Aston Martin didn’t need to look far when it came to upgrading its long lusted-after DB9.
Due out later this year, the DB9’s replacement is likely to draw on the powertrain and chassis of the existing, slow-selling Virage, sources insist.
The Virage and the existing DB9 are already very close relations, sharing everything from their extruded and bonded aluminium chassis, their suspensions and their basic engine and layout.
And the Virage is far younger, debuting at last year’s Geneva Motor Show while the DB9 is now eight years old.
Yet Aston Martin doesn’t have the resources to develop an all-new engine and chassis for its DB9 replacement, so it plans to quietly move the Virage on, while transferring its internal gubbins into a newly-sculpted DB car.
Bettering the piece of mobile sculpture that is Ian Callum’s DB9 will be a tough ask – especially from the team that burped up the Lagonda SUV concept car a couple of years ago – but this spy photo indicates they’ve been hard at work cinching in its waist line around the doors in an attempt to move the classic coupe forward.
But swapping in the Virage’s running gear means the basic 6.0-litre V12, originally designed by slamming two Ford Mondeo V6s together, will remain in production for at least another six years.
While a sweet-sounding engine, the V12 has always been hampered by its rotational inertia, taking an age to drop engine revs in delicate situations.
At 5935cc, the new car’s engine will develop 365kW of power, which is 15kW more than the DB9 generates, though the peak will arrive at 6500rpm rather than the existing car’s more relaxed 6000rpm.
Curiously, it does this by way of a higher compression ratio (10.97:1) and a few, carefully hidden hardware tweaks, which means the new car will actually have less torque than the DB9.
The Virage engine, which will power it, produces only 570Nm of torque at 5750rpm, where the DB9 had 600Nm at a more accessible 5000 revs.
That’s not the only thing that will take some explaining because, while the new car’s 0-100km/h sprint time will be a touch quicker at around 4.6 seconds, its top speed will actually be around 5km/h slower, at 295km/h, than the DB9.
It will still use a six-speed transaxle gearbox, mounted just ahead of the rear axle, with the engine’s torque delivered through an alloy torque tube via a carbon-fibre propeller shaft.
Sources won’t reveal what the new DB will be called, though they are reluctant to call it a DB10.
It will still be an unashamed grand tourer, rather than a sports car, and it will still weigh in close to 1800kg, if sources are to be believed.
It will ride on a 2740mm wheelbase (just 5mm shy of the DB9’s length), which will lend it a touch more agility, and it’s expected to be around 4.7 metres long. Extra grip will also be generated in the move from the DB9’s 19-inch Bridgestone rubber to 20-inch Pirelli PZeros.
One of the key Virage items it won’t carry over will be the newer model’s carbon ceramic brake package, which will be held over as an option.