Friday, December 26, 2008

Aston Martin DB9









SEEING the DB9 up close and knowing that we were going to drive it gave us tingly feelings of anticipation and excitement.

After all, the Aston Martin marque has been associated with the glamour of fictional British secret agent James Bond feature films for more than four decades.

The DB9, which begun sales four years ago, remains among the most iconic super cars in the world today and marked the start of a new successful era for Aston Martin which returned to British hands last year after Ford sold the company to a consortium led by David Richards, the head of motorsport firm Prodrive.

The DB9 was the first car to be hand-made at the Aston Martin factory in Gaydon, Warwickshire.

Even the new DBS, the present car of choice for the world’s most famous secret agent, is based on the DB9.

The DB9 is offered either as a two-door coupe or convertible (Volante) with 2+2 seating, although only small children can fit properly into the rear seats.

It is a beautiful car. Seen in the flesh, the low-slung DB9 exudes a subtly imposing visage that inevitably turned heads wherever we drove in Singapore.

The long and low bonnet, marvellously proportioned body and wide rear end combined for a dynamic yet seductive exterior presence that promised us rarefied thrills.

“Like other Aston Martin cars, the DB9 is a great vehicle for business, formal occasions or long highway drives,” said Aston Martin Lagonda (S.E.A.) Pte Ltd managing director Derek McCully.

The plush leather upholstery and premium wood trim in the cabin were everything expected from a luxurious British sporting grand tourer.

Aluminium dials and chromed buttons provided a functional and businesslike feel.

There is no gear stick, and selecting driving modes are done via the clearly marked P, R, N and D buttons on the centre console.


We could have changed gears via the magnesium alloy paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, but there was really not much point to it as we found ourselves constantly running out of road while doing short and fantastically quick sprints in the Tuas Basin Link under draconian speed restrictions.

Gear shifts were seamless and thanks to its V12 engine, the DB9 swiftly accelerated to high speeds with a hard step on the accelerator pedal and an exhilarating roar of power.

Still, at cruising speeds, the engine note settled down a few notches to become an unobtrusive throb.

For a car of its size (4,710mm in length, 1,875m in width, 1,270mm in height), its swift acceleration was also aided by its 1,800kg kerb weight which is largely due to an aluminium bonded body as well as lightweight composite panels.

Aston Martin says the DB9 has a top speed of 306km/h and can do the 0-100 km/h sprint in 4.8 seconds.

The servotronic steering provided adequate road feedback while the front and rear independent aluminium double wishbones suspension set-up felt on the firm side of comfort.

The roads in Tuas Basin Link were well-maintained and the DB9 did not need to smother the tarmac jinks we usually encounter in the Klang Valley.

Shod with 19-inch wheels, the DB9, with a 50:50 weight distribution, proved to be agile and cornered with verve in the brief periods when we drove it spiritedly.

Despite the lack of a road environment where we could handle the DB9 in the manner a supercar is meant to be driven, our time spent with the car provided us with convincing glimpses of what an Aston Martin promises - power, beauty and soul.

Also, the DB9 represents fair value for money, especially when you consider that the new DBS is selling for S1,035,000 OTR w/o COE (certificate of entitlement) and insurance.


Engine: V12 all alloy, quad overhead camshaft 48-valve, 5,935cc
Max power: 470bhp @ 6,000rpm
Max torque: 600Nm @ 5,000rpm
Transmission: Six-speed electronically controlled automatic
Features: ABS, EBD, EBA, DSC, Traction Control, dual front air bags, front side air bags
Price: S706,000 (coupe) and S750,000 (Volante) OTR w/o COE (certificate of entitlement) and insurance

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