Inside, the Aston looks and feels special, yet durable. The tachometer is to the right of the speedometer and the needle follows a counter-clockwise path, which is confusing as you wring out the V-12. We hit redline several times in first gear, but it's likely owners would become accustomed to the unusual tach and not have this problem. Sadly our DB9 was not equipped with the new Bang & Olufsen sound system, which would have made sitting in traffic less painful, but the V-12 put out plenty of great music of its own. The 700-watt "premium audio system" wasn't quite as impressive as the name implies, so audiophiles will probably want to upgrade to the Bang & Olufsen unit.
The real Achilles heel of the DB9 is the navigation system. We never had a problem getting to our destinations, but the process for inputting an address and selecting a route is painful at best. Too bad Aston no longer has direct access to Ford's technology and can't just borrow the new Ford corporate navigation system with its easy-to-use interface. Another knock against the navigation unit is that it doesn't look very integrated in the car. The flip-open screen never looks like it's fully open and several passengers asked if it was broken - not the effect you want in a $200k ride.
2009 Aston Martin DB9 Coupe
Base price: $183,800 (including gas guzzler tax and destination)
Engine: 5.9-liter Quad Overhead Cam 48-valve V-12
Horsepower: 470 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 443 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
L x W x H: 185.5 x 74 x 50 in
Curb weight: 3880 lbs