Appearing hot on the heels of the all-new Vanquish Super GT, the introduction of 13 Model Year Aston Martin DB9 gave the British luxury sports car maker the perfect opportunity to further enrich the appeal of its mainstay in the GT sector, with significant developments affecting styling inside and out, plus key changes under the new DB9's classically beautiful 'skin'.
The styling changes see Aston Martin DB9 adopt an even more lithe, fluid and pure form reminiscent of the outgoing Aston Martin Virage which ceases production with immediate effect. Taking a classic Aston Martin GT silhouette as its base, the new DB9 adds a more pronounced rear boot 'flip' to further enhance the aerodynamic performance of the car.
The exterior design of the DB9 communicates a powerfully assertive yet elegant character. The surfaces display taught lines and subtle muscular forms that point to the underlying power of this renowned Sports GT.
Aston Martin DB9 sits low and wide, visually 'planting' the car on the road, communicating a clearly athletic stance. The car's inherent width is accentuated by the 'light catcher' feature which runs from the lower front bumper and continues along the sill of the car creating a chiselled, determined look.
Available from launch in either Coupe or Volante body styles, DB9 13MY clearly has a strong breadth of appeal.
Bi-xenon headlamps provide the car with a clear focus, while subtle feature lines run along and underneath the headlamps, visually widening the car.
A large lower front grille feeds air into the standard Carbon Ceramic Braking system, while the front splitter also serves to visually widen the car. For those DB9 buyers in search of an even more sporty appearance there is now a carbon fibre front splitter available as part of the exterior Carbon Pack.
Look a little closer and the true beauty of the Aston Martin DB9's details becomes apparent. The front grille, for instance - inspired by the design of Aston Martin's sold-out One-77 hypercar - features five horizontal vanes which are chamfered to create an aerofoil profile. Meanwhile the bonnet vents are authentic zinc with distinctive vanes. These, along with the new grille and pronounced side strakes, are classic Aston Martin design cues.
Aston Martin DB9 13MY also features Aston Martin's integrated side strake and LED side-repeaters. The long strake accentuates the lean, long lines of the DB9's nose. Once again, Aston Martin's craftsmanship is clearly demonstrated in the use of metal grilles and clean lines of the polished metal castings.
At the rear of the car, the Aston Martin DB9's wide track width and muscular rear haunches clearly communicate the power delivered at the rear wheels.
Inside, as out, the revised DB9 becomes yet more elegant and more luxurious. Unmistakably Aston Martin, the Sports GT's opulently-appointed interior boasts authentic materials and the highest levels of attention to detail.
For instance, Aston Martin DB9 13MY comes with a stunning leather welt feature first seen on Virage. Inspired by luxury leather goods, the welts have been designed and developed by Aston Martin's master craftsmen. Requiring meticulous levels of control to hand stitch and specially-developed manufacturing facilities, the welts are created by sandwiching a narrow strip of leather between two opposing leather seat panels, and fixed using precise stitching.
A further demonstration of Aston Martin's renowned attention to detail and craftsmanship can be seen in the jewel-like glass switchgear used throughout the interior of the revised DB9. Details such as these glass switches clearly demonstrate the luxury sports car maker's commitment to the use of authentic, high value materials.
Those DB9 buyers seeking an even more sporting ambience inside might be tempted by an additional interior option on 2013 Aston Martin DB9 - Aston Martin's lightweight seats. These are available when the 2+0 seating option is selected and use a state-of-the-art carbon fibre and KevlarÂ® composite structure.
When specified, the seats save 17kg per car as well as offering occupants more support at the shoulders. This improves comfort and reduces stress on the back during long stints of focused dynamic driving in particular.
Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer Dr Ulrich Bez said: "I am very excited to be unveiling the new DB9 now. My team here at Gaydon has been working hard for many months to improve and update key aspects of this superb Sports GT - the mainstay of our sports car range - and I believe the results to be exceptional.
"Aside from the undeniably beautiful exterior styling and now even more luxurious interior, there are many important and impressive engineering changes that demonstrate Aston Martin's renowned ability to create compelling cars in the modern era."
Engineering - great British innovation
This Aston Martin DB9 sees the introduction of the new generation AM11 V12 engine. The new V12 takes some of the 'Gen4' VH architecture hardware technology developed for Aston Martin's forthcoming all-new super GT, the Vanquish, but has been tuned to suit the character of DB9. The result is an engine with effortless torque of up to 620 Nm and peak power of 517 PS - both significantly improved versus the outgoing unit.
Key features of the AM11 unit include a revised block and new head including dual variable valve timing, enlarged throttle bodies, uprated fuel pump, revised intake manifold and machined combustion chambers.
Meanwhile, DB9 13MY achieves compliance with the latest European pedestrian protection regulations and does so in a new way that is without any compromise to the exterior design of the car and does without the need for otherwise surplus deployable systems.
To accomplish this, Aston Martin's designers and engineers have worked together to make significant changes to the underbody structure of the car including a lowered engine, new bonnet, front bumper construction and grille surround moulding.
Their resulting design is the subject of patent pending applications and enables the grille to move rearwards on impact, whilst the central and outboard chin stiffeners give rigidity to the lower structure and support achievement of the leg impact regulations. Cut-outs on the front wing catwalks contribute to the achievement of the headform regulation.
This means Aston Martin is able to avoid conventional solutions such as the use of plastic grilles and straightforward nose cone bumpers that stretch up in front of the bonnet. Instead, it has created a clever new and bespoke solution that preserves the unmistakable visual appeal of the VH architecture leading edge bonnet and its extruded aluminium grille.
Dr Bez said: "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."
Chassis - important upgrades all round
The 2013 Aston Martin DB9 boasts a number of important enhancements over the outgoing car's already impressive inventory. The braking system, for instance, now uses as standard Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) discs and calipers supplied by acknowledged global brake experts Brembo.
While this DB9 offers a refined, comfortable sports GT drive experience, the new carbon brakes provide the confidence and reassurance of reduced brake fade when pressing the car to its sports capability.
CCM consists of a compound of carbon fibre which is impregnated with silicon, injected into a mould and baked at ultra-high temperature. The resulting material is not only much tougher than conventional cast iron discs but also dissipates heat more rapidly to provide reduced fading.
The brake rotors, (398mm diameter at the front, 360mm at the rear), are mounted onto the bespoke disc bells using a 'floating disc' system. This allows the discs to flex relative to their mountings thereby making them less prone to 'judder'.
The discs are cross-drilled to help keep the brake pads clean while also helping to ensure that gases emitted by the pads during braking do not build up between the pad and disc surface. The holes also help to cool the surface of the pads and the discs themselves. Air intakes mounted behind the lower front grille also force feed air into the brake discs to aid cooling.
Saving around 12.5 kg versus a conventional cast iron system the Aston Martin DB9's CCM brakes not only reduce overall vehicle weight but also mean that a better balance between ride comfort and handling can be struck. The lower rotational mass also gives improved acceleration, braking and steering feel.
The luxury sports car also boasts Aston Martin's 'Gen4' VH architecture version of the brand's Adaptive Damping System (ADS). This next generation ADS has been enhanced to include three modes: Normal, Sport and Track.
In 'Normal' mode, the damping is set to deliver the greatest ride comfort, with the electronically controlled dampers automatically adjusting to provide the optimum settings to suit driver input, speed and the road surface quality. In 'Sport' mode, the damping is set-up to be more focused at delivering sharper handling and control during dynamic driving while in the 'Track' mode the damping operates within the range of its stiffest settings.
The different damping modes available help appreciably broaden DB9's character, adapting its set-up to suit the driver's requirements in different contexts. It can be a comfortable and compliant GT car in Normal mode as well as being a firm and direct sports car in Sport setting and offering highly precise flat cornering in Track mode.
Equipment - luxury comes as standard
As befits a luxury GT in this class 2013 DB9 of course features convenience items such as automatic headlights, now operated by a new master switch unit control panel located on the lower instrument panel beneath the driver's side air-vent.
Automatic windscreen wipers are also a standard-fit feature, with their operation triggered by a rain sensor built into the header pod in front of the rear-view mirror.
Arch-filling 20-inch alloys wheels in a variety of designs, full-grain leather interior, leather sports steering wheel, electrically adjustable Sports seats with side airbags, memory seats and exterior mirrors, satellite navigation, automatic temperature control, trip computer and Organic Electroluminescent (OEL) displays - the DB9 13MY's list of standard equipment is suitably generous while buyers keen to further enhance the luxury look and feel of their Aston Martin sports car can select from an extensive range of optional equipment features.
Aston Martin DB9 13MY features the optional reversing camera currently available on the Rapide four-door sports car and forthcoming Vanquish super GT. The camera - standard in the US market - is integrated into the rear boot lid above the number plate, with the image visible on the LCD screen folding out of the centre stack. The reversing camera is activated when reverse gear is selected and is deactivated once the car is driving forwards at more than 5 mph.
Meanwhile there are two Carbon Packs introduced on DB9 13MY - one exterior and one interior - to offer further personalisation possibilities. All of the carbon fibre has a 2 x 2 twill design that is finished with a clear lacquer.
The exterior pack comprises carbon fibre front splitter and rear diffuser, carbon fibre mirror arms and caps and dark tailpipes with a graphitic finish. The interior pack offers a carbon fibre upper facia, carbon fibre gear selector paddles and carbon fibre door pulls.
Buyers can opt for either Aston Martin wings or DB9 headrest embroidery. The DB9 embroidery design has been refreshed and also has a new stitch pattern on 13MY cars.
Finally, a leather headlining is now available as an option on Aston Martin DB9. The large central panel of the headlining can be finished in leather, while the cant rail trim and header trim remain Alcantara-coloured.
Summarising the significantly enhanced appeal of the 2013 DB9, product manager Andy Haslam said: "DB9 has, rightly, been positioned at the hub of our GT segment offerings for some years now.
"The introduction of this significantly enhanced 13MY car means Aston Martin buyers have a very clear and compelling model line-up from which to choose.
"Taking the best elements of Virage, adding important new upgrades and combining these with the iconic DB9 nomenclature we have created a compelling new Sports GT that sits proudly at the very heart of the Aston Martin sports car range.
"With the exceptional new Vanquish super GT occupying the top of the range, there is now a clear and logical step from DB9."
Aston Martin DB9 13MY is available to order now through Aston Martin dealers worldwide, with the first cars making their market debuts in UK and Western Europe in October. Prices are confirmed as Â£131,995 (UK RRP); â‚¬174,994 (German RRP); $185,400 (USA MSRP); and 21,995,000 JPY (Japan RRP).