Articles


Jaguar XKR vs. Aston Martin DB9

2014-04-23 Read: 1 267x

Bill Ford has added to his monopoly taking ownership of Jaguar Motors and partial stake (as of March 2007, shared with ProDrive’s David Richards) of Aston Martin. Ian Callum was the design chief on both the XKR and the DB9 — building on the tailored chassis of the Jaguar XJS — and his creative control resulted in two aesthetically identical cars. Both have engine capabilities of 400+ horsepower and have enjoyed success in premier road races, but how does that success translate to your everyday drive?

We've pit these two British powerhouses against one another to find out which is a more fitfully race-inspired consumer vehicle. Both were evaluated in six categories from interior design to bang for your buck, with 100 points awarded at the checkered flag.

Jaguar XKR

MSRP (base): $86,700
Engine: 4.2-liter, 32 valve, DOHC supercharged V8
Horsepower: 420 bhp
Torque: 413 ft. lbs @ 4,000 rpm
MPG: City: 15; Highway: 23

Performance - 16/20
The RWD XKR rests atop an aluminum-based frame, shaving 70 kg of drag mass over its predecessor, despite the XK’s chassis being abbreviated in inches. Rigidity-minded dampers and springs were applied along with 38% stiffer shocks in the front and 24% at the rear. Couple the recalibration of the hydraulic power steering and a rear shock tower strut brace with a well-developed e-stability control system and the result is a drastic improvement in accurate handling and maneuverability. Twin air intakes aid the coupe in breathing as an Eaton supercharger brings the 4.2-liter V8 and its available horsepower to a whopping 420. With a 0-60 mph time of just a hair over five seconds, the XKR will reach top end speed of 155 mph. But no worries — this Jag is also outfitted with the largest performance brakes ever to be put on a production Jaguar.

Exterior - 18/20
2007’s XK was regarded by a slew of critics as being the aesthetic epitome of the British GT bracket and has seen some modifications for the sport-tuned R version. Heightening aerodynamic performance, the entire lightweight cast including all panels and the frame were implemented to make a uni-spaceframe design. Unique to this year's offering are the quad tailpipe afterburners that were derived from the manufacturers FIA race car. The XKR was also garnished with a freshly meshed grille, aluminum hood vents, and a convertible at the consumer’s prerogative.

Interior - 6/10
New engine mounts allow for very minute reverberation in the cockpit, enabling the pilot to enjoy the interior styling of the XKR without the engine taking over — mind you, there's no reason why you wouldn't want that, really. The cabin employs race-inspired buckets with the signature R emblazoned on the headrests, as well as on the steering wheel, shifter knob and tachometer. Much of the interior, being the center console and transmission pod, is pronounced by brushed aluminum panels — which are in actual fact plastic — although for no extra cost these can be swapped for a Satin American Walnut veneer. The mechanically adjustable seats and door grids are all outfitted in leather, as are the A and B pillars. And while Jaguar pitched their latest installment as a true 2+2 configuration, we found that the rear arrangement could only fit very small children or packages comfortably.

What's the XKR's final score and how does the DB9 fare?

Sound system/Goodies - 8/10
The XKR’s stereo equipment is provided by the perfectionists at Alpine, with eight quality high-output, low-distortion Kevlar mid-range 525W speakers and specially designed aluminum-dome tweeters. There is a standard six-disc in-dash CD changer with MP3 capability mated to a Dolby Pro Logic 2, three-channel signal processor. All functional selections, including navigation, are displayed via a seven-inch LCD touch screen and are fairly simple to operate.

Bang for the buck - 17/20
This two-door Jaguar fares well on all fronts and is priced accordingly. Not only does it encompass race-inspired performance, but it suggests safety and aesthetics to boot, making it a serious contender in the under-$100,000 class.

Driving experience - 18/20 
It is most evident that leaps and bounds have been made since the debut of last year's XKR, perhaps best manifested in the handling. The ZF seeded six-speed automatic Sport Mode breezes through the balancedgear ratios, allowing the pilot full range of  the vehicle's torque at all times. The gearbox downshifts extremely well even when the tachometer's redline is hit — and believe us, you'll want to hit that redline often.  

Overall score - 83/100
The Jaguar XKR has dispelled the naysayers who claim that Ford’s boardroom influence has stripped the UK marque of its edge. This Jaguar has a soul and it performs to the best of its ability — if not better — at all times.

Aston Martin DB9

MSRP (base): $220,000 (approx.)
Engine: 6.0-liter, 48 valve, DOHC, V12
Horsepower: 450 bhp
Torque: 420 @ 5,000 rpm
MPG: City: 12; Highway: 19

Performance - 17/20
The Aston Martin DB9 is fabricated from a shell identical to its competitor, the XKR. Crafted from an aluminum base, it too sheds a few pounds from its former 3,970 lb skeleton. Keen weight distribution promotes superior handling and agile transitioning at a near flawless 51/49 split. There is an onboard electronic suspension configuration that manages stability control, assisted by a rate/lateral acceleration sensor to help you stay firmly planted to the road at all times. The DB9 also boasts an ICU (Integrated Control Unit) that corrects both over- and understeer, independently braking on each wheel to return the vehicle to its desired line. A 6.0-liter V12 engine, borrowed from the Vanquish, vaults the 450 horsepower beast from 0-60 in 4.9 ticks, with a top speed estimated at 186 mph.

Exterior - 18/20
The freshest class of DB9 can easily be recognized by its calling-card radiator grille and rear haunches. The common theme of a wind-splitting, mono-frame design is shared with the XKR. The DB9 is stretched by nearly two inches in wheelbase to maintain a Coke-bottle physique and sits atop 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels. Other amenities include electric folding mirrors, headlight cleaners and projector beam lens Xenon bulbs. Dual exhaust chutes sit flush with the undercarriage and are classically understated. The DB9 can also be outfitted in a flex-top convertible trim, with the Volante moniker.

Who won the battle of the supercar matchup? Find out...

Interior - 9/10
Noise is heavily dampened to virtual nonexistence, save for the quiet motor rumble allowing the operator to really enjoy the luxurious interior workings. The race-inspired bucket seats are positioned at the lowest point possible without resembling a go-kart, and are dressed in hand-woven Scottish Bridge on Weir Chancellor leather, are fully maneuverable, and are equipped with memory foam for ultimate comfort. Titanium-colored aluminum accents can be found from dash to doors, spreading strategic contrast to the cowhide panels. As with the XKR, some sections can be scrapped in favor of Walnut-lacquered wood. The 2+2 seating arrangement is ergonomically lacking with only 8 cu-ft of rear passenger space. But the crystal start button more than makes up for the useless rear seats and any other flaws the interior might have.

Sound system/Goodies - 7/10
Linn lends its expertise to the six-speaker and subwoofer, 700W audio display. The system is MP3-ready and Bluetooth-enabled, but the text on the HUD is barely legible. A factory six-disc, in-dash CD changer is also protocol and produces a completely digitized listening experience. The pitch-discerning software separates all highs, mids and lows before redistributing them on their respective channels. A navigation aid disappears into the dash until needed — and features a seven-inch LCD touch monitor.

Bang for the buck - 18/20
For a sticker price of just over $200,000, the public receives a street-prepped race car with lineage in both the 24 Hour Le Mans race and FIA GT. But above all else, can we really put a price on the 007 cool factor?

Driving experience - 19/20
The option of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic with paddle shifters is offered on the DB9. A perfect center of gravity makes for quite the corner carver, and the powerband reaches most of its potential before a mandatory shift is made — so you essentially have power all the time, anytime. The governed top speed will most likely never come to fruition, but it’s nice to know that it’s there — just in case.

Overall score - 88/100

The Aston Martin DB9 is reputably competition-bred and continues to add to its legacy with each manufacturer’s championship. A star in its own right, this vehicle carries a prestige like no other, and it carries it oh so well.

and the winner is…

Although both cars were fashioned with striking similarities, it makes their differences that much more concise. Brainchildren of the same parent conglomerate and designer, the Jaguar XKR and Aston Martin DB9 would be one in the same if it weren’t for the contrast in performance and interior layout. There's also that small difference in horsepower and let's not forget the $90,000 price jump either… In this fairly even matchup the pendulum inevitably swings toward the Aston Martin as the DB9 narrowly levels the XKR, as it should.

Discussion about article New topic


Photo gallery - Aston Martin DB9

Aston Martin DB9

This is an article about the model Aston Martin DB9

Aston Martin DB9s roll off the line

The Long-Lived Savior of the Brand, Ends Production. The DB9 is dead; long live the DB11.

After 13 years in production, Aston Martin is bidding farewell to the beautiful DB9. While the design is still jaw-dropping, the bones of the car were getting old, outpaced by newer, more high-tech luxury sport coupes. But while we're thrilled by the shiny newness of the DB11, we really ought to stop and cel...

Where dreams are driven (2012)

One of the best advertising

Cardi Concept 442 (2016)

CARDI’S CONCEPT 442 IS THE SCI-FI ASTON MARTIN OF OUR DREAMS

A coachbuilder based in Moscow, Russia, is looking to extend the Aston Martin DB9’s life by turning it into a luxurious full-size coupe.

Cardi has made extensive modifications to the DB9, and the Concept 442 shares virtually no styling cues with the Aston Martin it traces its roots to. Computer-generated renderings reveal that the 442 ...

Aston Martin DB9 GT Review

2016 Aston Martin DB9 GT Review

September  2015

 

I’m driving an all-new 2016 Aston Martin DB

Aston Martin DB9 GT Bond Edition (2016)

The Name’s DB9 GT Bond Edition

Perhaps aware that some fans of both Aston Martin and James Bond might be feeling left out, unable to (officially) purchase one of the 10 special DB10 sports cars built for the upcoming Bond 007 Spectre movie, Aston has moved to fill the void. The stopgap, a DB9 GT Bond Edition, isn’t quite the stunner that the DB10 is, but it comes loaded with Aston Martin-ness and...

Time to buy Aston Martin DB9 range (2004 to 2012)

The Aston Martin DB9 is a car that creates a physical ache of envy. It's effortlessly beautiful, still reasonably rare and is a car that's far from an obvious choice. All of these factors have boosted its desirability and make well looked after used examples worth tracking down. It's a car at a vintage stage in the company's development, retaining a lot of character of the older Astons but adding ...

Aston Martin DB9 GT

Based on recent spy shots, it appears that the Aston Martin DB9 might be nearing retirement. Thankfully, the British sportscar brand isn't letting the high-performance grand tourer wither on the vine until a replacement arrives. Instead, the company is launching the most powerful version of the model yet with the introduction of the DB9 GT at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed.With its tuned 6...

Kahn Vengeance (Aston Martin DB9)

Kahn is back with a Vengeance, its new Aston Martin DB9 based supercar revealed here in the first official images

British design company Kahn has revealed the first renderings of its new bespoke two-door sports car. Codenamed the Vengeance, the hand-built car is designed to hark back to the glory days of British coachbuilding and arrives later this year.

The Vengeance uses a Aston Martin DB9 c...

Aston Martin DB9 Successor (2017)

Aston's DB9 replacement will get a twin-turbo AMG V8 engine and possibly a new name, as the first mules have been spotted testing

These are reportedly the first pictures of Aston Martin's DB9 replacement testing. The new model, which is due to go on sale in 2016, has been spotted at the Nürburgring.

This early mule is understood to be testing chassis and internal components, and wears lightly mo...

Test Aston Martin DB9 (2014)

How we specced CAR's new Aston Martin DB9 long-termer - 30 April 2013

Has there ever been a more poignant year in which to run a long-term Aston Martin? The world’s coolest car company celebrates its 100th birthday this year, so can the DB9 – Aston’s oldest model – still cut it in 2013? We’ve got the next few months to find out…

It’s not the same DB9 that Aston launched in late 2003 though, as o...

Aston Martin DB9 (2016)

The British luxury and GT car company wants to reinvent itself as a true supercar maker and is planning a car to compete with the best that the Prancing Horse can offer by 2016.

Aston Martin has never had any problems in competing with its rivals in terms of comfort or style. Even when the company has been in the throes of bankruptcy it has somehow managed to keep building cars that redefine auto...

Aston Martin DB9 By Carlex Design

It has been a decade since the Aston Martin DB9 arrived to replace the DB7 . Many tuners including the popular names have spent time with the British icon to squeeze more out of it and make it even more sophisticated and lucrative. The latest tuner to get its hands on the DB9 is Carlex and it made the car look astonishing on the inside — as if the base DB9’s cabin wasn’t astonishing enough. It has...

Edo Competition

EDO Competition converts five-year-old Aston Martin DB9 into DBS

Should you find Dr. Ulrich Bez’s formula for a special DBS lacks a certain something, you may want to dial up Edo Competition. The German tuner recently launched a new program designed to amplify Aston’s slinky sports car.

The Edo DBS still uses the standard 5.9-liter V-12, but receives a revised engine computer, high-performance e...

2005 Aston Martin DB9 Volante

What could be better--more beautiful, more attention-grabbing, more perfect for a jet-set lifestyle--than an Aston Martin DB9?The answer is an Aston Martin DB9 Volante, the convertible version of one of the world's loveliest cars.

We can argue that the fixed-roof coupe, with an inevitably stiffer body shell, is lighter, faster, and more rewarding to drive--and $13,500 cheaper--but buyers of autom...

Aston Martin DB9 Sport pack manual

With a slightly less powerful version of the sonorous V12 that powers its Vanquish big brother and styling to die for, the Aston Martin DB9 occupies a relatively unpopulated segment of the market, with only the Bentley GT as direct competition.

There is no question that despite its GT, rather than hard-core sportscar credentials, the DB9 is a more charismatic car drive than its British rival from...

Aston Martin DB9 Carbon Black and Carbon White Editions

Aston Martin have two world premieres at the Geneva Motor Show 2014, the V8 Vantage N430 and the Aston Martin DB9 Carbon Black and Carbon White Editions. We took a look at the later, itself a special edition version of the DB9 with much carbon fibre goodness added to the package!

Both special edition Aston Martin DB9 Carbon Black and Carbon White Edition continue a tradition started by the Aston ...

Aston Martin DB9 & Volante

Aston Martin DB9

The Aston Martin DB9, the first car to be produced at the company's modern and recently completed facility in Gaydon, Warwickshire, made world debut at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show on Tuesday, 9th September. The innovative DB9 heralds an exciting new era for Aston Martin as it reflects the direction that the company is now taking with all future models.

Using a radical new alum...

Aston Martin DB9 development and design

The DB9 was designed by Ian Callum and Henrik Fisker, and was first revealed at the 2003 Frankfurt Auto Show. The moniker "DB" stems from the initials of David Brown, the owner of Aston Martin for a significant part of its history. Despite being the successor of the DB7, Aston Martin did not call the car the DB8 due to fears that the name would suggest that the car was equipped with only a V8 engi...


Articles