By Keith Buglewicz
There are few cars like the Aston Martin DB9 coupes and convertibles, and arguably none more beautiful. More prestigious than luxury brands like Audi or BMW, and with a cachet nearly as impressive as Ferrari and Bentley, Aston Martin's cars are coveted. The DB9 is actually the middle child of AM's three coupes, slotting between the less expensive Aston Martin Vantage and the new Vanquish. But the DB9 is a grand tourer rather than a pure sports car, with striking design and a 6.0-liter V12 engine making more than 500 horsepower. Starting just below $200,000, it doesn't come cheap, but that price and the sparse dealer network give Aston Martin DB9 owners a level of exclusivity matched by few, and surpassed by even fewer.
Whether you're looking for one of the finest 2+2 grand touring coupes you can buy, or just hoping to live out a few James Bond fantasies – and really, who isn't – the 2015 Aston Martin DB9 is your best choice.
The 2015 Aston Martin DB9 Carbon Edition packages are optional styling enhancements to the standard DB9, giving both coupe and convertible ("Volante" in Aston-speak) models a visual upgrade, with carbon-fiber accents inside and out. Mechanically, however, nothing has changed.
Even with an impressive 0-60 mph sprint of 4.5 seconds, and a top speed in excess of 180 mph, there are a lot of cars quicker and faster than the...
... Aston Martin DB9. But outright speed is only part of the DB9's mission. It's also a grand touring machine with the ability to soak up mile after mile in comfort. The powerful V12 does its part, as does the steering's progressive feel and feedback, and the 3-stage Active Damping System tightens the suspension for hard corners, or relaxes it for cruising. The interior is beautifully crafted, with leather on every surface, and it's surprisingly quiet for such a sporty car. Left in Drive, the DB9's 6-speed automatic transmission is snappy, but it reacts slowly in manual mode. Note that if you want to go top-down in the Volante, you'll contend with pronounced wind buffeting.
BANG & OLUFSEN BeoSound AUDIO
If you're seeking an otherworldly sound experience beyond the riveting soundtrack of the 12-cylinder engine, the DB9's Bang & Olufsen setup is amazing. Tuned to perfection, this upgrade system rivals the DB9’s excellent exhaust note.
OH, THOSE LOOKS
Try NOT to look at this car. See if you can somehow avoid glancing back over your shoulder as you walk past. Just try, if you can, to avoid drinking in the curves, the classic proportions blended with modern aerodynamics. No, never mind, go ahead and give your eyeballs a treat.
The new Aston Martin DB9 Carbon Edition's interior gets an array of carbon-fiber pieces, in addition to the standard luxuries like glass switches and quilted leather. The dash, doors and center console all have carbon-fiber panels, and we especially like the Carbon Black panel on the kick plate. Aston Martin calls the key an Emotional Control Unit, and it slides into a slot on the dash between the transmission selector buttons. The center console, however, looks a bit dated, and the hand brake is oddly placed to the left of the driver.
It's hard to overstate how striking the DB9 is in person. The low profile, long hood and toned muscles of its big rear fenders strike a portrait of elegance and strength. You can choose between Carbon Black for a monochromatic look, and Carbon White for high-contrast black accents. You can also get the Carbon Edition accents with a color of your choosing. The accents blend in with the rest of the car's styling details, like the sweeping headlights, and avoid looking tacked on. Volante convertible models substitute a power-operated fabric top for the coupe's low-slung metal roof.
Not opting up to the Carbon Edition in the 2015 Aston Martin DB9 still gets you a V12 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, exceptional carbon-ceramic brakes and 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with Pirelli P Zero tires. Inside are full-grain leather, heated front seats, satellite navigation system and 700-watt sound system with 6-disc changer, 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. The Volante convertible adds a power-operated soft top with a glass rear window.
Carbon Edition models add the various carbon-fiber accents inside and out., but there are plenty of other options for the 2015 Aston Martin DB9 as well. There's the aforementioned Bang & Olufsen audio system, a rear-seat delete option – which turns the 2+2 DB9 into a pure 2-seater, satellite radio and various wheel choices. You can also add color contrast stitching, and on Carbon Edition models, the front splitter, rear diffuser, and mirror cap can be carbon fiber.
Carbon Edition or not, the 2015 Aston Martin DB9 gets an aluminum 6.0-liter V12 gasoline engine that sends 510 horsepower to the rear wheels. The engine is front mid-mounted (in front of the passengers but behind the front wheels) for an advantageous weight distribution and its contribution to superior handling. The sole transmission choice is a 6-speed automatic with manual-shift mode. Premium fuel is required, and the DB9 also has a gas guzzler tax of $1,700.
510 @ 6,500 rpm
457 @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19 mpg
The 2015 Aston Martin DB9 has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of around $187,000 for the coupe and about $200,000 for a Volante convertible. If you're opting for the Carbon Edition package, you'll pay $203,000 for a coupe and $215,000 for the convertible. Options can add tens of thousands to each model. Put another way, you could buy Honda's entire lineup, with the exception of the Ridgeline pickup, for the same amount as a Carbon Edition coupe. More realistically, the DB9 costs more than a Porsche 911 Turbo S, Jaguar XKR-S, Maserati GranTurismo or Bentley Continental GT, and is in line with starting prices of the Mercedes-Benz SLS and Ferrari California. Ordinarily, our Fair Purchase Price would tell you the best price to pay for a 2015 DB9, but we don’t expect many Aston Martin buyers or dealers to be haggling over the bottom line.