2013 Aston Martin DB9 is a DBS with more polished manners

For those of us who bemoan the passing of Aston’s DBS – which was replaced by the new Vanquish during the summer – news of the revised DB9 will come as welcome news.

The DB9 now has the same 510bhp power output as the outgoing DBS, the same pronounced rear boot ‘flip’ and more chiselled looks than the car it replaces.

The one downside is you’ll probably not realise it’s a new DB9, because, as is the problem with Astons these days, they all look far too much alike. The ‘light catcher’ feature which runs from the lower front bumper and continues along the sill of the car, will have you thinking it’s a new Vanquish, until you realise it lacks that car’s prominent carbon fibre front spoiler.

From the rear you’ll think DBS, until you spot the DB9’s more elegant lines, reminiscent of the outgoing Aston Martin Virage which ceases production with immediate effect.

And that sums up the problem with Aston’s design philosophy, there’s an uncomfortable display of narcissism in the brand’s self-love when it’s so easy to spot aspects of the DBS, Virage, One-77 and Vanquish in what is supposed to be a ‘freshened-up’ model.

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So, if the exterior design doesn’t hook you, how about what’s under the skin?

The previous-generation DB9 made good use of the 463bhp and 443 lb-ft (600 Nm) of torque from its 6.0 litre V12 engine. For the 2013 model year, the new AM11 engine takes some of the ‘Gen4’ VH architecture technology developed for the Vanquish and provides a significantly improved 510bhp and 458 lb-ft (620 Nm) from the same displacement.

Key features of the AM11 unit include a revised block and new head including dual variable valve timing, larger throttle bodies, uprated fuel pump, revised intake manifold and machined combustion chambers.

Power is fed to the rear-wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox and a standard limited-slip differential. The DB9’s performance is now just as rapid as its looks – with zero to 62mph being achieves in 4.6 seconds and a top speed of 183 mph.

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The DB9 benefits from several other developments originally designed for the new Vanquish, including the ‘Gen4’ VH architecture version of the brand’s Adaptive Damping System (ADS). ADS includes three modes: Normal, Sport and Track, which helps broaden the DB9’s repertoire from mile-munching GT to out-and-out racer.

The DB9 now uses Brembo Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) discs – 398mm diameter at the front, 360mm at the rear – mounted using a ‘floating disc’ system. The CCM brakes save around 12.5 kg over a conventional cast iron system, improving steering feel, ride quality and handling. The calipers (also supplied by Brembo) feature six-piston units at the front and four-piston at the rear.

There are plenty more detail changes, both inside and outside the new DB9, including new arch-filling 20-inch wheels, electrically adjustable Sports seats with side airbags, Organic Electroluminescent (OEL) displays, optional reversing camera, optional leather headlining and two Carbon Packs, which comprises carbon fibre front splitter and rear diffuser, carbon fibre mirror arms and caps and dark tailpipes with a graphitic finish for the exterior, and for the interior a carbon fibre upper facia, carbon fibre gear selector paddles and carbon fibre door pulls.

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As an important side-note Aston’s 2013 DB9 now achieves compliance with the latest European pedestrian protection regulations and does so in a way that is invisible to the naked eye. All the changes are made to the underbody structure of the car including a lowered engine, new bonnet, front bumper construction and grille surround moulding.

“The new AM11 V12 engine together with our unique and patent pending solution for enhanced pedestrian protection – these are clear examples of the engineering excellence that continues to make Aston Martin the creator of the most desired and admired luxury sports cars in the world,” said Aston Martin’s CEO Dr Ulrich Bez.

The 2013 MY DB9 available to order now through Aston Martin dealers worldwide, priced within the UK at £131,995.