Friday, June 18, 2010

2011 Aston Martin DB9: First Drive

This the latest DB9, deliveries of which will commence next month. The engineering team has introduced subtle styling changes and these, together with a now standard, ‘Adaptive Damping System', prompt the British company to proclaim it the “world’s definitive grand tourer”.
2011MY buyers can choose alternative new-design wheels (fitted to this car), the brilliant Bang & Olufsen hi-fi, a ‘Bright finish’ grille, and a ‘Double Apex’ alloy finish on the centre console – an attractive touch you see here.

The new package is finished off by a new tyre-pressure monitoring system and a revised Bluetooth microphone. It’s evolution rather than revolution – the design, now seven years old, is one of the sexiest out there, so why change it?

Under the skin, the big news is the introduction, as standard, of ADS ('Adaptive Damping System') control, similar to that fitted to the DBS and Rapide. The settings are bespoke to the DB9 and mean that default mode is optimised for ride comfort, while ‘Sport’ tightens things up for more press-on motoring.

As a result, the previous ‘Sports Pack’ option is no longer offered. While most buyers will opt for the extra-cost, six-speed ZF Touchtronic 2 automatic, a six-speed manual is still available.

Behind the wheel, having cleared the immediate post-race Le Mans traffic and gunning the big V12 along French D-roads, the first thing you notice is the improved ride and much quieter cabin. The outgoing journey was done in a V12 Vantage – a fairly uncompromising speed machine, with prodigious engine performance and a sporting, no-holds-barred ride.

Now that Aston has this at one end of the 12-cylinder range (together with the similarly powered, 510bhp DBS) and the luxurious, grand touring Rapide at the other, it can afford to be less compromised with the DB9.

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