Fresh Arrival Makes The Virage A Distant Memory My neighbor had been ignoring the various exotics and high-priced luxury cars parked in my driveway for many years – I should have expected that the DB9 would shatter the trend. The morning sun was glistening off the Aston Martin's metallic Volcano Red paint when she rolled by in her late-model Acura TL, abruptly hit the brakes, and then reversed her sedan before coming to a stop in front of my driveway. The passenger window went down and she smiled before uttering seven words – a curious question followed immediately by an ardent statement. "What is that car? It is gorgeous!" There was no need to discuss the muscular twelve cylinders under the hood, yards of hand-stitched soft leather or its carbon-ceramic brakes. None of that mattered. As she peered at the sexy aluminum bodywork, her eyes filled with lust and then glazed over. The Aston Martin DB9 is a sports GT – touted as its "most elegant sports grand tourer." Despite sharing most of its sibling's dimensions, the all-aluminum DB9 is slotted below the carbon-bodied flagship Vanquish and above the slightly smaller and sportier Vantage. Seventy percent of the body panels are new. With the short-lived Virage now out of production, the DB9 went under the knife for the 2013 model year. It emerged in late September with a more aggressive and athletic appearance (Aston says that 70 percent of the body panels are new), fresh technology and a solid bump in power. The new 2013 DB9 is a dead ringer for the discontinued Virage from the front, as it has adopted the coupe's sharpened and elongated front lights, LED markers and daytime running lamps, along with its gaping lower intake with a carbon-fiber front splitter. The lower rear fascia is also nearly identical, with a more prominent lower diffuser styled to emphasize its aggressiveness. In a departure from the Virage with its smooth tail, the rear decklid of the DB9 features a handsome boot "flip" (we call it an "integrated spoiler" in the States) to further reinforce its sporty demeanor and reduce lift. The interior ergonomics are unchanged (it's a shame the DB9 doesn't get the updated and slightly more ergonomic cabin from the flagship Vanquish), but the DB9's accommodations have been upgraded and improved to be more luxurious, more refined and more elegant. Supple Bridge of Weir hides, wonderfully hand-stitched with two different gauges of thread depending on the desired aesthetic effect, embellish all of the visible surfaces and real polished glass switches adorn the console. A new "racetrack" pinstripe color-contrasting welt runs down either side of the console (each requires a six-foot continuous piece of leather, says the automaker). The cockpit is plush, comfortable and its rich smell will make your mouth water – Astons do that. A new "racetrack" pinstripe requires a six-foot continuous piece of leather. Mirroring the construction of the Vantage and Rapide, the DB9 is built on the company's Generation 4 VH all-aluminum monocoque …
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