This is the new Aston Martin DB9. Well, we say new, but that is stretching the definition of the word to breaking point - even calling it a facelift is a bit much, really. But although this is essentially the same car that's been with us since 2003, there are a few new bits and bobs on it, so we thought it was an opportune moment to reacquaint ourselves with the big Aston.
A close inspection of the outside reveals new wheels, redesigned sills, mildly tweaked headlamp surrounds, and clear rear light lenses (now standard; previously an option). Inside, there are new trim options and a swanky new Bang & Olufsen stereo option.
The biggest news, however, is the adoption of the adaptive damping system (called ADS) which already graces the DBS and Rapide, and has previously been an extra on the DB9.
The ADS, which actively monitors the body movements of the car and adjusts the strength of the dampers accordingly, works impressively well. In standard mode the DB9 flows over the lumps, bumps and ruts of Warwickshire's B-roads with some aplomb. You might just occasionally sense the mildest of wallows, but in general the car's body composure is good and the ride comfort is impressive, allowing you to stretch the DB9's legs and enjoy that V12 scream surprisingly often.
Switch the ADS to 'sport' mode and it performs less impressively. The ride becomes a little jittery, and what you gain in extra sharpness on turn-in you lose in control over the bumpiest of roads. The sport mode would come into its own on track, no doubt - and even the smoother roads of continental Europe - but we would leave it in its softer standard setting for driving in Blighty.
Apart from the ADS, it's pretty much 'as you were' for the rest of the DB9's dynamic repertoire - which means pleasantly weighted steering, a glorious V12 engine (which, at 470bhp and 442lb ft of torque is spot-on power-wise, bringing 60mph up in 4.6secs and the top speed at 190mph), and a chassis whose grip and composure - er - isn't quite as good as a Jaguar's.
The exterior remains - to these eyes at least - an object of irreproachable beauty, but the DB9's cabin hasn't aged quite so gracefully. The new trim and stereo options lift it, but the layout of the buttons is hilariously confusing, and the Volvo-sourced sat-nav is frustratingly antiquated - and in a car costing £122k (£131k for the soft-top) that does grate a bit.
Still, if you want a pretty, V12 GT in which you can pretend to be James Bond, The DB9 still has few peers. You might just want to buy yourself a TomTom...