Aston Martin DB9
The Aston Martin DB9 is a British grand tourer first shown by Aston Martin at the 2003 Frankfurt Auto Show. Available both in coupé and a convertible bodystyles, the latter being known as the Volante, the DB9 was the successor of the DB7. It was the first model built at Aston Martin's Gaydon facility.
|Aston Martin DB9|
|Manufacturer||Aston Martin Lagonda Limited|
|Assembly||Gaydon, Warwickshire, England|
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Grand tourer (S)|
|Body style||2-door 2+2 coupé|
|Layout||Front mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive|
|Platform||VH Generation I|
|Engine||5.9 L V12|
|Transmission||6-speed ZF 6HP26 (Touchtronic) automatic|
|Wheelbase||2,743 mm (108.0 in)|
|Length||4,709 mm (185.4 in)|
|Width||1,880 mm (74.0 in)|
|Height||1,270 mm (50.0 in)|
|Curb weight||1,710 kg (3,770 lb) - 1,800 kg (3,968 lb)|
|Predecessor||Aston Martin DB7|
|Successor||Aston Martin DB11|
The DB9 was originally designed by Henrik Fisker, has an aluminium construction. The chassis is the Ford developed VH platform whilst the engine is the 5.9-litre V12 from the Vanquish. The 2013 model year facelift saw many improvements to the design, the engine and the overall driving experience.
The DB9 is rated well by car critics, who appreciate the car's interior and exterior design. In spite of comments regarding the DB9's poor handling, reviewers liked the car's ride and driving experience. Some also held issue with the DB9's small rear seats, cargo space and poor satnav.
Aston Martin Racing adapted the DB9 for sports car racing, producing the DBR9 for FIA GT1 and the DBRS9 for FIA GT3. These two cars are modified DB9 models adapted for motorsport; the interior features are removed and the aluminium body panels are replaced by carbon fibre panels. Additionally, the engine has been tweaked in both the cars to produce more horsepower and torque.
Development and designEdit
The DB9 was designed by Henrik Fisker, and was first introduced at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show. The letters "DB" are the initials of David Brown, the owner of Aston Martin for a significant part of its history. Although it succeeded the DB7, Aston Martin did not name the car DB8 due to fears that the name would suggest that the car was equipped with a V8 engine (the DB9 has a V12). It was also reported that Aston Martin believed that naming the car "DB8" would indicate a gradual evolution and misrepresent the car.
The DB9 is the first model to be built at Aston Martin's Gaydon facility in Warwickshire, England. In a 2007 interview, the then Aston Martin CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez stated that, though Aston Martin was traditionally a maker of more exclusive automobiles, he believed Aston Martin needed to be more visible and build more cars. At launch, Aston Martin planned to build between 1,400 and 1,500 cars per year.
In 2007, the DB9 was revised with upgraded electrical components which helped reliability, new front seat design, LED approach lights on the door handles and lowered suspension (8mm). The DB9 Volante no longer had a 266 km/h (165 mph) top-speed limiter, allowing it to attain an unrestricted top speed of 299 km/h (186 mph) should conditions allow.
The DB9 received a facelift in July 2008. This facelift was mainly the increase in engine power and torque, to 477 PS (351 kW; 470 hp) and 600 N⋅m (443 lb⋅ft), and a redesigned centre console. Externally, the DB9 remained virtually unchanged. The 2013 model year's new facelift design that resembled the 2011 Virage, as well as increased engine power of up to 517 PS (380 kW; 510 hp) and 620 N⋅m (457 lb⋅ft) of torque.
The DB9's interior is upholstered in leather and has a walnut wood trim. In newer editions, the leather is additionally given hand-stitched accents and joins. On the dashboard, satnav and Bluetooth are standard in later models (options on earlier models). Later models also offered a Dolby Prologic sound system can be connected to satellite radio, a six-CD changer, an iPod connector, a USB connector, or an auxiliary input jack. This sound system can be upgraded to a Bang & Olufsen stereo.
The coupé comes standard with two front seats and rear seats. A seating package, which removes the back seats and replaces the front seats with lighter seats made of Kevlar and carbon fibre. The boot capacity is 187 L (6.6 cu ft) in the coupé or 136 L (4.8 cu ft) in the Volante.
Made to follow the DB7 model, the DB9 is, according to Aston's initial press release, "a contemporary version of classic DB design elements and characteristics". It retains the traditional Aston Martin grille and side strakes, and the design attempts to keep the lines simple and refined. The boot of the car is pronounced, like that of the DB4 and DB5. At the front, DB9 is without a separate nose cone, and has no visible bumpers. The exterior skin is largely made of aluminium, though the front bumpers and bonnet are made of composite materials.
For the 2013 model year, Aston Martin made minor changes to the bodywork by adapting designs from the 2011 Virage, including enlarging the recessed headlight clusters with bi-xenon lights and LED daytime running strips, widening the front splitter, updating the grille and side heat extractors, updating the LED rear lights with clear lenses and integrating a new rear spoiler with the boot lid.
The Aston Martin DB9 was initially launched equipped with a 5.9-litre V12 engine, already being used in the V12 Vanquish. This generates 570 N⋅m (420 lb⋅ft) of torque at 5,000 rpm and a maximum power of 456 PS (335 kW; 450 hp) at 6,000 rpm. The DB9 can accelerate from 0 to 97 km/h (60 mph) in 4.7 seconds and has a top speed of 299 km/h (186 mph). The engine largely sits behind the front-axle line to improve weight distribution. The 2009 model year DB9 had an increase of engine power and torque, as the V12 now has a power output of 477 PS (351 kW; 470 hp) and 600 N⋅m (443 lb⋅ft) of torque, resulting in a power to weight ratio of 271 PS per tonne, an increase of 11 PS per tonne over the previous model. The top speed increased to 306 km/h (190 mph) and the 0 to 97 km/h (60 mph) acceleration time improved by 0.1 seconds to 4.6 seconds for the manual version of the car. Changes to the engine for the 2013 model year DB9 increased the power output to 517 PS (380 kW; 510 hp) and torque to 620 N⋅m (457 lb⋅ft). The car's 0 to 97 km/h (60 mph) acceleration time decreased to 4.5 seconds and the top speed stood at 295 km/h (183 mph).
The DB9 can be equipped with either a six-speed conventional manual gearbox manufactured by Graziano Trasmissioni or a six-speed ZF Friedrichshafen 'Touchtronic' automatic gearbox featuring paddle-operated semi-automatic mode. The automatic gearbox increases the 0 to 97 km/h (60 mph) acceleration time to 4.9 seconds, though the top speed remains the same. The 2009 model year featured a revised 'Touchtronic 2' gearbox, which offered faster gear shifts thanks to a new valve box and integrated transmission controls. The 0 to 97 km/h (60 mph) acceleration time decreased to 4.6 seconds, an improvement of 0.3 seconds. The gearbox is rear-mounted and is driven by a carbon-fiber tail shaft inside a cast aluminium torque tube.
The DB9 is the first Aston Martin model to be designed and developed on Ford's aluminium VH (vertical/horizontal) platform. The body structure is composed of aluminium and composite materials melded together by mechanically fixed self-piercing rivets and robotic assisted adhesive bonding techniques. The bonded aluminium structure is claimed to possess more than double the torsional rigidity of its predecessor's, despite being 25 percent lighter.
The DB9 also has anti-roll bars and double wishbone suspension, supported by coil springs. To keep the back-end in control under heavy acceleration or braking, the rear suspension has additional anti-squat and anti-lift technology. Later versions of the car also features three modes for the tuning: normal, for every-day use, sport, for more precise movement at the cost of ride comfort, and track, which furthers the effects of the sport setting.
The DB9 was initially launched with 483 mm (19 in) wheels with a width of 216 mm (8.5 in) at the front and 241 mm (9.5 in) at the rear. They were fitted with Bridgestone Potenza 235/40ZR19 up front and 275/35ZR19 is the back. The brakes are large Brembo four-piston calipers in the front and rear. Carbon ceramic brakes were an option.
These were later changed to 20 in (508 mm) wheels with widths of 216 mm (8.5 in) at the front and 279 mm (11 in) at the rear. The tyres are Pirelli P-Zero with codes of 245/35ZR20 and 295/30ZR20. The brakes are carbon-ceramic with six-piston calipers at the front and four-piston calipers at the rear.
The Aston Martin DB9 Volante is the convertible version of the DB9 coupé. The chassis, though stiffer, uses the same base VH platform. To protect occupants from rollovers, the Volante has strengthened the windshield pillars and added two pop-up hoops behind the rear seats. The hoops cannot be disabled and will break the car's rear window if deployed. In an effort to improve the Volante's ride while cruising, Aston Martin have softened the springs and lightened the anti-roll bars in the Volante, leading to a gentler suspension. The retractable roof of the Volante is made of folding fabric and takes 17 seconds to be put up or down. With a kerb weight of 1,880 kg (4,145 lb), the Volante weighs more than the coupé due to chassis stiffening modifications.
The coupé and Volante both share the same semi-automatic and automatic gearboxes and engine. The original car was limited to 266 km/h (165 mph) to retain the integrity of the roof, this limitation was removed on the upgraded 2007 model onwards. Like the coupé, the original Volante has 570 N⋅m (420 lb⋅ft) of torque at 5,000 rpm and a maximum power of 456 PS (335 kW; 450 hp) at 6,000 rpm. The 0 to 97 km/h (60 mph) is slowed to 4.9 seconds due to the additional weight. On newer models, like the coupé's, the Volante's power output and torque have increased to 477 PS (351 kW; 470 hp) and 600 N⋅m (443 lb⋅ft) respectively for the 2009 model year, and 517 PS (380 kW; 510 hp) and 620 N⋅m (457 lb⋅ft) respectively for the 2013 model year.
The final edition of the DB9 called the DB9 GT was introduced in 2015. The engine now has a power output of 547 PS (402 kW; 540 hp) at 6,750 rpm and 620 N⋅m (457 lb⋅ft) of torque at 5,500 rpm. The 0 to 97 km/h (60 mph) acceleration time is 4.4 seconds and 0 to 161 km/h (100 mph) acceleration time is 10.2 seconds. It can run the quarter mile within 12.8 to 12.9 seconds, and the top speed remains unchanged at 295 km/h (183 mph).
To commemorate Aston Martin's GT1 victory at the 2007 24 Hours of Le Mans, Aston Martin introduced the DB9 LM (Le Mans) in the first quarter of 2008. The DB9 LM comes standard with the DB9's optional sports pack and is only available as a semi-automatic coupé. The LM was only available in a special Sarthe Silver exterior colour, named after the Circuit de la Sarthe, where Le Mans is run, and has red brake calipers, a chromed mesh grill, and a special black leather interior, with red stitching and the Le Mans track stitched on the central console. The car is also fitted with the DBS' clear rear lights. Only 124 cars were authorized, one per dealer. However, some dealers did not take their allocation with the result that only 69 DB9 LM's were finally built by the factory.
DB9 Carbon Black, Morning Frost, and Quantum SilverEdit
Following the success of several special edition models of other Aston Martin cars, like the V12 Vantage Carbon Black and the DBS Carbon Black, Aston Martin announced three special edition models of the DB9 in 2011: the DB9 Carbon Black, Morning Frost, and Quantum Silver. All three models are denoted by a sill plaque bearing their respective names. All three models have the same 5.9-litre V12 engine as the base DB9, which has a power output of 477 PS (351 kW; 470 hp) and 600 N⋅m (443 lb⋅ft) of torque. All three models were available both as a coupé and a Volante.
The DB9 Carbon Black, as its name suggests, has a black paint finish and matching interior. This includes a black center console and interior door handles on the inside, and black grills, a black tailpipe, and black 483 mm (19 in) 10-spoke wheels on the outside. The interior also has numerous add-ons to make the car more sporty, including silver stitching for the leather and a polished glass gear stick. The exhaust has been modified to create a different sound to add to the sporty feel. The Carbon Black is only available as a six-speed semi-automatic.
The DB9 Morning Frost's paint finish is a pearlescent white. However, on the interior, the Morning Frost is fitted with metallic bronze leather and a black center console and interior door handles. On the outside, the Morning Frost has silver 483 mm (19 in) 10-spoke wheels, silver brake calipers, and silver grilles. Like the Carbon Black, the DB9 Morning Frost has a six-speed semi-automatic transmission.
The DB9 Quantum Silver uses a silver paint scheme also found on the DBS in Quantum of Solace, hence its name. Inside, the Quantum Silver shares the black center console and leather. On the outside, it also has black grills and 483 mm (19 in) wheels. The Quantum Silver has the same semi-automatic transmission as its counterparts, and shares a modified sports exhaust with the Carbon Black.
The DB9 has been adapted for use in sports car racing by Aston Martin Racing, a collaboration between Aston Martin and Prodrive. Called the DBR9, the car debuted in 2005. It retains the DB9's 5.9-litre V12 engine, but has been extensively modified to decrease weight as well as to improve performance and has a final displacement of 6,000 cc (6.0 L; 366.1 cu in). Most of the car's aluminium body panels have been replaced with carbon fibre panels, and several external features, like a front splitter and a rear wing, have been added to increase the car's downforce. The car has a basic interior with essential driver aids. Likewise, though the suspension's layout remains the same, it has been improved to racing specifications. The brakes are upgraded to Brembo carbon-carbon discs and six-piston calipers. The transmission in the DBR9 is a Xtrac six-speed sequential manual, containing a Salisbury friction-plate limited-slip differential, and the prop shaft made of carbon fibre. The lightweight materials give the DBR9 a total kerb weight of 1,170 kg (2,579 lb). The engine modifications allow it to have a power output of 634 PS (466 kW; 625 hp) and 746 N⋅m (550 lb⋅ft) of torque. The increase of engine power and weight reduction allows the DBR9 to accelerate from 0 to 97 km/h (60 mph) in 3.4 seconds, and 0 to 161 km/h (100 mph) in 6.4 seconds.
The DBR9 won in its debut at the 2005 12 Hours of Sebring, and has gone on to take wins in the American Le Mans Series, Le Mans Series, FIA GT Championship, as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Aston Martin Racing also developed a variant of the DBR9 following FIA GT3 regulations. Called the DBRS9, the car shares carbon fibre bodywork and the chassis and suspension layout of the DBR9. The DBRS9 has a kerb weight of 1,230 kg (2,712 lb), just 60 kg (132 lb) more than the DBR9. While the engine is shared with the DBR9, it has been detuned and has a power output of 558 PS (410 kW; 550 hp) and 620 N⋅m (457 lb⋅ft) of torque. The DBRS9 is equipped with either a six-speed H-pattern gearbox or a six-speed sequential grearbox box and has a 0 to 97 km/h (60 mph) acceleration time of 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 314 km/h (195 mph).
The DBRS9 competed in several endurance races, including the 24 Hours Nürburgring, Spa 24 Hours, and Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race. The car additionally raced in the FIA GT3 European Championship for which it was designed before being replaced by a GT3 version of the V12 Vantage in 2011.
The DBRS9 was made available to consumers and included an adjustable driver's seat and steering.
Car critics have generally rated the DB9 coupé and Volante well, praising the car's luxurious interior and exterior design. On the British automotive show Top Gear, the DB9 is thought of highly. Notably, on the show's "Cool Wall" segment, the presenters called the DB9 "too cool" for the wall and gave it its own category called "The DB9 Section", a mini-refrigerator containing the car's card. While reviewing the Volante, Richard Hammond called the interior of the DB9 "one of the best known to man". He felt that the car was less stiff than the coupé, however, to the point that the car was "wobbly".
Both Edmunds.com and Road and Track critiqued the DB9 for not having as good handling as its competitors, noting that the car isn't stiff enough. However, Edmunds noted that while the Mercedes-Benz SL600 and SL55 AMG were objectively better cars, the DB9 was more desirable. When compared directly against other cars, like the Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet and the Ford GT, the DB9 was ranked poorly, though the reviewer noted that comparing it against faster cars "highlighted its shortcomings". Likewise, when compared to the Bentley Continental GT, Mercedes-Benz CL600, and the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti F1, the DB9 ranked poorly again, though reviewers said that "despite its problems, the DB9 would be their personal choice". The issues with stiffness were largely fixed by later iterations of the DB9 as noted by Autoweek and Edmunds.
The DB9's interior has been called "regal" and "dazzling", with Edmunds saying, "[w]ords like 'rich' and 'crafted' just don't cut it, though 'decadent' and 'sculpted by the Almighty himself' get close". Critics liked the comfort of the almost racecar-like driver's seat. Reviewers complained about the back seats however, with Forbes saying "think of it more as a padded parcel shelf". Likewise, reviewers complained that the space for cargo was limited, though many quipped the small back seats could help hold luggage. Another common complaint was car's poor satnav system, which Automobile Magazine called the car's "Achilles heel", noting that "selecting a route is painful at best". Newer models contain a much improved satnav system sourced from Garmin.
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