2014 Aston Martin DB9 Expert Review
By KBB.com Editors
What's New for 2014
Among the world's exclusive performance cars, British automaker Aston Martin stands above luxury brands such as Audi and BMW and just below exotics such as Ferrari and Bentley. The 2014 DB9 itself sits in the middle Aston Martin's lineup, above the Vantage and below the Vanquish GT. Like the Vanquish, the DB9 is more of a civilized touring car than the track-oriented Vantage, yet it remains a formidable performer. Available as a coupe or convertible (Volante), the DB9 has stunning design and a captivating V12 engine that makes over 500 horsepower. At nearly $190,000, the DB9's cost of entry is for an elite few who will then have to locate a dealer, but taking the plunge grants immediate access to a high-class club that counts James Bond as a member.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a rare, 2+2 performance coupe or convertible with breathtaking looks, a cylinder-rich engine and over 100 years of history, the 2014 Aston Martin DB9 qualifies.
You May Not Like This Car If...
Like the DB9 itself, Aston Martin dealerships are rather scarce. With only about three dozen nationwide, make sure you can access one for purchase and service. Driving purists desiring a manual transmission or a higher degree of performance can find both in a Porsche 911, Audi R8 or BMW M6.
Automatic headlights, a rearview camera and rain-sensing windshield wipers become standard on 2014 DB9 models. New colors are also available this model year, as is a sports exhaust system.
Driving the DB9
With the ability to sprint to 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds and reach 183 mph, the rear-wheel-drive DB9 isn't the fastest in this class, but it's hardly a slouch....
... Unless you regularly drag race Ferraris, you're still almost guaranteed to be first onto the freeway, thanks to the undeniable power of the Aston V12. But the DB9 isn't meant just to be quick. This is a grand touring car that's intended to be comfortable for many miles and long stretches. The 2014 DB9 achieves that thanks to its 3-stage Adaptive Damping System that can soften the suspension for cruising or tighten it to hug corners. Other highlights include the steering wheel's progressive feedback and the overall comfort and quiet of the cabin. The DB9's 6-speed automatic transmission is snappy, but when in manual mode is slower to react. If you choose to go topless in the Volante convertible, be prepared to contend with pronounced wind buffeting.
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 tuned to bring audiophile bliss that rivals the DB9's excellent exhaust note.
OH, THOSE LOOKS
You don't have to drive a DB9 to sense its special place among automobiles. All it takes is one look. Aston Martins are as much rolling artwork as they are road-going rocket, and the latest DB9 is no exception.
2014 Aston Martin DB9 Details
With its bounty of leather and array of elegant touches like magnesium shift paddles and glass switches, you don't need to be part of the Royal Family to appreciate the DB9's well-crafted interior. This is what sport and elegance are all about – at least if you're in the sculpted front seats. The tiny rear seats are best viewed as parcel shelves, and in coupes, there's an option to leave them out altogether. Amid the DB9's dash is the docking station for the "Emotional Control Unit" or ECU, a glass and steel key that makes the Aston roar to life. Instead of a traditional gear selector, the DB9 is put into drive, reverse, park and neutral via buttons that straddle where the key is inserted. Also different is the handbrake, which is to the left of the driver's seat.
If paint can be called lucky, the coats applied to the DB9's curves are surely blessed. With a low profile, long hood and big rear fenders that resemble toned muscles, the 2014 Aston Martin DB9 is a portrait of elegance and strength. The Aston's sweeping looks begin up front with its elongated headlights with integrated LED side lamps, and end with a snubbed rear and dual exhaust outlets. Volante convertible models substitute a power-operated fabric top for the coupe's low-slung metal roof.
The 2014 Aston Martin DB9 comes with a V12 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, exceptional carbon-ceramic brakes and 20-inch 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. Other notable touches include a trunk-mounted umbrella and a Lamy pen. The Volante convertible adds a power-operated soft top with a glass rear window.
Options on the 2014 DB9 include the 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. The former includes carbon fiber on the shift paddles and door pulls, while the latter adds it to the coupe's front splitter, rear diffuser and mirror arms. For a cozier feel, a leather headliner is available.
Under the Hood
The 2014 DB9 has 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 2014 Aston Martin DB9 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of around $187,000 for the coupe and $202,000 for a Volante convertible. Options can add tens of thousands to each model. At these prices, 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 2014 DB9, but we don't expect many Aston Martin buyers or dealers to be haggling over the bottom line.
To compare current market prices, check out KBB.com's car classifieds to view the new and used
Aston Martin DB9 vehicles for sale near you.