The innovative DB9: takes Aston Martin into an exciting new era
The Aston Martin DB9, the first car to be produced at the company’s state of the art facility in Gaydon, Warwickshire, made its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2003, to widespread critical acclaim.
The innovative DB9 introduced an exciting new era for Aston Martin. The all-new 2+2 sports car set new standards in its class due to its astonishing combination of technology, agility and design.
Using a radical new aluminium-bonded body frame, the DB9 is one of the most sophisticated and technically advanced sports cars in the world. It is powered by the latest version of Aston Martin’s 6.0-litre V12 – hand built by Aston Martin technicians – producing 450bhp and a top speed of 186mph. Yet the DB9 is significant well beyond being a class-leading sports car. It marked the beginning of a new era for Aston Martin. It was the first car to be hand-made at Aston Martin’s new state-of-the-art facility in Gaydon, Warwickshire.
Sales of the model started in Spring 2004, and to date, around 7,500 have been produced and delivered to customers around the world.
Dr Ulrich Bez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Aston Martin said: „All cars built at Gaydon are based on Aston Martin’s new VH [Vertical Horizontal] architecture. It’s the first time in our history that we have had a totally flexible yet dedicated Aston Martin architecture. The DB9 is the first car to use it making it the most important Aston Martin ever.“
The body frame is the most structurally efficient in the world, taking into account strength, torsional rigidity and weight. It has double the rigidity of many rivals, as well as being lighter, resulting in superior handling and agility.
All body panels are either aluminium or lightweight composites with magnesium being used on the steering column and inner door frames. Even the gear selector paddles are made from magnesium alloy. The total weight is 1710kgs, extremely light for a V12-powered prestige 2+2 seater sports car with every imaginable luxury feature. This has a hugely beneficial effect on performance. Top speed is 186mph and 0-100 km/h (62mph) acceleration takes just 4.9 seconds. Other technologically radical features include a ZF ‚drive-by-wire‘ six-speed automatic gearbox that dispenses with a traditional gear lever. Instead, the drive, park, neutral and reverse controls are selected by buttons.
Touchtronic manual mode enables the driver to change gear using paddles mounted behind the steering wheel. The automatic gear change has been tuned to provide the perfect balance between super-fast operation and comfortably smooth shifts. A conventional six-speed manual gearbox was also made available from March 2005.
The agility of the car is boosted by the perfect 50:50 weight distribution. This has been achieved partly by putting the gearbox at the rear. A carbon fibre drive shaft, running in a cast aluminium tube, delivers torque from the engine to the gearbox. Handling is further improved by the light aluminium wishbone suspension and aluminium bodied dampers. The whole DB9 cabin is hand-finished in premium quality materials giving it a simple and functional feel. Aluminium is used in the interior, reflecting the most commonly used material in the structure and body. Even details such as the instrument dials are made from aluminium.
Among the many technological firsts is the ‚message centre‘ in the dashboard. It is an organic electroluminescent display (OEL), as opposed to the more common LCD. OELs have a higher resolution and better contrast and are easier to read, especially when viewed at an angle. Of course, no Aston Martin would be an Aston Martin without a beautiful body. The DB9’s is modern and clean but retains much of its heritage. It is a modern interpretation of a traditional Aston Martin, the successor to such benchmark designs as the DB4 and DB5. The aluminium bonnet is long and extends all the way to the car’s leading edge. There are a minimum number of ‚cut‘ or ’shut‘ lines, to aid styling simplicity and beauty.
„The DB9 has been designed as a sports car but with GT levels of comfort and cruising ability,“ says Dr Bez. „It is aimed at people who love driving but also enjoy exclusivity and style.
„It is the perfect vehicle to take you from London to the south of France, or to drive for the sheer exhilaration. It is fun and very focused on the driving experience, but also offers all the comforts you would expect from an Aston Martin grand tourer.
„This car is new from the ground up. We made sure that every solution was the correct one for the DB9. This is important for a car that we believe will lead the 2+2 seater sports car class for many years to come.“
The DB9 manages to combine all facets of style, quality and useability of a traditional Aston Martin without relying on retrospective detail or design. It is a totally modern Aston Martin.