, which gives up nearly 40% of its structural rigidity to the coupe (shame on you Aston Martin!), so my comments on the car's deplorable rigidity are specific to the convertible. That being said, the car feels like a piece of undercooked spaghetti over bumps. Aston tried to hide the structural deficiency with softer springs, a smaller front anti-roll bar and by removing the rear bar altogether, but all they've done is make the car floaty. It still twists, shakes and creaks over minor road-imperfections. It also sends a cheap-feeling shutter through the steering wheel over rapid undulations. Further, the car is in the shop ALL the time. In less than 20,000 miles, I had an oil line rupture (fortunately, it caused just a very slow leak so I caught it before the engine seized), the passenger airbag sensor and the backup warning sensor shorted, the stereo inexplicably craps out for hours at a time, water began leaking into the trunk during inclement weather and the rear brake pads wore down almost completely. Diagnosing many of the car's glitches is not easy or inexpensive as independent mechanics do not work on these cars (except for regular servicing) so you're forced to use the dealer network. Naturally, they must always order parts from England, so the car spends weeks in the shop. My car literally spends as much (if not more) of its life in the dealership being repaired as I does in my garage. If you drive two weeks without something breaking, then you've witnessed a miracle. On the upside, it is strikingly beautiful. Aston's incorporation of the Golden Ratio into the car's design is inspired. The interior materials are first rate and, when driven at less than 7/10ths, it's pretty confidence inspiring because it's well balanced with spectacular feel from the hydraulic (Woo Hoo!) steering (although the brake pedal is pretty mushy). The sound system (when it works) is lovely, but you often don't even use it because the V-12 snarl is just that glorious (but it BURNS trough fuel at an alarming rate). The transmission (mine's an auto) could shift quicker and sharper, but at least it's smooth in operation. So, overall a mixed bag of superb highs and awful lows. If you don't mind all the downsides, it can be a relatively pleasant GT, but anyone considering this for a daily driver should have his head examined."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Rick on Thursday, November 10, 2011
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "FUN to drive! Looks, acceleration, handling"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"An extraordinary vehicle: acceleration, handling, the sound of the engine, quality of construction, looks, and FUN! I had originally ordered the paddle shift, but switched to the manual 6-speed transmission before my original order was delivered--and, wow, am I glad I did. As great as the paddle shift was, my 6-speed is even better! I paid extra for premium sound, but never turn it on, since I so enjoy the sound of the engine, especially in 2nd gear at 4,500 RPM!"
33 people out of 35 found this review helpful
By jj on Monday, July 11, 2011
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"the db9 is a true gentlemens sports car with the looks and power but none of the yelling like an annoying ferrari... the db9 unlike the dbs is very loose and relaxing and stiff when required. for the kind of driving i do (city) it is truly incredible!!!!!!!!!"
35 people out of 38 found this review helpful