Farewell, Mr. Bond: Aston Martin ends DB9 production after 13 years
After 13 years, production of the Aston Martin DB9 has drawn to a close. Tasked with replacing the DB7, it launched at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show, where Henrik Fisker and Ian Callum's design wowed the crowds. Since then it's been hugely significant for the British marque, keeping the money rolling in after Ford sold it in 2006, and providing a base for the Rapide, DBS and Vanquish. Here's a look at how the model has changed over the years, and where Aston Martin is headed with the DB11.
This was a car full of firsts for Aston Martin. It was the first to be built on the Vertical/Horizontal (VH) Platform that underpins all its current models, and the first to be manufactured at the brand's Gaydon headquarters in Warwickshire. Power came from a variation of the V12 doing service in the DB7 and V12 Vanquish, pumping out 331 kW (444 hp) of power and 569 Nm (420 lb-ft) of torque.
Although it's hot-hatch territory in 2016, the car's 4.8-second 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint time and 299 km/h (186 mph) top speed was still quick in 2003, although the Ferrari 575M Maranello was 0.6 seconds faster to 100 km/h.
What do you do with a beautiful new V12 supercar? You crank the power up to 447 kW (600 hp) and go racing of course. Downforce was provided by an aggressive carbon fiber bodykit and wing, and power was put to the road through a six-speed sequential manual gearbox.
It's pretty on the outside, but the DBR9 was more than a pretty face. In 2005, it won the LMGT1 category at the 12 Hours of Sebring, but wasn't able to knock Corvette Racing off the top step of the podium at Le Mans that same year. It was a similar story in 2006, but 2007 finally saw the DBR9 win its class at Le Mans.
It looks remarkably similar to the car launched in 2003, but the 2013 GT was a comprehensive refresh for the DB9. Power from the AM11 V12 was bumped up to 380 kW (510 hp) courtesy of a new head, uprated fuel pump, new intake manifold and machined combustion chambers.
By now the DB9's cabin was getting a bit long in the tooth, so the update also brought about a few minor tweaks to keep it looking fresh.
DB9 GT Bond Edition
Since the DB5 debuted in Goldfinger, James Bond and Aston Martin have gone hand-in-hand. To celebrate the relationship, Aston Martin created 150 special edition DB9s in 2015.
As well as boosting the V12 by 22 kW (30 hp), there's a numbered sill plate, gun barrel embroidery and a special startup on the touchscreen infotainment system to make the average Joe feel more like 007.
Also working to make buyers feel like their favourite super-spy was a limited edition Omega Seamaster watch, included in the £165,000 (US$252,450) list price.
The future: DB11
If the DB9 was a major change for Aston Martin in 2003, the DB11 represents the same leap forward in 2016. Unlike the naturally aspirated car before it, the new Aston coupe draws on a twin-turbo V12 for more power and better fuel economy.
On the power front, the switch has worked. Power is up to 447 kW (600 hp) and peak torque is pegged at 700 Nm (516 lb-ft), which is enough to take the car to 100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds on the way to a 322 km/h (200 mph) top speed. Whether it can match the outgoing motor for aural drama remains to be seen, but there's no questioning its outright pace.
The DB11 will launch in 2017. There's no doubt it's got big shoes to fill, but thanks to the DB9's success Aston Martin has been able to throw some serious time and money at its development.