Full 2014 Aston Martin DB9 Review
What's New for 2014
After significant changes last year, the Aston Martin DB9 carries over for 2014.
The 2014 Aston Martin DB9 does not have a very good navigation system. Its passenger seat only adjusts four ways and the backseat is generally unusable by humans. Some may lament the absence of a manual transmission option, and there are a few downmarket materials in the cabin that would make a Bentley owner snicker.
Thus concludes the reasons why you may want to think twice about buying a DB9. If those and the sky-high price don't persuade you, then it's hard to think of a reason why you haven't already marched yourself over to the nearest Aston Martin store -- the reasons to buy a DB9 are abundantly more obvious.
Chiefly, just look at the thing. Despite a face-lift that went along with a rather thorough mechanical overhaul last year, the DB9 is still one of the most gorgeous cars on the road. This is especially impressive given that its iconic silhouette and general look have been around for a decade and migrated to every other Aston Martin. If there was ever a prime example of the word "timeless," this is it.
Next, take a look under the sculpted hood at the 5.9-liter, 510-horsepower V12 filling every corner of the engine bay and revel as it fires to life with a guttural roar. While other exotics may move with greater haste and offer sharper handling, nothing can take away from the satisfaction of experiencing the DB9 and its sonorous engine in all their glory.
However, this Aston Martin's greatest dynamic gift is its grand touring capabilities. Though it certainly offers a dynamic driving experience, it's also comfortable and practical enough to drive from Seattle to San Diego without making your butt go numb, your ears ring or your luggage remain at home. Among other such GTs, the DB9's character slots in between the less powerful 2014 Maserati GranTurismo and the more stately and refined 2014 Bentley Continental GT. Though really, at this price point, emotion is really what matters. If you want a 2014 Aston Martin DB9, get one.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Aston Martin DB9 is available as a coupe or a soft-top convertible known as the Volante. Both come with a 2+2 seating arrangement. There is a seat delete option for the coupe that replaces the rear vestigial seats with a more useful storage area.
Standard equipment includes 20-inch wheels, performance tires, a three-mode adjustable and adaptive suspension, carbon-ceramic disc brakes, bi-xenon headlights, power-folding mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, automatic climate control, heated power front seats (eight-way driver, four-way passenger, including memory functions), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, full leather interior, a trunk-mounted umbrella, a battery deactivation switch (for extended parking), Bluetooth phone connectivity, a Garmin navigation system and a premium audio system with a six-CD changer, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack, a USB input and an iPod interface. The Volante gets a fully powered soft top and a wind deflector.
Options include different wheels, a rearview camera, sport seats (six-way power adjustment, not heated, requires the front-seat-only configuration) and a Bang & Olufsen sound system. The DB9 is also highly customizable, especially when it comes to exterior paint. There's a rather large selection of colors to choose from (including Volante roof colors), plus you can request any paint code Aston Martin or any other manufacturer has ever used. There are also plentiful interior trim types and leather hues available.
Powertrains and Performance
Every 2014 Aston Martin DB9 is powered by a 5.9-liter V12 (Aston labels it a 6.0) good for 510 hp and 457 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel drive, a six-speed automatic transmission and a limited-slip differential are all standard. Aston Martin says the coupe will go from zero to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, while the heavier Volante should be slightly slower. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 15 mpg combined (13 city/19 highway).
Every 2014 DB9 includes standard antilock carbon-ceramic disc brakes, stability and traction control, and front side airbags that protect the head and torso. Front and rear parking sensors are also included, while a rearview camera is optional. The Volante gets standard automatically deploying rollover bars.
Interior Design and Special Features
It's difficult to find a surface in the 2014 DB9 that's not covered in soft leather, while veneer, alloy trim and even sapphire crystal fill in the blanks. Any complaints we may level below are often easy to ignore because of all this pampering beauty.
In terms of functionality, easily deciphered buttons combine with a central screen to create fairly simple and user-friendly audio and climate controls. However, Aston Martin trails other luxury carmakers' in-car electronics, so technophiles may find the cabin antiquated. The Garmin-sourced navigation system in particular may be an improvement over Aston's horrible old one, but it still feels out of place in such an expensive car.
The DB9 proves its road trip worthiness thanks to a driver seat that's marvelously comfortable, with ample leg- and headroom for even taller drivers. The four-way power passenger seat unfortunately doesn't offer the same amount of adjustability or comfort. The two rear seats are glorified parcel shelves, so we suggest opting for the actual parcel shelves that are optional on the coupe. The trunk is generously sized for an exotic sports car and has enough room for a set of golf clubs and a suitcase. On the other hand, the Volante suffers more wind buffeting than other convertibles.
If you're cross-shopping within the Aston Martin garage, get ready to hear many of the same old descriptions. The 2014 Aston Martin DB9 is surprisingly easy to drive, with decent outward visibility and a traditional automatic transmission that delivers smooth shifts without the jerkiness associated with fancier automated manuals. Selecting the Sport setting noticeably increases throttle response and shift speed, and allows gears to be held manually all the way to redline without automatically upshifting.
The car is also quite comfortable, with a compliant ride quality and a suspension that automatically adapts to road conditions. Its three driver-selectable suspension modes result in both a better ride (that is nevertheless quite firm) and sharper handling that is less prone to pavement imperfections. The electric-assist steering is precise, and the car's 50/50 weight balance assures neutral handling. As for the engine, it provides a thrilling experience of abundant power accompanied by the glorious song of a wailing V12.