2014 Aston Martin DB9

The Aston Martin DB9 is a four-seat grand tourer that charms with its supremely elegant styling, bespoke interior and sonorous twelve-cylinder motor. Though there are certainly more powerful and better-driving exotic coupes on the market, the DB9's timeless lines and impeccably appointed cabin set it apart.

First launched in 2004, the DB9 is also available in drop-top Volante form.

Recent Changes
For the previous model year, the DB9 received a thorough update that includes freshened styling, a slightly revised interior and a more powerful motor.

Overview
Although the basic look of the exterior, including its classic proportions and graceful stance, remained unchanged as part of the recent update, there are several fresh details that distinguish the latest DB9 from its predecessor. The headlights are more angular and swept-back than before, while the lower front fascia gets a streamlined single-intake design.

From the side, the DB9 looks more aerodynamic, though the profile remains the same as any modern Aston Martin GT. At the rear, an integrated spoiler improves aerodynamics. Some design details have made their way down from the company's One-77 flagship, like the five-vane front grille.

Underneath its hood, DB9 boasts the latest version of Aston Martin's proven 5.9-liter V12 engine. Essentially a detuned version of the Vanquish supercar's mill, the DB9's unit serves up 510 horsepower along with 457 lb-ft of torque. The zero-to-sixty mph sprint is achieved in the mid-four-second range, which is roughly a second behind the pace of some competing models.

The engine mates exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission that shifts smoothly but more slowly than the dual clutch boxes used by many of the DB9's rivals. Aston Martin recently eliminated the more sporting manual transmission option; those looking for a proper three-pedal gearbox will have to settle for either the V8 or V12 Vantage.

The DB9 continues to utilize Aston Martin's flexible and lightweight "Vertical/Horizontal" architecture, which is constructed from aluminum. The suspension was recently optimized for improved handling and includes an active damping system with Comfort and Sport modes. Even with the latter engaged, the ride remains compliant and there's more body roll than would be found in a true sports car. However, the handling is pleasantly responsive overall.

Inside, the DB9 is simply sumptuous, with soft leather, alloy trim and other high-quality materials covering nearly every surface. The tasteful dashboard layout hasn't changed much since the car's introduction, although the climate and entertainment system controls were recently redesigned for greater ease of use. A wide variety of different leather, wood and carbon fiber options can be specified, and color choices are also nearly infinite. There's plenty of room for the driver and passenger up front, but the rear seats are for extremely small children only.

Standard and Optional Features
Standard features include leather upholstery, a navigation system, a premium AM/FM/CD sound system with AUX and USB input jacks, heated front seats, front and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth connectivity, a trunk-mounted umbrella, xenon headlights and 19-inch alloy wheels.

Besides an available Bang & Olufsen surround-sound system, there's also a small galaxy of exterior and interior color schemes and interior trim options to choose from.

Occupant Safety
All Aston Martin DB9 models come standard with dual front, dual side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and electronic brakeforce distribution.

Key Competitors
The DB9 faces competition from powerful yet luxury-oriented grand tourers like the Bentley Continental GT, Maserati GranTurismo S and Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG. Each possesses a distinct character derived from its country of origin, and discerning individuals with sufficient means are highly encouraged to simply purchase all four.