Aston Martin has officially taken the wraps off of its latest Sports GT car, the 2013 Aston Martin DB9. Taking its styling cues from the now discontinued Aston Martin Virage and aimed squarely at the GT market, the 2013 DB9 is now available in both two-door coupe and Volante versions. Aston Martins are often accused of tending to look a bit "samey" and they do show the same familiar silhouette from year to year with new twists thrown in. That might be a bit boring if you're looking for Ferrari-like creativity and passion, but to their fans, Aston Martins are so knuckle-bitingly beautiful, keeping to what works doesn't seem like such a bad thing.
In this case, Aston Martin was deliberately attempting to invoke continuity. Since the DB9 is essentially replacing the Virage as Aston Martin's entry in the GT market, it seemed only logical that the DB9 should carry over some of the Virage styling. However, it isn't a Virage clone.
The lines of the DB9 are sharper close to the road. There are equally sharp strake lines thrown in on the extruded bonded aluminum bodywork to draw the eye along and the general feel is more aerodynamic, right down to the pronounced flip on the boot lid. Even the bi-xenon headlamps are now so angled that they look a bit "stabby."
Aston Martin refers to the 2013 DB9's styling as "powerfully assertive yet elegant." It's also very muscular with a wide, low feel to emphasize the machine's power and road hugging ability. Aston Martin even describes the rear of the car as its "muscular haunches," which seems to be taking the metaphor a bit far.
Naturally, the DB9 sports the classic Aston Martin grille. In this case, it's one inspired by the Aston Martin One-77 hypercar. The five horizontal vanes that make it up are chamfered to create an aerofoil profile and they also feed air into the new Carbon Ceramic Braking system.
The designers worked hard to avoid replacing the extruded aluminum grille with a plastic one and having a nose cone bumper jutting out to comply with EU pedestrian safety regulations. Instead, they opted for changing the underbody structure, lowering the engine, modifying the bonnet and bumper and designing the grille to move back on impact.
The inside of the 2013 DB9 is immediately identifiable as an Aston Martin interior. The cockpit layout is very similar to its predecessors and features an organic Electroluminescent (OEL) displays for sat nav and other functions. There's also lots of full-grain leather including the hand-stitched leather welt feature first seen in the Aston Martin Virage.
For track enthusiasts, there's a lightweight seat option of carbon fiber and Kevlar that shaves 17 kilograms (37.47 lbs) off the vehicle weight while providing more shoulder support and reducing stress while tearing around the Nurburgring. There are even automatic windscreen wipers that switch on the moment it starts to rain.
The 2013 DB9 uses the quad overhead camshaft, 48 valve AM11 V12 engine originally designed for the Aston Martin Vanquish. For the DB9, the AM11 has been fitted with a revised block and new head including dual variable valve timing, enlarged throttle bodies, uprated fuel pump, revised intake manifold and machined combustion chambers. It belts out 510 bhp (380 kW) at 6,500 rpm and produces 620 Nm (457 lb ft) of torque. The end result is 0 to 100 km/h (0 - 62 mph) in 4.6 seconds and a maximum speed of 295 km/h (183 mph).
Backing up the engine is a six-speed automatic gearbox with electronic shift-by-wire control system, rack and pinion, servotronic speed-sensitive power-assisted steering and a three-stage Adaptive Damping System (ADS) with Normal, Sport and Track modes.
The braking system comes standard with Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) discs and calipers supplied by Brembo, which are made of a compound of carbon fiber that is impregnated with silicon. Aston Martin says this makes them much tougher and lighter than conventional cast iron discs but also dissipates heat more rapidly to provide reduced fading and improved acceleration.
The DB9 is now available for ordering with the first cars shipping in the United Kingdom and to Western Europe in October. Not surprisingly, the price is a hefty £131,995 (€174,994, US$185,400, JPY 21,995,000).
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