Aston Martin DB9
A great beauty, this time with great engineering.
Let Ulrich Bez, the German engineer commissioned by Ford to transform tiny Aston Martin into a serious car company, explain the character of his new DB9.
Apart from retaining the Aston's V-12 engine—even though it's thoroughly revised via a new crank, cams, manifold, and engine-management system for more midrange torque—the engineers' clean-sheet game plan called for an all-new structure. They wanted 50/50 weight distribution, so they set the 444-hp V-12 well back in the engine bay, adopted a transaxle layout for the ZF six-speed automatic and developed a bonded aluminum platform that's a mix of extruded, stamped, and die-cast parts. The front fenders and hood are composite, but the rest of the exterior skin is aluminum.
It's achingly beautiful. Aston found no reason to start a styling revolution. The DB9 relies on classic proportions, long-established Aston styling cues, big 19-inch wheels, and simple sculptured forms to achieve its gorgeous looks.
Happily, the DB9 driving experience matches the beauty. A welcome 5.8-inch stretch of the wheelbase means this is the first modern Aston to offer a respectably roomy driving position, with ample adjustment for the deep buckets and lovely leather steering wheel. If the rear seats remain token gestures at best, here at last is an Aston with a distinctive, special-place interior that's dominated by a sweeping central band of bamboo timber, 3-D aluminum instruments, and the rich smell of cowhide.