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Aston Martin DB9 – Clive Sutton Market Report

Aston Martin DB9

Clive Sutton Market Price from £38,000 (2005 model, 45,000 miles)

DB9

What is it?

The Aston Martin DB9 is seen as a proper Aston. The TopGear Cool Wall effect has helped, too. It’s a rival to the Bentley Continental GT and GTC, with a similar token rear seat arrangement (although there’s less space here).

Who buys it?

Buyers tend to be a bit more traditional ‘Aston Martin’ than V8 Vantage buyers. They’re less likely to be early adopters, seeking the latest thing, and so generally keep the cars longer. Apart from the early launch cars, which were resold at a premium, there’s less churn, and fewer owner changes recorded in the logbook early on.

The DB9 buyer is also more enthusiastic as it is a less approachable prospect than the V8 Vantage. The V12 engine intimidates some buyers who fear service costs could be much higher. The reality doesn’t bear this out, but it still puts some off.

Although early buyers swapped out of Porsches and Mercedes-Benz, early DB9s were unable to live up to the Teutonic ideal. They were not entirely trouble free, while some of the switchgear was fiddly. It was very hard, for example, to work the onboard telephone. It took them until the 2008 model year to replace the heater controls with larger, clearer ones.

This means today’s buyers are less likely to have formerly driven German rivals and are more likely to be committed Aston Martin fans.

What is the model range like?

The DB9 comes in Coupe and Volante open-top form. The price and perception gap between Coupe and Volante is not as large as some think. Certainly, sellers don’t mark up any difference in some cases – I reckon the Volante is worth around £2,000 more for older cars, but the higher mileages they’ve covered has to be considered here.

What were the key developments in its lifetime?

In 2005, piano black wood veneer became available. When combined with black leather and a silver exterior, this instantly made it more of a younger man’s car – widening the DB9’s appeal (older buyers who still wanted to feel young were drawn to such models). Compare such a car to, say, a blue model, with magnolia leather, and a traditional wood interior. The ‘net’ of prospective buyers is much more restricted there.

Which model do you recommend?

The coupe from 2008-on currently offers great value for money. In my view, it makes a great first ‘real’ Aston for those who want a beefy V12 in a usable package.

What colours and trims do you recommend?

You must be careful with colours here. As a rule of thumb, you’re safe with anything silver, grey or black. This is due to the James Bond connotations. Green, which you’d think would be a dead cert, is actually something of a double-edged sword. Aston do a lovely pale silver-green, which suits the car well. However, while it’s traditionally British for some people, others are influenced by superstition.

Very bright colours, such as yellow, are more of a European thing, but they’re not uncommon in big cities. Even so, I’d be careful here.

What options do I need?

For cars up to three years old, you can expect to pay 30 percent of the original cost for sensible options. Other extras such as upgraded wheels and parking sensors, heated seats, audio are worth about 20 percent of new cost. After that, the value declines. And, as for more personal options such as bespoke leather, you really shouldn’t be paying much extra at all. The seller may think they’re worth a lot extra, but the market doesn’t.

Demand for new DB9s is limited, but the market for used models is much stronger. What will a new 510bhp Jaguar XKR give for not much more? It is the brand and the beauty that will ensure that the DB9 has ongoing massive appeal in the used market.

What should I avoid?

Early imported cars are sometimes identified by a Cognac-coloured interior. This being a colour scheme that is popular in Europe, and thus recommended as a ‘must have’ by EU dealers. Trouble is, this is not the case in the UK. It’s only recently that we’ve seen this interior gain any sort of interest. For me, it works best with sober colours, such as dark blue.

Also, a number of cars were specced up with a red or burgundy interior. These colours do work with black, silver or grey exteriors, but are less popular, and will therefore cause a car to be less desirable.

Summer 2012 Market Report value update

This is one of the oldest current-shape Aston Marting on sale and is, in my eyes, an absolute bargain. The market price for 2005 cars is £38,000, which I consider to be superb value for money. THese models will have covered 45,000 miles or more, but the basic engineering of the car can take it – and, while there may well be niggles, this is a great haggling point to take even more off.

As for open tops, the Aston Martin DB9 is an interesting case. The price differential between earlier coupes and Volantes is around £5,000-£7,000. This is in line with market conventions and is accepted by buyers: you’ll always pay a premium for convertibles. However, this is not so for 2011 cars – where my market price for both cars is the SAME, at £90,000.

Why is this? Because most of the 2011 Volantes have done double the miles of the coupes, whereas coupes usually cover far more miles than convertibles. This is an unusual quirk right now, but it does mean there is plenty of opportunity to pick up a bargain! The jump from a 2010 to a 2011 coupe is £20,000, where it’s half that for a Volante: id thus advice buyers to act fast, as this market quirk won’t last forever.

As for the DB9 itself, the market is now penalizing it for its age. One of the oldest current-shape Astons on sale, the DBS is clearly derived from it but that still costs around £35,000-£40,000 more than a comparable DB9 (although this does narrow for newer cars). Aston will be replacing it at some point next year which will have further effect on values – but even now, it’s affordable enough compared to the DBS to be considered a really strong buy.

Things to look out for

  • Camcover gaskets can leak
  • Electric windows lose their memory setting – to fix, it needs a new control unit. Should have been fixed under warranty
  • Damage to the gearbox means the automatic’s ‘Park’ mode does not engage, despite the dash indicator saying so. This causes a roll-away risk. Aston franchised dealers issued a recall to fix the problem, from 2005
  • There are two premium stereo upgrades: in Volantes, you may wish to search for the top-line Linn system. New, this cost around £3,000, but really does help audio quality when driving roof down. It’s probably worth £500-£1,000 on the secondhand market, so long as it is the top-line system
  • Alarmingly, navigation was an option on the early DB9s. It’s not a great system, to be honest, but it’s still something of a must-have. You can mark down cars that lack it
  • The DB9 averages a reasonable £1,679 for servicing – cheaper than the most basic Porsche 911, as well as Bentleys and Ferraris
  • Insurance quotes are very reasonable – there’s barely a jump over the V8 Vantage… although that could be more of a reflection of the younger, early adopter-type of buyer drawn to the V8
  • Extending the warranty is reasonable at £1,724
  • Make sure you get 2 keys. Replacements are £300 for a ‘normal’ one and, wait for it, £900 for the glass DBS primary key

 

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