Aston Martin DB9 GT review (2015) - Engine and gearbox

It might be feeling its age, but the DB9 GT is still a very desirable car

Evo rating
  • Desirability factor, refinement, V12 engine, bags of character
  • Ageing interior tech, gearbox slow to react, can feel dated compared to rivals

The 6.0-litre quad-cam V12 is a delight, and in a sea of turbocharged engines that sacrifice character for headline power and torque figures delivered at frankly unbelievable low engine speeds, it serves to remind us just how exciting and engaging normally aspirated engines are.

The DB9 GT produces 540bhp at 6750rpm and 457lb ft at 5500rpm, which are higher engine speeds than you’d perhaps expect from V12 engine, but it’s all the better for it. The DB9’s motor is no lazy-boy wafter. The throttle response is sharp and the engine speeds build with genuine athleticism. Switch to Sport mode and that V12 comes alive even more so. Is even more engaging and encouraging of you to use all the available revs and to run the tacho to its redline to indulge in that sonorous V12 wail as the exhaust valves open up. 

After all these years this V12 is still an engine rich in thrills and enjoyment and can still surprise you when it hits its sweet spot and takes off as the revs rise past 4000rpm.  

Unfortunately the six-speed Touchtronic automatic transmission does its best to blunt the DB9 GT’s performance with its glacial shifts between ratios. The switch between gears can be smooth if you get your technique sorted and lift off the throttle the exact moment the ‘box goes for an upshift, but when you start to push on the delay between you pulling the right hand paddle and the gear hitting home increases and frustrates with equal measure. 

In Sport mode the shifts are quicker, less lethargic and feel like the gearbox is installed in the car rather being towed behind in a trailer and connected via a series of linkages longer and more intertwined than the car’s wiring loom.  

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