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Aston Martin DB9 Sports Pack


Great looks and an awesome V12 soundtrack – there’s no doubt Aston Martin’s DB9 qualifies for supercar status


With a lower ride height and new alloys, DB9 looks better than ever on the road

By Sam Hardy / Photos: Pete Gibson
Auto Express

Great looks, an awesome V12 soundtrack and one of the coolest motoring badges ever – there’s no doubt Aston Martin’s DB9 qualifies for surefire supercar status.

But there’s one thing the stunning coupé has lacked – properly sorted handling. No DB9 we’ve tested has inspired confidence at really high speed, so can a new suspension package solve things? We headed out on to some twisty roads to find out.

The factory-fit £2,495 Sports Pack option takes the price to £112,245, and is available on both the auto and the six-speed manual car we’ve driven here.

While you might not notice the ride height, which is 6mm lower, you’ll spot the gorgeous new five-spoke alloys. They are 1kg lighter than the standard car’s and have titanium nuts; changes which help the suspension react faster to bumps. And with springs that are stiffer by 68 per cent at the front and 64 per cent at the rear, an uprated anti-roll bar and re-tuned dampers, the Sports Pack is all about fast responses. Even at slow speed you notice the extra stiffness – but the DB9 isn’t uncomfortable, simply more composed. Go a bit faster, and it’s clear that there’s less body roll and more instant reaction to the steering.

Direct, well weighted and full of feel, it allows amazingly sharp turn-in. But, as with all other DB9s, this version is still a little unsettled at the rear.

Admittedly, it’s much better than the standard car, and doesn’t seem like it’s going to break traction unless severely provoked. Yet compared to the sharp front end, it’s difficult to know what’s going on with the back wheels. As for the rest of the model, it’s business as usual. The storming 450bhp 6.0-litre V12 is unchanged and provides real supercar performance. The manual box also gives much more driver control than the auto.

However, we found it hard to engage first gear on our car – and with a weighty clutch pedal, the DB9 is a handful in town. But most owners will forgive it anything, simply because of its styling. Factor in the Sports Pack, and at last the driving experience gets close to living up to the looks.

FIRST OPINION
It's still not perfect, but the DB9 is a much better driver’s car with the Sports Pack. Despite the stiffer suspension, the ride isn’t ruined, plus there is more grip and handling confidence. Against the DB9’s huge price, the package cost seems good value, too. Add in stunning looks and that amazing V12, and the DB9 is more special than ever.

Rival: Ferrari F430
While the Aston is a sporting GT, Ferrari’s F430 is a razor-sharp race car for the road. It’s not as comfortable, but is much more of a driver’s machine thanks to its smaller dimensions and greater agility. The engine is one of the world’s best.
* Engine: 4.3-litre V8
* 0-60mph: 4.0 seconds
* Price: £121,795


AT A GLANCE
As well as suspension changes, the Sports Pack has a load-bearing aluminium undertray, which replaces the standard composite item and increases structural stiffness.
Engine: 6.0-litre V12, 450bhp
0-60mph: 4.8 seconds
Price: £112,245


Red leather interior trim complemented our Aston’s silver paint scheme


Six-speed manual gearbox gives the driver more control over V12



 
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