Launched in 2004, Aston Martin's V12 DB9 marked a serious turning point in the fortunes the company. With a bespoke bonded aluminium chassis it was a serious step up in quality from the previous DB7, and was the first model to be built at Aston Martin's Gaydon facility - in both 2+2 Coupe and Volante convertible forms. Designed by Henrik Fisker and made largely of aluminium, the DB9 shares its platform with the DBS, whilst the 6.0-litre V12 power-plant comes from the V12 Vanquish. Suffice to say, the Aston has more than enough performance to satisfy. With 450hp and 420lb ft of torque the original cars passed 60mph in just 4.7 seconds, the 186mph top speed in the serious league.
With most of the engine placed back behind the front axle, balance and handling are impressive and the more popular eight-speed automatic transmission is one of the best around. And if you don't think the Coupe will garner enough looks then you could buy the Volante (convertible) instead, which has very nearly identical performance.
A 2008 facelift saw a slight hike in power to 470hp and in 2013 this rose once again to 510hp. For those obsessed with Ian Fleming's most famous fictional character Aston Martin produced the ideal solution with their 2015 DB9 GT Bond Edition model. Just 150 have been made, equipped with an exclusive specification featuring unique 007 badging and bespoke Bond themed accessories.
Aside from this limited edition the Aston Martin DB9 has not been immune from the ravages of depreciation, and with the launch of a new DB11 the DB9 is likely to offer even better value over the next few years. You can now buy the earliest Coupe models for not much more than £30,000. The good news for prospective buyers is that there aren't any really weak areas on the DB9. Engines have proved generally very reliable, as have the transmissions, and there are a few good independent specialists happy to offer a more affordable solution for routine servicing and repairs.
Most DB9s advertised for sale are automatics but don't let this put you off - the transmission is one of the best out there and suits the car perfectly. There was a problem with transmission oil cooler lines leaking on some cars but there was a modification carried out and it should no longer an issue. Sometimes the system simply needs resetting. And the clutch on the manual cars is very robust, unlike the unit fitted to the V8 Vantage.
A full service history is a must and watch out for diff noise caused by the plates in the limited-slip differential drying out, leaky shocks, any electrical glitches and tired leather trim. Expect to burn a lot of fuel - achieve better than 14mpg in normal driving and you're doing well.
- Check all panels - they are bonded and very difficult to repair; most cars will have had stone chip repair work done - make sure it looks fine
- On automatics check that the oil cooler lines have been upgraded to the modified design
- Look for signs of corrosion around the door handles, mirror arms, wiper arms and under the front lip of the bonnet
- On Volante models check for marks caused by leaving the hood down for when the car is garaged. Fold marks will be impossible to remove
- The plush leather interior can suffer squeaks from hide-covered parts - but it's very easy to fix
- Test all the electrics - including the door locking, windows, seat controls, rising nav screen and stereo
- The 6.0-litre V12 engine is very dependable and rarely causes problems - as long as properly serviced; you may need to top up the oil occasionally - but don't overfill it
- Clutches in manual cars are very rugged, unlike those in the V8 Vantage
- The automatic gearbox also strong - but make sure the lines to the oil cooler are the modified versions or you can get leaks
- There is a step in power at around 4000rpm, whilst gear-changes should be smooth and responsive even under gentle throttle
- Coil springs at the front can break so check these out
- Look for leaking dampers - the top seals on low-mileage cars seem especially prone
- From mid 2006 a Sport Pack was offered as an option with a revised suspension, ride height and new alloy wheels
- There was a recall to deal with subframe mounting and anti-roll bar bushes; make sure your DB9 has had this work done - any rattling from the front end suggests it hasn't
- OE wheels do not normally corrode, but the brake pad material can glaze if not used hard on a regular basis; a bit of heaving braking usually clear this
- Brake pads are high-wear items and cost quite a lot to replace, so check how much they are worn before agreeing a deal
- Premature rear brake wear has been reported - so check that the electronic brake holds on a slope as it should
- A new set of tyres is over £1,000 so inspect these closely - the rears take most of the punishment
- Kerbed alloys are pretty common, especially on higher-mile ex-lease cars, so budget for a full refurbishment if this is the case
ASTON MARTIN DB9 (2005 DB9 COUPE)
Engine: 5,935cc, V12
Transmission: 6-speed manual/8-speed auto
Power (hp): 450@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 420@5,000rpm
Top speed: 186mph
MPG: 17.1 (NEDC combined)
Yours for: £33,995 to £139,995