Automotive

Farewell, Mr. Bond: Aston Martin ends DB9 production after 13 years

Farewell, Mr. Bond: Aston Mart...
The DB9 is being put out to pasture after 13 years in production
The DB9 is being put out to pasture after 13 years in production
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The DB9 Bond Edition came with an Omega watch
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The DB9 Bond Edition came with an Omega watch
Special embroidery joined the extra power in the Bond Edition
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Special embroidery joined the extra power in the Bond Edition
Aston Martin has shared a long relationship with James Bond 
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Aston Martin has shared a long relationship with James Bond 
The DB9 GT Bond Edition looked similar to the regular DB9
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The DB9 GT Bond Edition looked similar to the regular DB9
Aston Martin gently leaned on the DB9 GT to create the Bond Edition
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Aston Martin gently leaned on the DB9 GT to create the Bond Edition
The DBR9 took the DB9 racing 
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The DBR9 took the DB9 racing 
Although it wasn't quite as successful as it could have potentially been, the DBR9 is still a beautiful race car
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Although it wasn't quite as successful as it could have potentially been, the DBR9 is still a beautiful race car
Power came from a 6.0-liter V12
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Power came from a 6.0-liter V12
The DB9 GT was an update to the original DB9
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The DB9 GT was an update to the original DB9
The DB9 GT got more power and an improved handling setup
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The DB9 GT got more power and an improved handling setup
The interior of the DB9 was one area which really needed to be updated 
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The interior of the DB9 was one area which really needed to be updated 
The DB9 and DB9 Volante GT looked similar to the original car
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The DB9 and DB9 Volante GT looked similar to the original car
That profile has become synonymous with the Aston Martin brand 
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That profile has become synonymous with the Aston Martin brand 
The DB11 is the next generation of Aston Martin 
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The DB11 is the next generation of Aston Martin 
Power comes from a twin-turbo V12
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Power comes from a twin-turbo V12
The DB11 heralds a new era for Aston Martin
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The DB11 heralds a new era for Aston Martin
Whether the turbocharged DB11 sounds like the DB9 remains to be seen
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Whether the turbocharged DB11 sounds like the DB9 remains to be seen
The DB11 is still unmistakably an Aston Martin
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The DB11 is still unmistakably an Aston Martin
The DB11's cabin is beautifully designed 
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The DB11's cabin is beautifully designed 
Aston Martin needs to come into the current generation, and the DB11 is the car to do it
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Aston Martin needs to come into the current generation, and the DB11 is the car to do it
The original DB9 is still a beautiful car today
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The original DB9 is still a beautiful car today
The DB9 was designed by Henrik Fisker and Ian Callum
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The DB9 was designed by Henrik Fisker and Ian Callum
The DB9 is being put out to pasture after 13 years in production
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The DB9 is being put out to pasture after 13 years in production
The DB9's design is clean and simple
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The DB9's design is clean and simple
Power came from a naturally aspirated V12
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Power came from a naturally aspirated V12

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.

The Original

The DB9's design is clean and simple
The DB9's design is clean and simple

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.

DBR9

Power came from a 6.0-liter V12
Power came from a 6.0-liter V12

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.

DB9 GT

The DB9 and DB9 Volante GT looked similar to the original car
The DB9 and DB9 Volante GT looked similar to the original car

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

Aston Martin gently leaned on the DB9 GT to create the Bond Edition
Aston Martin gently leaned on the DB9 GT to create the 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

The DB11 is still unmistakably an Aston Martin
The DB11 is still unmistakably an Aston Martin

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.

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