Friday, December 24, 2010

2007 Aston Martin DB9 Coupe Road Test

2007 Aston Martin DB9 Coupe

To put it plainly, while Ferraris and Lamborghinis are almost toy-like and tend to put out that “compensating” image, Aston Martins are beautifully crafted confidence machines. Sitting behind the wheel of the DB9 oozes one thing. Confidence. And that’s mainly due to the car’s subtle yet outstanding looks.

Think of it this way, the Ferraris and Lamborghinis of today will look outdated and ridiculous in 10 years time, while the DB9 will still look the part. Instead of going for a futuristic look, Aston Martin has styled the DB9 to be the best looking Grand Tourer on the planet today. A timeless shape.

The DB9 doesn’t have to shout with its looks, like a patient predator, the DB9 can sit calmly next to a café as you enjoy a drink, but when its time to go, it will turn every head with its presence. Initially when we picked up the Aston we nearly walked right past it, it’s a case of a double-take with the DB9, you look, and then you look again and realise that you have just laid eyes upon a masterpiece.

The design was started by Ian Calum and finished by Henrik Fisker. What these two men created is arguably the best looking Aston Martin to date. Far more sophisticated and graceful than the DB7. You can look at it in every which way you want, you can even hang upside down from a tree if you want to, the DB9 is stunning from the front, side and rear.

While driving around Sydney, it was obvious the DB9 was a little more conspicuous than our last supercar, the Murcielago. If you’re wondering why you would fork out $350,000 for a subtle looking DB9 over, say, a Lamborghini Gallardo ($400,000) which looks like a spaceship from Area 51, it’s good to stop here and put a big line between the Italian supercars and the DB9.

Here is the truth, while the Murcielago, Gallardo and F430 are all exceptional cars in their own right, the DB9 is a different car altogether. For so long Porsche has dominated the everyday supercar market with the 911 and although the DB9 sits above the 911 in every respect, the concept is the same. The DB9 is what 911 owners dream of and what Ferrari/Lambo owners wish they had bought, it is the ultimate GT car that you can drive from Brisbane to Sydney (try that in your Gallardo) and straight onto a race track the next day.

If you want to compare looks to Grand Tourers from the Italians, let’s have a look at the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti:

From the outside you can instantly recognise the DB9 as an Aston Martin thanks to the marque’s trademark radiator grille and powerful rear haunches. It’s a sign of the times; Aston Martin is producing a stunner of a car while the rest of the world is concerned with futuristic styles that tend to be a hit-and-miss affair.
If you’re still not convinced the DB9 is the best looking Grand Tourer on the planet today, all you have to do is park it in a busy street filled with trendy cafes and wait for the comments. Instead of the regular “Oh my, that looks nice & expensive… he must be having a midlife crisis” comments that you get with a Ferrari & Lambo, with a DB9 expect the “Sorry to interrupt sir, but I just wanted to tell you that I absolutely adore your car…” comments instead.

As if performance, handling, a remarkable interior and the sound of a V12 wasn’t enough, rest assured, the DB9’s mesmerising looks will win over not only the ladies but the respect of all car lovers and art critiques as well.

Inside the DB9

Moran leather sofas are expensive purchases, around $9000 for a two-seater. The leather is some of the finest in Australia and I’m told, will last a lifetime.

But you won’t find Moran leather in the Aston Martin DB9. No sir. This fine Scottish leather is from a company called Bridge of Weir, which has been manufacturing leather since 1758!

They do the leatherwork in the DB9, private jets and very large yachts, the kind that only Arab oil tycoons can afford.

Its not just the leather seats, there are acres of Bridge on Weir Chancellor Red leather inside the DB9. The dash, the doors, the facia, its everywhere and its all hand stitched.

The 700w high-end sound system in the DB9 is by LINN, another bespoke company also based in Scotland. Must be all that delicious fried black pudding that produces such dedicated craftspeople.

The sound is astonishing but to tell you the truth, I couldn’t read the tiny print on the audio buttons without my reading glasses.
Titanium coloured aluminium features are a superb contrast to the leather and are again featured throughout the car. The door openers are especially tasty.
Door trim in the test car was the optional Piano Black look, which sat well with the other materials making for a thoroughly contemporary look.
The detail is extraordinary. When I first closed the door, I felt the softest suede on the inside edge of the door handle.
I’m not entirely sold on starter buttons but the polished cut glass unit in the DB9 could only be described as beautiful.
Sitting in the driver’s seat of the Aston for the first time borders on a religious and divine experience, such is the history and reputation behind this car company.
Trivia (When I was last in the UK in 2002, I drove without Sat Nav for 5 hours in an attempt to locate Aston Martin’s (now old) HQ at Newport Pagnel. We ended up arriving at this little village at 10.30pm with not a single Aston in sight. That is, until I decided to climb the fortress like high wooden gates to the service area and behold, one of the greatest collections of Aston Martin cars of all time).

As you submerge into the racing style seats, which are infinitely more comfortable than they look, you are sitting at the lowest point possible without being in a go kart. Low centre of gravity seat placement is crucial for balance. Don’t go looking for the electric seat controls in the usual spot though – they’re not there. Aston has placed them in full view of driver and passenger beside you on the centre stack. A far more useful location.


The DB9 is a large car with sizeable dimensions but it’s shorter than both a Jaguar XK and the Maserati Quattroporte. It’s a true 2 + 2 so there’s room in the rear for two small kids or one very slim adult with size 8 feet.
No matter how high the price tag – there is almost always an options list when it comes to exotic marques. Not sure about the Rolls Royce Phantom though, I’ll get back to you on that.
Aston Martin is no different, although standard kit is reasonably complete. Features include; leather and walnut trim, memory seats with exterior mirrors, 11 way electric seats which are heated, auto temperature control (dual zone), organic electroluminescent display (crystal clear day and night no matter what the light conditions), satellite navigation (it does the job, but not the best system we have used, although it’s hidden inside the fascia until you need it), powerfold mirrors, alarm system and of course an umbrella and holder for the London weather we have experienced this winter in NSW.
There’s also a battery disconnect switch and a battery conditioner for the no doubt, frequent overseas trips that Aston owners take.
Standout options are the Sports Pack and LINN 950 W audio system.