2008 Aston Martin DB9


2008 Aston Martin DB9 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2008 Aston Martin DB9 was new.


Performance: 8.8

Auto journalists describe their time with the DB9 as an experience -- not just another test drive. But for true sports performance, many prefer the coupe over the Volante, though the convertible is impressive in its own right.

  • "As with the Vanquish, you don't 'start' the DB9 but rather fire it up. After turning the ignition key, you reach across to the center binnacle and hit the 'start engine' button. I can only imagine how many owners have excited their dates by inviting them to hit that particular button." -- The Auto Channel
  • "The DB9 remains a very capable handler, especially when equipped with the Sport Pack, which cranks suspension performance up a notch. It includes revised dampers, springs, and a front anti-roll bar. The Sport Pack lowers the car by six millimeters and also features five-spoke lightweight forged aluminum alloy wheels." -- Forbes

Acceleration and Power

Test drivers praise the DB9 for its powerful engine and smooth shifting ZF six-speed automatic transmission. While some note that its Ferrari and Lamborghini competitors are faster, few seem to care.

The DB9 features a 5.9-liter V12 engine that produces 470-horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 443 pound-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm. While the DB9's engine is front mid-mounted, its gearbox is rear mid-mounted. Drivers can choose between a six-speed manual transmission and a "Touchtronic 2" six-speed with an electronic shift-by-wire control system. With either transmission, Aston Martin reports a maximum speed of 190 mph and a 0-to-60 mph acceleration time of 4.6 seconds. The EPA rates the manual coupe's city/highway fuel economy at 10/16 mpg. The automatic, however, earns 11/18 mpg (11/17 mpg convertible).

  • "The Aston's 450-hp, 6.0-liter V12 is 5,935cc of motoring nirvana. From the deep bass rumble that accompanies the first prod of the starter button to the wolflike howl above 6,000 rpm, this engine coaxes, engages and enthralls." -- Edmunds
  • "Aston Martin says the manual-shift DB9 can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. That's quick, but not blindingly fast like the Gallardo and F430. According to Car and Driver and Motor Trend, the Gallardo sprints to 60 mph in around 4 seconds, while the F430 does it in 3.5." -- Cars.com
  • "The ZF six-speed automatic transmission uses buttons to select Drive, Park, Neutral and Reverse. A Touchtronic manual mode permits gear changes using paddles behind the steering wheel." -- Cars.com
  • "It takes a couple seconds to get the hang of the paddle shifters, but then it quickly becomes intuitive. Unlike some other cars with this transmission combination, the DB9's shifts are smooth to the point of being nearly invisible." -- BusinessWeek

Handling and Braking

With a perfect 50/50 weight distribution and such advanced drive technology as Dynamic Stability Control and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, the DB9's handling dynamics impress. Still, many critics concede that by chopping the top on the Volante and tweaking its suspension settings to compensate for its inevitable loss of rigidity, it's been rendered more of a cruiser than a sports car. For all-out sports performance, auto writers recommend the coupe.

  • "Handling is where the DB9 truly excels, hanging on with passion through swift curves and delivering a civilized experience. Confidence levels reach well beyond the sports-car norm. The suspension follows road contours closely, yet ride comfort is satisfying." -- Cars.com
  • "The 9 is a very easy car to drive. It doesn't intimidate the driver, unless the mere thought of driving a $172,000 car in city traffic fills you with a sense of horror. All the input controls, except the brakes, are quite light and fall easily to hand." -- The Auto Channel
  • "The driving beauty of the DB9 is its balance and responsiveness. The car corners nearly flat despite no active suspension system, yet manages a suitably luxurious ride quality even though it's perched on a thin veneer of 19-inch Bridgestone REO 50 Z-rated rubber." -- Motor Trend
  • "On the road, the Volante is less aggressive than the coupe, which tries to fishtail out of every tight corner. The topless DB9 is a little heavier and not quite as stiff structurally as the fixed-head version, which ensures a more compliant ride." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Still, by removing the roof you remove a huge proportion of the car's structural rigidity. The Volante is little more than half as stiff as its hardtop sibling, which is sufficient to alter the character of the car. To compensate for the diminished rigidity, the setup of the DB9's suspension -- double wishbone front and rear -- has been softened. And as a result, the Volante now feels more like a boulevard cruiser than a sporting GT." -- Edmunds

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