Aston Martin DB9

Although there have been several models produced in Aston Martin's 90-plus-year history, none have been as famous as those with "DB" tattooed to their tails. The Aston Martin DB9 coupe and Volante convertible is in fact the ninth model to be sold with these hallowed letters, and carries on a sterling automotive tradition.
Sold throughout the 1950s and '60s, and then resurrected in 1994, the DBs were and still are some of the most drop-dead gorgeous and performance-capable sports cars on the road. Numerous examples have also been driven by a certain British super spy, making the words "Aston Martin" and "James Bond" synonymous terms. It could easily be argued that thanks to 007, the Aston Martin and DB names have remained relevant enough to survive through decades of tumultuous financial difficulties.
As such, the Aston Martin DB9 simultaneously represents the brand's past and future, with sexy styling inspired by (but not copying) previous models and a high-tech aluminum platform that has underpinned every subsequent new Aston. If this success continues, hopefully we can look forward to new DBs for years to come.
Current Aston Martin DB9
The Aston Martin DB9 was introduced for 2005, offered in 2+2 coupe and convertible body styles. The drop-top version is known as the Volante, which for those who skipped Italian 101 means "flying." All DB9s are powered by a 6.0-liter V12 that produces 450 horsepower and 412 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual or six-speed automatic with paddle shifters are available, and both transmissions are located at the rear transaxle for better weight distribution.
The Aston Martin DB9 comes with a healthy options list and a vast selection of customizable color combinations. The Volante's soft top can be had in seven different colors, while leather is available in so many shades that even Prince could find one that's too garish. All DB9s come standard with 19-inch wheels, xenon headlamps, eight-way power heated seats, a navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity and a 128-watt Linn audio system with six-CD changer and auxiliary audio jack. Aside from the slew of options, the coupe is available with a Sports Pack that provides firmer spring, shock and antiroll bar settings. For those with athletic aspirations, this is definitely a worthwhile add-on.
Not that it comes as a shock, but this 449-hp, V12-powered GT is a rather fun automobile. The bellowing exhaust and voluptuous low-end power can make this civilized tourer into a heathenish beast with just a touch of the throttle. The DB9 changes directions easily and responds to steering and brake inputs with an immediacy not always associated with big, grand touring coupes. Yet, unlike the related but smaller V8 Vantage, the DB9 is not at its best when being flung around twists and turns. We found that the Volante suffers from having its roof lopped off, with a busy ride over rough pavement and a noticeably softer suspension.
Although buying an exotic car with a price tag of more than $100,000 is often a matter of taste, it is hard to argue with the Aston Martin DB9. It may not be as visceral or thrilling as some more sporting entries, but it's almost impossible to match its impeccable style and legendary heritage.
Past Aston Martin DB9 models
The Aston Martin DB9 was an all-new model for 2005. There have been no major changes since.

Aston Martin DBS

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

It might seem strange to describe a $110,000 car as "entry level," but that's exactly what the Aston Martin V8 Vantage is. Meant to sell in greater volumes than its two larger and more expensive brand mates, the V8 Vantage is aimed squarely against lofty, performance-proven competitors from Germany.
Like most of the cars from this iconic British brand, it is simply gorgeous. At the same time, Aston upped the fun-to-drive quotient in the Vantage to make it a true sports car rather than a grand tourer like the DB9.
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage is available as a coupe or convertible. The Roadster's power-operated cloth soft top can be lowered in 18 seconds, even at speeds of up to 30 mph. To keep structural integrity intact, Aston Martin's engineers made extensive modifications to the Roadster's body structure. (And if you're wondering why the convertible Vantage bears the Roadster name and not Aston Martin's traditional "flying" moniker, the company is quick to insist that Volante is exclusive to cars with a backseat.)
Although many have said the V8 Vantage is the best-driving Aston Martin ever, it still falls short of the Porsche 911 in terms of overall performance. Yet, that car is practically ubiquitous compared to the rare Aston, which will always have an advantage in terms of cool sophistication and dazzling visual allure. The V8 Vantage is one instance where the "entry level" is a wonderful place to be.
Current Aston Martin V8 Vantage
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage is available in two body styles: hatchback coupe and Roadster with power cloth soft top. Both models seat only two people and come with almost identical features. Standard items include 18-inch wheels, 10-way power sport seats, automatic climate control and six-CD changer. Leather upholstery is also standard, and is available in nearly countless color combinations, giving buyers the option of a fully customized interior. Curiously, xenon headlights, cruise control, heated seats and seat memory are options on this car that costs more than $100,000. A navigation system and 19-inch wheels are also options.
For power, the V8 Vantage relies on a 4.3-liter V8 capable of 380 horsepower and 302 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Zero to 60 mph in both the coupe and convertible is accomplished in about 5 seconds.
Inside, the Vantage has an overall look that's nearly identical to the DB9; the two cars share the same dashboard design. The Vantage's interior is smaller, however, with only two seats. The coupe's hatchback trunk can swallow 10.6 cubic feet of stuff, while the Roadster has a typically small 5 cubes of space.
In reviews of the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, we've found that it is indeed a true sports car. On curvy roads, it moves confidently, sliding progressively and returning to its intended path with little drama. Its steering and chassis are highly communicative, delivering useful information about what's happening between tire and pavement.
The Roadster's added weight hampers its handling and performance somewhat, but it still offers plenty of grip and high-speed composure. We did note, however, that neither Vantage models matches the performance levels of more mainstream rivals, while the narrow seats and footwells may be uncomfortable for larger drivers.
Past Aston Martin V8 Vantage models
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage debuted for the 2006 model year. In that first year, the V8 Vantage was sold in the coupe body style with the six-speed manual transmission only.

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