After a ten-year wait, I finally get to test drive an Aston Martin DB9. If I can work out how to start the engine that is…
|510bhp @ 6500rpm
|457lb ft @ 5500rpm
Since the DB9 came along in 2004 I’ve been keen to have a go, what with the coupe’s elegant looks, intrinsic sense of Englishness and my overpowering urge to be 007 for a few minutes. In my late teens and early twenties, the closest I came to realising that dream was seat time on the British International Motor Show’s main stage. My later years as a bookseller didn’t rake in the necessary cash either, and I figured it would be some time before I snagged a drive or owned a DB9 of my own (the chances leaned almost hilariously towards the former).
Even upon my arrival in the Middle East, I missed the Aston boat. Arranging a test drive with no regional PR team to help proved tricky – Aston still noticeable by their absence until last November – and asking the valet guys at Dubai Mall if I could borrow a customer’s DB9 just led to a long talk with security. Even crankandpiston’s twin test between the DB9’s bigger brother, the Rapide, and the Porsche Panamera fell just two weeks before my arrival.
But then came a shining light. A few months ago the brand new DB9 arrived on Aston Martin UAE’s fleet, and the PR team were quick to ask crankandpiston if we’d like a go. “Why yes, yes we would”, spake I trying hard to suppress the giggle building in my chest. Fate intervened however, and just two days before our test-drive the DB9 was pulled from Aston’s fleet due to ‘servicing issues’; industry talk for ‘someone’s stacked it into a tree’. Two months later the DB9 was crankandpiston-wards again, only for the exact same thing to happen.
Now here I am, an Aston Martin key fob in my hand, a silver DB9 (finally!) by my side. But I’m cautious. Fate has conspired against me several times already, and to lose a drive I’ve been waiting ten years for when I’m this close would be hard to take. It doesn’t help that the key fob I’m holding has a glass base. An elegant design but ridiculously fragile: one chip and away the car goes yet again. My grip is vice-like.
This of course means my attention is elsewhere while I’m walked through the basics. “Is that all quite clear?” my guide asks. “Perfectly” say I, not wanting to admit that I’ve not been listening and would he mind awfully starting again? Soon I’m sliding into the driver’s seat, slotting the key fob into the dash and watching Power, Beauty and Soul flash up on the information screen. With absolutely no idea how to start the engine.
So I just sit there for a second, soaking in the impossibly soft leather, the artistically crafted Bang and Olufsen speakers that ascend from the dashboard, and the diminutive backseats where only an Armani suit jacket could travel in comfort. But time ticks by, beads of sweat start to form on my brow and on-lookers stand nearby smiling, wondering what on earth is taking me so long. Mercifully, after slotting the key fob back and pushing a little harder, the 510bhp 6.0-litre V12 fires into life, the roar from the exhausts putting a lump in my throat and the energy of the occasion rising even further as I select Drive and give the loud pedal a thwack.
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