Full 2007 Aston Martin DB9 Review
What's New for 2007
Changes for the 2007 Aston Martin DB9 coupe and Volante include a new front seat design that incorporates an occupant classification sensor, a dual-stage heater and memory settings for the driver. Also newly standard this year are LED approach lights on the door handles, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Homelink and a trunk-release button on the key fob. The DB9 Volante no longer has a 165 mph top-speed limiter, allowing it to reach 186 mph should conditions allow. Optional on the coupe only is the DB9 Sports Pack, which specifies a lowered and stiffened suspension and lightweight, 19-inch forged aluminum wheels with titanium lug nuts. Front parking sensors are a no-cost option on both cars.
When it was introduced for 2005, the Aston Martin DB9 heralded a new direction for the storied British automaker. Here was an exotic GT sports car that augmented its breathtaking beauty with a sophisticated chassis and an authentically elegant interior -- quite a feat for an Aston and a night-and-day difference over the now-defunct DB7. Offered as both a 2+2 coupe and a convertible (known as the Volante), the 2007 Aston Martin DB9 will appeal to wealthy buyers seeking an alternative to the more obvious Italian and German nameplates in this price range.
Underneath the Aston DB9's shapely aluminum/composite bodywork is a 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 all 2007 Aston Martin models. In the DB9, it does a remarkable job of keeping curb weight in check, as even the Volante weighs in at just over 4,000 pounds -- considerably less than most competing GT drop tops. This year's new Sports Pack option for the coupe brings additional rigidity to the DB9, as the standard car's composite underbody tray is replaced by a load-bearing aluminum panel. This package also includes stiffer springs, shock absorbers and antiroll bars.
Aston Martin admits the DB9 Volante's topless body lacks the stiffness of the coupe. Indeed, the Volante is little more than half as stiff as the standard DB9 coupe, and this 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, and cowl shake is apparent over rough pavement. In addition, wind buffeting is a problem at high speeds. Aston offers a wind blocker as an option, but for this kind of money, we'd like to see better cockpit wind management in the first place.
Mechanical motivation for the DB9 siblings follows traditional lines, with a 6.0-liter V12 mounted up front. 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 a top speed of 186 mph, according to Aston Martin. Both manual and automatic transmissions are available. Braking is handled by massive four-piston brake calipers gripping grooved rotors.
To be sure, the 2007 Aston Martin DB9 is a desirable car for someone who wants an exotic that blends both GT and sports car characteristics. The coupe is lighter and more engaging to drive than vehicles like the Bentley Continental GT or Mercedes-Benz CL600. It's also priced considerably less than the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti. Although less sporting, the DB9 convertible has equal appeal. It's more entertaining than the lovely but hefty Continental GTC, and while the Mercedes SL600 and SL65 are dynamically superior, they feel mass-produced alongside the delicately crafted DB9 Volante. This is the sort of car you'd park outside your house as an ornament and wash lovingly on a Sunday morning. It's automotive art and it's undeniably cool.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
An exotic 2+2, the 2007 Aston Martin DB9 is available in two body styles: coupe and Volante (Aston-speak for 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 (with 235/40ZR19 tires up front and 275/30ZR19 rubber in back), xenon HID headlights, 10-way power seats with heating elements, automatic climate control, a navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity and a 128-watt Linn audio system with a six-disc CD changer.
On the options list are two different surround-sound audio systems (one with 260 watts, the other with 950 watts and Dolby Pro Logic II technology) and additional vehicle-customizing selections. For coupe buyers desiring a more athletic drive, the Sports Pack is recommended, as it provides firmer spring, shock and antiroll bar settings, not to mention reduced unsprung weight, thanks to its lightweight forged wheels (same size as the standard set). If you're looking at the DB9 Volante, the optional wind deflector is a worthwhile addition.
Powertrains and Performance
A rear-wheel-drive exotic GT, the DB9 is 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 and 4.9 seconds in the Volante. Transmission choices are a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. The automatic transmission features push-button controls and paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
The 2007 Aston Martin DB9 comes with antilock disc brakes with brake assist. Other safety features include a stability control system, front-seat side airbags (that protect both the head and torso), traction control, a tire-pressure monitor and, for the Volante, roll hoops that automatically deploy in case of a rollover. Rear parking sensors are standard on both the coupe and convertible, and front parking sensors are a no-cost option.
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. The Volante actually has a slightly larger cargo hold, and its power-operated cloth top retracts in just 17 seconds and stows under its own body-color tonneau cover.
Even with 450 hp on tap, the V12 engine is still quite tractable while driving through city gridlock and its low-rpm response is nothing short of thrilling. The DB9 coupe's ride quality is a blend of firm control and supple response. American speed limits don't allow for a true show of the coupe's abilities, which is too bad because this car is perfectly happy to whoosh along at speeds well in excess of 100 mph. Much the same can be said of the 2007 Aston Martin DB9 Volante, though it feels noticeably softer and less rigid at speed, resulting in a busy ride over rough pavement.
As exotic GTs go, though, both Astons are generally exhilarating to drive, as they change direction easily and respond smartly to steering and braking inputs. Still, committed DB9 coupe buyers should make sure they specify the Sports Pack option, as it's only with these modifications that the DB9 really rises to the occasion on back roads. Compared to the standard setup, a DB9 with the Sports Pack exhibits better steering feel, sharper turn-in response and better ride control over midcorner bumps.