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Aston Martin DB9

Aston Martin DB9 Published: 29th Jul 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Aston Martin DB9
Aston Martin DB9
Aston Martin DB9
Aston Martin DB9
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Jeff Bailey was ready to walk away from his beloved Aston Martin DB9 – until he discovered the cost of a new mistress that is…

Honeymoons. They all come to an end and it’s back to reality before we know it, with bills to pay. It’s coming up to a year since proudly taking delivery of an impossibly beautiful Aston Martin DB9 finished in gleaming onyx black with black hide – and it seems like yesterday. Tempus fugit, as they say.

The only trouble with this passing of time is a whole slew of annual expenses that these cars demand if their value is to be maintained. For starters, there’s an annual service requirement – in this case an interim oil change and inspection.

As I’d bought the car from an independent Aston dealer, they were the first port of call. The quoted inclusive cost was a not unreasonable (for Aston) £660, but I thought I’d just check what a franchised dealer would ask for comparison. Surprisingly, Aston Works Service at Newport Pagnell quoted exactly the same figure – and that included the convenience of collection and delivery by covered transporter.

Then there was the warranty. The independent cover that came with my DB9 covered up to £10,000 any one claim, restricted to £40,000 in total. Having asked the dealer what the renewal cost was likely to be, it was less than clear about it. First it wasn’t renewable and I’d have to take out a fresh one, then dropped the bombshell that even then the single claim limit would be halved to just £5000. Just for good measure, I’d be expected to cough up £1800 for it.

Naturally, I put in another call to Aston Martin Works Service who were more than happy to confirm its warranty would cover each claim up to the value of the car – with no restriction on the number of claims in total. What’s more, the coverage was better. Fair enough, the price quoted was £800 more, but in my book well worth it for peace of mind. These things may not concern the average AM customer, but they matter to those of us who aren’t Russian oligarchs. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the difference between enjoying the car and worrying every time it’s taken out.

And taken it out I have; with the average journey adding up to 30 miles along traffic-free A roads, it’s rarely sat stuck in traffic. When cold, the noise of whirring drive belts can be heard more stridently than I’d like, though allowing the mighty 450bhp V12 decent time to get properly warm pays dividends and once up to operating temperature, performs faultlessly.

With this kind of power and effortless torque, you’d expect brisk progress and you’d not be disappointed. Most of the time the performance on offer is greater than the conditions to deploy it – and that’s in the dry. In the wet, the DB9 needs careful stewarding if it’s not to break traction and become a handful; this is not the car of choice to be driving home on a dark, wet November Friday.

So, what’s gone wrong?

Reliability indexes state that around a third of issues with this model concern the electrics. I’m certain the fact I’ve had none of these can be put down to using a battery conditioner from the outset; low battery voltage seems to cause no end of gremlins that are more annoying than terminal, but they can – and do – cause massive inconvenience to owners of DB9s.

My conditioner stays plugged in when the car isn’t in use and consequently starting has never been a problem, nor has any other electrical malfunction. Mechanically, it’s the same story. It’s well known that when Ford was jointly developing the V12 unit it was subjected to the same rigorous stress testing as the mass-produced engines lower down the Ford range. Consequently, it’s virtually unheard of for an Aston V12 to go pop in normal driving. I’m not sure the transaxle gearbox is as robust, but that too has performed faultlessly, if a little slow-witted. This is more the fault of the ancient software rather than the hardware, but it does blunt the driving experience somewhat.

Having driven a 2012 DBS, the gearbox function is night and day; the DBS responds instantly to paddle-induced downchanges, whereas in the 2007 DB9 you ask and then you wait…

The other big annoyance on this 2007 model is the ignition key. It’s the same low-rent item as Ford used for the 90’s Escort and having to be inserted into the right-hand side of the steering column completely out of vision is fiddly and frustrating. Aston Martin must have had complaints about this because for the 2008 model a glass key was introduced that had to be inserted into an aperture in the centre of the dash.

One thing that can be a problem, though, is the amount of attention a DB9 gets. Most of it is positive on the road, but when parked I’ve often come back to find people peering in the window or loitering around it. This, together with hearing horror stories regarding fake accidents in ‘cash for crash’ scams has prompted the fitting of discreet front and rear cameras.

These were expertly fitted by DashWitness, a firm that specialises in high end dashcams, and they work really well in unison. Not cheap at £450 but you get what you pay for; they connect to the Cloud and upload all the footage for viewing on PC, tablet, or phone in HD. They also work when the car is parked, so any car park hit and runs won’t get away with it. Helps keep insurance premiums down too, so a tangible win-win.

The icing on the cake is the value. The fact that Aston Martin is one of the world’s top brands and the DB9 one of the best-looking Astons means values are very healthy indeed. So much so that the DB9 is worth almost exactly what I paid for it a year ago.

Contrast this with a friend who bought a new BMW 4 Series coupé at the same time for the same price – he was mortified when he was recently offered £12k less than he paid for it a year ago. Even with the warranty and maintenance costs thrown in, the Aston comes out miles better. That’s not to say Astons don’t devalue, but when they get to this age they tend to stabilise and then gently rise – DB7s being a classic example (no pun intended) and DB9s will do better.

It was at that point I was tempted after seeing a later DB9 in a colour I’ve always fancied. This was the Mk2 model from 2014 with 510bhp, in a stunning shade of pearl white called Morning Frost. The AM dealer offered a great P/X deal and I was just about to sign on the dotted when I decided to check the spec more thoroughly. It was then I discovered the Mk2 stops as standard on carbon ceramic brakes.

Now, whilst I know these aren’t cheap, when I asked the Aston Martin service department for the cost of such replacement I was absolutely mortified to learn that for discs and pads including fitting, this would be the thick end of £20,000! Having read through the AM warranty, this replacement is classed as a service item so would therefore not be covered. The end result is you’d be driving a car that could basically ruin you at any time.

Apparently, whilst they can last longer than steel items in normal use, there is a real possibility of agents from cleaning solvents causing damage to the discs, thus requiring replacement. In a used car you’d never know until it’s too late what previous owners had used on their wheels…

So, in the end I’m sticking with the devil I know. All in all, the Aston Martin experience has been a good one so far, made possible by buying the right car with the right history. This, along with the good advice of marque specialists has meant the honeymoon period didn’t end prematurely. Time to renew those vows!

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