New Aston Martin DB9. REVIEW. Living The Dream

 

Engine Power Torque 0-100kph Top speed Weight Basic price
V12, 5935cc 510bhp @ 6500rpm 457lb ft @ 5500rpm 4.6 secs 295kph 1785kg $224,600
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The venue for our drive is Fujairah, home to some of the UAE’s oh-so-rare winding stretches of tarmac. Look out the window as you make the drive from Dubai, past the bullet-straight three-lane highways, and you can watch the sand gradually change from dusty beige to a majestic red, and laugh as Toyota Land Cruisers belt past only to be caught over the limit by hidden speed cameras.

And when you’re in a DB9 of all things, the journey is …underwhelming.

There’s poke – oh there’s most definitely poke – since the updated V12 offers 40bhp more than its predecessor, and 457lb ft of torque comes in at mid-range for hammer blow levels of acceleration. The noise is similarly impressive, heads turning in the street and admirers swooning as I roar past. But the fireworks are limited, and only just enough head and legroom as well as questionable quality of some of the instruments (I’m looking at you indicator stalks) mean the cabin hasn’t won me over hook, line and etc. Part of the blame lies with me: ten years-worth of admiration and sky-high expectations mean I may unfortunately have shot myself in the foot with the DB9.

That is until I press one button on the dashboard marked Sport and another on the centre cluster with a suspension arm on it. There’s a transformation. The rev needle rises and the engine notes growl more ferociously, the ride becomes stiffer and there’s renewed vigour from the V12. Chancing my arm, I give the loud pedal a tap, the resultant burst of acceleration, heightened engine roar at 2500rpm and burble on the overrun both surprise me and have me grinning like an idiot. Then there’s the steering.

The sheet ice tarmac in Fujairah proves entertaining/knuckle whitening enough at the best of times, but throwing an Aston at corners and roundabouts brings the back end into play as the rear tyres cheekily step out. Of course the handling and grip at the front is so beautifully balanced that keeping the rear tyres under control is child’s play. As the tarmac becomes rougher and the twists and turns more challenging, the Aston becomes even more adept, the weight distribution and stiffer chassis deleting body roll from the equation altogether and leaving corners at the mercy of your right foot and talent limit.

There’s not much travel in the brake pedal when you first jump in, and while that can take a while to get used to, the carbon ceramic stoppers are ridiculously good. Bringing the 510bhp into play is a six-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters, which though perhaps not as responsive as I’d have hoped is hauled into contention by the huge waves of torque as mid-rev range. There’s no stopping the coupe’s charge when you’re on it, and nor do I want to. My dream Aston drive may have got off to a rocky start, but on these roads the DB9 has won me over completely.

The drive takes in a solid seven hours and two fuel stops, both of which remind me that most of Fujairah is devoid of ATMs. For an Aston drive, where a slot for credit cards is woven into the centre console, this is a problem. But since I’m an oik who happens to be living the dream, I can live with driving from one petrol station to the next without growing bored of the task. Of course when I eventually do find a petrol station that accepts my debit card, I can’t find the fuel filler cap button as Aston have maliciously hidden it in the driver’s footwell. And once the fill-up is complete, I’ve forgotten how to start the engine again.

I’ve no doubt my next Aston drive whenever it arises will be just as enjoyable. I just hope it won’t take as long. And that this time I’m listening.

Enjoy our Aston Martin DB9 test drive?

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Aston Martin DB9
Engine: V12 / 5935cc
Power: 510bhp @ 6500rpm
Torque: 457lb ft @ 5500rpm
Transmission: Rear mid-mounted ‘Touchtronic 2’ six-speed transmission / electronic shift-by-wire control system / alloy torque tube with carbon fibre prop shaft / limited-slip differential
Front suspension: Independent double wishbone incorporating anti-dive geometry / coil springs / anti-roll bar and monotube adaptive dampers / three-stage Adaptive Damping System (ADS)
Rear suspension: Independent double wishbones with anti-squat and anti-lift geometry / dual-rate coil springs / anti-roll bar and monotube adaptive dampers / three-stage Adaptive Damping System (ADS)
Brakes: Ventilated carbon ceramic discs / 398 mm with six-piston monobloc calipers (front) / 360 mm with four-piston monobloc calipers (rear) / dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with Track mode / anti-lock braking system (ABS) / electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) / emergency Brake Assist (EBA) / Traction Control
Wheels: 8.5J x 20-inch (front) / 11J x 20-inch (rear) /
Tyres: 245/35 ZR20 (front) / 295/30 ZR20 (rear) / Pirelli P Zero
Weight (kerb) 1785kg
0-100kph: 4.6sec
Top speed: 295kph
Basic price: $224,600

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