What's New for 2006
Changes for the 2006 Aston Martin DB9 include some minor interior design updates and the addition of more standard equipment.
Introduced last year, the Aston Martin DB9 exotic GT sports car is a direct replacement for the now-defunct DB7. Under the DB9's shapely bodywork is a new lightweight aluminum-bonded frame, which Aston claims is the most structurally efficient in the world. Known as the VH platform, it forms the backbone of almost all Aston Martin models. A coupe and convertible (known as the Volante) are offered.
Up front, the 2006 Aston Martin DB9's mechanical motivation follows traditional lines, with a Cosworth-designed 6.0-liter V12 under the hood. Producing 450 horsepower and 412 pound-feet of torque, the silky-smooth engine is capable of pushing the DB9 coupe to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, and to a top speed of 186 mph, according to Aston Martin. Both manual and automatic transmissions are available. The transaxle and differential are housed in a single unit, and linked to the engine via a cast-alloy torque tube and carbon-fiber propshaft. Braking is handled by massive four-piston brake calipers gripping grooved rotors.
For the DB9 Volante, Aston Martin admits the topless body lacks the stiffness of the coupe. The Volante is little more than half as stiff as its hardtop sibling, which is sufficient to alter the character of the car. To compensate for the diminished rigidity, the setup of the DB9's suspension is softened. As a result, the Volante feels more like a boulevard cruiser than a sporting GT.
Overall, the 2006 Aston Martin DB9 is a very appealing choice for someone who wants an exotic that blends both GT and sports car characteristics. It's lighter and more engaging to drive than vehicles like the Bentley Continental GT or Mercedes CL65 AMG. It's also priced considerably less than the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti. The only significant drawback to the DB9 is its rear seat. True, it does have one, but for a car that aims to fit into the traditional GT mold, the seat is disappointingly small. Potential buyers will want to keep this in mind if they plan on taking more than one passenger even on an infrequent basis.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2006 Aston Martin DB9 is available in two variants: coupe or Volante (convertible). These are hand-built cars, made to order, and any combination of paint and leather trim color is possible. For the Volante, seven roof colors are available. The DB9 comes standard with 19-inch wheels, power seats, automatic climate control, a navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity and a six-disc CD changer. On the options list are two different surround-sound audio systems and additional vehicle-customizing selections.
Powertrains and Performance
Both DB9 models are equipped with a 6.0-liter V12 engine that produces 450 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. As one would expect from numbers like this, acceleration is prodigious. Aston Martin says zero to 60 mph takes a mere 4.7 seconds in the coupe. Transmission choices are a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. The automatic transmission features push-button controls and paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
The 2006 DB9 comes with antilock disc brakes with brake assist. Other safety features include a stability control system, front-seat side airbags, traction control, a tire-pressure monitor and, for the Volante, roll hoops that automatically deploy in case of a rollover.
Interior Design and Special Features
Inside the cabin, Aston Martin equips its DB9 with wide expanses of sumptuous leather and unique wood trim. The handcrafted interior still has a few Volvo and Jaguar pieces, but they are well disguised. The milled-aluminum instrument panel and distinctive wood finishing are particularly breathtaking. There is a rear seat, but the dearth of legroom and headroom renders it practically useless. The coupe's trunk can hold 6 cubic feet of cargo.
Even with 450 hp on tap, the engine is still quite tractable while driving through city gridlock. The DB9's ride quality is a blend of firm control and supple response. High-speed cruising is this car's forte. American speed limits won't allow the DB9 to truly show its abilities; too bad, because this car is perfectly happy to whoosh along at speeds well in excess of 100 mph.