2016 Aston Martin DB9 GT Volante Review
Ever since I saw my first James Bond movie as a kid (Goldeneye), I always wanted to drive an Aston Martin and go on adventures just like Bond. Throughout my 20’s and 30’s I had the awesome pleasure of often sitting in many of the world’s greatest sports cars (as both passenger and driver) and once owning one. From Porsche to Lamborghini, Audi to Maserati, there were few sports cars I had not experienced in one way or another, with exception of Aston Martin. Until this month.
Let me say right off the bat that I fell madly, deeply in love with the Aston Martin DB9 and I am not someone who usually falls in love with cars. For those of you interested mainly in the specs of the car, you can skip down to the long list of features and attributes of this latest addition to the Aston Martin family- the 2016 DB9 GT Volante.
Starting with its exterior, this new model is gorgeous and sleek while maintaining the traditional sense of Aston Martin understated class. This car does not scream “look at me;” he easily attracts everyone’s rapt attention with a mere whisper.
DB9 is identified by black painted splitter and diffuser, revised headlight and tail light treatments and new ten-spoke 20-inch alloy wheels. Black anodised brake calipers and a GT engraving on the aluminium fuel filler cap further distinguish the new model.
“Fundamental to the new model’s unique appeal is its uprated 6.0-litre V12 petrol engine, which is capable of generating 540 bhp at 6750 rpm, and 457 lb.ft of torque at 5,500 rpm.” What this means in laymen terms is that the DB9 roars from zero to 60 at lightning speed (4.4 seconds according to Aston Marin though I’m fairly certain I was able to break that conservative assessment) and from zero to 100- acceleration is smooth as butter. I know there are many of you who love to feel the gravity push back during acceleration the likes of which we usually feel when driving a stick shift but personally, I marvel at a behemoth engine that can make me (who on normal days in a normal car drives like a grandma) completely oblivious to just how fast I’m going.
Personally, if I’m going to spend upwards of US $200,000 on one vehicle, I want to be able to take this car out on local streets, not just a track. After all, I’m not a race car driver and have no intention of becoming one. The Aston Martin DB9 has a double wishbone suspension with a three stage Adaptive Damping System (ADS) that allows for Normal, Sport and Track modes to give us control over what type of ride we want to experience in any given environment.
I drove the DB9 on every kind of road imaginable except for an actual track. From smooth highways to downtown streets to residential and not so smooth highways, this baby handled every condition like it was floating on clouds.
The all-alloy, quad overhead cam, 48-valve 5,935 cc front mid-mounted V12 is mated to the rear mid-mounted Touchtronic II six-speed transmission with electronic shift-by-wire control system. What the latter part of this means is that the DB9 shifts gears incomparably faster (and smoother) than even the most robust manual transmissions, hence my obliviousness to going from 0 to 100 as if I were ambling along at a mere 50 mph.
Beyond the monstrous horsepower, torque and suspension, the DB9 has a feature that no other sports car I’ve been in has- the most comfortable, plush seating ever. As a friend of mine put aptly- “if Rolls Royce and Ferrari LaFerrari had a love child, the Aston Martin DB9 would be it.”
As a fan of wood interiors, the unfinished wooden center console won me over at first sight. Gorgeous grains cradles a mixture of touch and push buttons as well as a slew of updated features. Most notable among the interior equipment updates is the AMi II touch-sensitive The DB9 GT’s AMi II infotainment package boasts key improvements in text message integration, vehicle status information and extended background themes for greater personalisation.
Offering AM, FM, DAB and SDAR reception, USB ports, Bluetooth audio streaming the system delivers superb connectivity and entertainment simply and easily. The Bang and Olufsen sound system was unlike anything I’ve ever heard in any sports car, belting out tunes from Opera to Rap as if I were front row at a concert.
For those of you curious about interior space– there’s a nifty cup holder in the center armrest area that can easily slide side to side for ease of use as well as a decent sized compartment under the armrest. The glove compartment is also surprisingly large as is the trunk, which fits 2 carry-on suitcases and an assortment of small handbags. There’s also technically a 2-seat area behind driver and passenger seats though really, no adult could sit back there comfortably. Consider it extra and convenient space for laptop bags, groceries (if you can imagine running errands with this beauty) or whatever other small bags you might want to place back there. I found that space to be incredibly useful and unavailable in other sports cars.
Despite all these spectacular specifications, there really are no words to describe how driving the DB9 brought such contentment and joy to me, in ways no other sports cars have. There was an immediate sense of familiarity and comfort, almost like coming home.
Driving the DB9 is an experience unlike any other; its grace apparent at every touch of its exquisite interiors; its prowess unmistakable with every stealthy roar. I finally understood why James Bond always had that super cool, carefree and ‘I’m invincible’ expression on his face every time he was in the DB9.
The DB9 GT is available to order in markets around the world, priced from USD $199,950 RRP in the United States.
– Two-door coupe body style with 2+2 seating configuration
– Latest generation extruded bonded aluminium VH body structure
– Aluminium, magnesium alloy and composite body
– Extruded aluminium door side-impact beams
– Single bi-xenon headlamps with integrated LED side lights and direction indicators
– Clear LED rear lamps
– All-alloy, quad overhead camshaft, 48 valve, 5,935cc, V12
– Front mid-mounted engine, rear-wheel drive
– Fully catalysed stainless steel exhaust system with active bypass valves
Max power: 540 bhp (547 PS) at 6,750 rpm
Max torque: 457 lb ft (620 Nm) at 5,500 rpm
Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds
Max speed: 183 mph (295 km/h)
Fuel Consumption (US MPG): City 13 / Highway / 19 / Combined 15
– Rear mid-mounted ‘Touchtronic 2’ six-speed transmission with electronic shift-by-wire control system
– Alloy torque tube with carbon fibre propeller shaft
– Limited-slip differential
– Final drive ratio 3.46:1
Wheels & Tires
– 10-spoke Silver Diamond Turned wheels
– Front wheel: 8.5J x 20-inch
– Rear wheel: 11J x 20-inch
– Front tyre: Pirelli P Zero 245/35 ZR20
– Rear tyre: Pirelli P Z
– Rack and pinion, servotronic speed-sensitive power-assisted steering, 3.0 turns lock-to-lock
– Column tilt and reach adjustment
– Front: ventilated carbon ceramic discs, 398 mm diameter with six-piston monobloc calipers
– Rear: ventilated carbon ceramic discs, 360 mm diameter with four-piston monobloc calipers
– Dark anodised brake calipers
– Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with track mode
– Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
– Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
– Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
– Traction control (TC)
– 3-stage Adaptive Damping System (ADS) with Normal, Sport and Track modes
– Front: independent double wishbones incorporating anti-dive geometry, coil springs, anti-roll bar and monotube adaptive dampers
– Rear: independent double wishbones with anti-squat and anti-lift geometry, coil springs, anti-roll bar and monotube adaptive dampers
– Full-grain leather interior
– Piano Black facia trim with Iridium trim pack
– Alcantara steering wheel (leather for the Volante)
– Electrically adjustable sports seats with side airbags
– Memory seats & exterior mirrors (three positions)
– Dual-stage driver/front passenger front airbags
– Powerfold exterior heated mirrors
– Heated rear screen
– Automatic temperature control
– Organic Electroluminescent (OEL) displays
– Trip computer
– Cruise control
– Bluetooth® telephone preparation1
– Auto-dimming interior rear-view mirror with garage door opener1
– Satellite navigation1,2
– Satellite radio system
– Front and rear parking sensors
– Tyre pressure monitoring system1
– Alarm and immobiliser
– Remote-control central door locking and boot release
– Glass ECU
– LED map-reading lights
– 700-watt Aston Martin Premium audio system with Dolby® Pro Logic II®
– Integrated Apple iPod®,3 connector
– DAB radio
– USB Connector with Waveform Audio Format (WAF), Windows Media Audio (WMA) and MPEG (MP3) audio file compatibility
– 3.5 mm auxiliary input socket
– Gloss black painted splitter and diffuser
– Rear lamps with black border surround
– Sports exhaust
– Rear Parking Assist Camera