TED

Friday - - Motoring -

As­ton Martin has made an art form of din­ing out on yes­ter­day’s re­heated din­ners, and the new DB9 Car­bon Black Edi­tion is an­other wheeled em­bod­i­ment of a fa­mil­iar meal, al­beit gar­nished with a few fresh trim­mings.

Al­though it’s had a cou­ple of nips and tucks along the way, the DB9 is now the grand old man of the sports GT seg­ment, hav­ing de­buted way back in 2003 at the Frankfurt mo­tor show. The most re­cent over­haul in late 2012 brought a raft of cos­metic and me­chan­i­cal tweaks, but the raw in­gre­di­ents were left un­touched.

Among the ma­jor up­grades for the 2013 model-year DB9 were an up­rated (mainly through bet­ter breath­ing) 6.0-litre V12 that eked out 510bhp (an in­crease of 40bhp) and 620Nm (+20Nm), yield­ing a claimed 0-100kph split of 4.6sec and top whack of 295kph. Off­set­ting

the ex­tra grunt was a stan­dard set of car­bon-ce­ramic Brembo stop­pers fea­tur­ing 398mm cross-drilled discs at the front and 360mm discs at the rear. Vis­ually, the new model was dis­tin­guish­able by its re­pro­filed head­lights, a more ag­gres­sive front bumper/split­ter as­sem­bly, re­vised rear spoiler and clear-lens LED tail­lights.

Now comes yet an­other vari­a­tion on the theme in the form of the DB9 Car­bon Black edi­tion. As sug­gested by the moniker, it’s noir in the ex­treme, fea­tur­ing Car­bon Black gloss paint, car­bon-fi­bre side strakes and black win­dow sur­rounds. The in­te­rior car­ries over the dark mood, with the only con­trast pro­vided by red stitch­ing (match­ing the hue of the brake cal­lipers) on the seats, cen­tre con­sole and door trims, along with a smat­ter­ing of car­bon-fi­bre trim.

So, it’s an As­ton Martin – and a limited-edi­tion one at that. How dis­ap­point­ing then, that the cabin has such a low-rent am­bi­ence. There’s hard, pla­s­ticky trim wher­ever you look, and all the switchgear has a real cheap, flimsy feel to it. Worse still is the steer­ing wheel, which looks for all the world like it could have been plucked straight out of a Ford Fo­cus or Nis­san Ti­ida.

There sim­ply isn’t the

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