As expensive as brand-new Aston Martins are, like other super-exclusive supercars, eventually they’re just used cars. That means, if you can handle the potential maintenance costs, you can wind up with some real bargains. The V8 Vantage, for example, is both fairly affordable and reliable enough for daily use. And then there’s one of Martha Stewart’s favorite cars: the Aston Martin DB9.
The 2004-2016 Aston Martin DB9 almost literally saved the brand
The Aston Martin DB9 was a surprisingly long-lived supercar, Road & Track reports. It was first launched in 2003 as a 2004 model, though the first US models didn’t arrive until 2005, R&T reports. And production didn’t stop until 2016. As a result, the DB9 is arguably Aston Martin’s best-selling car, Autocar reports.
That longevity was the result of poor circumstances, though it created interesting opportunities. When the Aston Martin DB9 launched, the British brand was still owned by Ford. And its aluminum-intense platform was meant to underpin 3 more cars. But after Ford sold Aston Martin, limited finances meant the DB9’s platform and overall design language served as the basis for every subsequent car.
It wasn’t until the DB11 and the 2018 Vantage that the platform went away. So, in a way, Aston Martin only exists today because of the DB9.
The DB9 through the years
The Aston Martin DB9 evolved over its production run.
Initially, the car’s 5.9-liter V12 made 449 hp and 443 lb-ft, Car and Driver reports. Then in 2006, the automaker introduced the Sport Pak, which added stiffer springs, revised and lowered suspension, and stiffer anti-roll bars, Autocar reports. The car also gained standard heated seats, navigation, and Bluetooth.
In 2009, the output rose to 470 hp, and the 6-speed automatic transmission was revised. The DB9 also received new Bilstein shocks, redesigned suspension components, and a stiffer chassis.
In 2013, the Aston Martin DB9 received new looks, a standard limited-slip differential, adaptive dampers, and a power boost to 510 hp and 471 lb-ft, Car and Driver reports. Carbon-ceramic Brembo brakes also became standard, as did a backup camera. 2013 also introduced the Carbon interior and exterior packages, which equipped the DB9 with various carbon-fiber trim pieces.
Finally, in 2016 Aston Martin sent the DB9 off with the DB9 GT, Car and Driver reports. In the GT, the 5.9-liter V12 has 540 hp, R&T reports. The DB9 GT does have some interior and exterior upgrades, though. It has a functional carbon-fiber splitter and diffuser, and an upgraded infotainment system. And the coupe models have a micro suede-wrapped steering wheel, while convertibles retain the leather-wrapped one.
Regardless of the model year, every Aston Martin DB9 has a gorgeous interior. The leather is hand-stitched, and everything that looks like metal is metal. True, the rear seats are essentially unusable, MT reports, and the cupholders aren’t very big. But the seats are extremely comfortable.
The ride is too, which makes sense given the DB9’s GT intentions. However, it’s also a fun car to drive on twisty roads, with good handling and admirable steering feel. Little wonder MT called it “the ideal grand tourer.”
What to look for in a used Aston Martin DB9
An Aston Martin DB9 can be fairly reliable, r/AstonMartin sub-Reddit users report, provided it’s been properly maintained.
The good news is that unlike some early 2000s Ferraris, the DB9’s automatic transmission isn’t a single-clutch F1 transmission, ExoticCarHacks reports. However, early models can develop issues, such as faulty control switches and non-engaging parking brakes, PistonHeads reports. And 2014 models were recalled due to an improperly-printed circuit board. But, if you want to avoid all that, Aston Martin sold a small number of manual DB9s.
The DB9’s V12 is fairly reliable, PistonHeads reports, but it has a few flaws. Besides the inevitable fuel consumption, it also consumes a bit of oil with use, though it’s less of a problem with 2009 and later examples. Early models’ coil packs can fail, Classic Trader reports. Also, 2007 models were recalled due to battery cable issues. But as long as you maintain the oil level and perform the annual maintenance, it’s fairly robust, Evo reports.
The rest of the DB9’s recall history surrounds its suspension and electronics. Pre-2009 models’ front bottom suspension arm cam bolts could crack, as could the subassembly bolts. A few 2006-2014 DB9s were recalled due to their seat heaters catching fire, PH reports. Also, some 2010-2015 models suffered from power door lock failure.
However, by now most DB9s should have had their recall work done. But we recommend getting a pre-purchase inspection by a qualified mechanic before finalizing any deals. Luckily, according to PistonHeads and 6SpeedOnline form users, the DB9’s maintenance costs are at Porsche 911 levels. Not cheap, but not necessarily ruinously expensive.
Because the DB9 remained in production for so long, there are quite a few examples to choose from. And while the earliest models are the cheapest, the 2009 MY chassis and power upgrades make the later examples the better choice. Plus, they don’t suffer from early cars’ faults.
Originally, the DB9 retailed for about $188k; the 2016 DB9 GT started at $202,775. Now, though, it’s possible to find examples for $40k-$55k on Bring a Trailer. And as of this writing, there’s a 2006 Volante (convertible) model listed on Cars & Bids for $36,969.
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