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Scratching the itch: DB7 Vantage or DB9 - Lotus / Motoring / Cars Chat - The Lotus Forums Jump to content
Vanya

Scratching the itch: DB7 Vantage or DB9

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I honestly don't know why I keep getting myself into these situations. Maybe it's the long winters in Sweden that force me to spend so long apart from my existing vehicles. Maybe it's a disease. In any case...

I recently became aware of the existence of the DB7 Vantage. Naturally I fell in love with it because it looks like a Jag XKR on steroids. And given its history that makes a whole lot of sense. Also I want a V12. And rolling around in an Italian car just feels plain wrong. 

I'm on the cusp of buying a BRG/Beige DB7 2002 (auto) with roughly 65 000 miles on the clock @ just north of 20 000 GBP. Current owner has a new car and just wants to be rid of it. Regular service up until 4 years ago whereupon it seems it stopped being used. 

This weekend I made the mistake of going to see a Silver/Red DB9 (I was bored), roughly the same mileage, auto box, priced at roughly 31 000 GBP. Naturally I'm now confused and having a hard time choosing. The DB9 has all the bells and whistles of a modern car, and an exhaust system that makes noise when I want it to, and shuts up when I don't. But I worry it doesn't have the "soul" of the older car. Also I can't see the DB7 depreciating further, whereas the DB9 is probably gonna lose more value, and Astons do seem to be punished for high miles (unlike Porsches....I just don't understand why they get a free pass...) 

So - DB7 - more expensive to insure, ruinous repair and maintenance bills, but a truly beautiful car that should hopefully appreciate in time (or at least allow me to break even considering its very very agressive sale price)

DB9 - more modern, cheaper to insure, more reliable, but maybe not as charming or easy to DIY as the older car. Might have to sell at a loss.

Anyone here have experience of either of these? I've read horror stories about both, although fewer about the DB9. But there are horror stories about all the cars I've owned so.... 

(P.S. No, I don't wanna buy a V8 Vantage! I've already had 3 V8 cars! :D)

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Well, I must start off by saying that I’ve never owned a DB7 or a DB9. However, I did own a 4.3 V8 Vantage for a few years. 

Given a choice of a DB7 or a DB9, I would choose the DB9 every time. It is a better car on virtually every level. It is better looking, more modern, better performing etc etc. 

The DB7 was wonderful, and ground breaking, when it came out. But it is really showing it’s age, particularly the interior. It grew out of the Jag XJS and it really shows it’s 70s roots at times. The DB9, on the other hand, was developed with the help of Lotus Engineering. Case closed. 

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28 minutes ago, Bravo73 said:

Well, I must start off by saying that I’ve never owned a DB7 or a DB9. However, I did own a 4.3 V8 Vantage for a few years. 

Given a choice of a DB7 or a DB9, I would choose the DB9 every time. It is a better car on virtually every level. It is better looking, more modern, better performing etc etc. 

The DB7 was wonderful, and ground breaking, when it came out. But it is really showing it’s age, particularly the interior. It grew out of the Jag XJS and it really shows it’s 70s roots at times. The DB9, on the other hand, was developed with the help of Lotus Engineering. Case closed. 

You had me at Lotus. Case closed indeed haha. 

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Vanya, be careful with the DB7 I looked and nearly bought DB7 Volante 3 years ago, got a bit nervous so got it checked out by a specialist who is a bit of a guru. He found 7k’s worth of work required and he said it was one of the better ones. 

 

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Yeah that's a concern in the back of my head too. But I wonder how much of it is stuff that actually needs doing for the car to drive right. The DB7 vantage is known for having AC that packs up and costs insane amounts of money to repair. An Esprit Turbo SE with non functioning AC is more or less a given on the used market. I've seen so many ad's with "AC doesn't work, but then it never does on these cars" - yet DB7's and the like are expected to have everything functioning tip top. 

That said, apart from the AC I've read horror stories about cracked subframes etc. I'd hate to put myself through that. 

Re running costs:

At the same time my Maserati Coupe is stupidly expensive to run. A major service at an authorised dealer is almost 2000 pounds (it's going in in 10 days!). They specced 5 000 pounds initially because one of the pre-catalysts has failed and needs replacing (my solution is to empty the pre-cats and retune the ECU to stop reading the post pre-cat O2 signal to avoid buying 6000 GBP of catalysts per car that will then fail again within a year or two). I'm guessing Astons are similarly idiotic to run in terms of pricing. The only reason I'm putting up with the Mas costs is because I bought it for 15 000 pounds from someone who just wanted to get rid of it, but it's a cracking example having never seen rain or salt, hence I'm banking on getting my money back come sale time. 

If Astons aren't more expensive to maintain then I can see myself accepting the high costs....

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Try before you buy but £20K for a DB7 Vantage seems suspiciously cheap. Dealers have them up for £35K - £40K nowadays: that’s up £5K on the lowest price level of a couple of years ago. I think they are a very handsome thing. Not dynamically great though. My one and only passenger ride in an early 6 cylinder auto ended up on its side in a deep ditch. It left the road on a bend at a fairly steady speed. It can’t have been that fast, since my brother was following directly behind in his Renault GTA Turbo and coped with the bend without issue. 

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Before I brought my Esprit I was very interested to buy DB7. I would have preferred 6-cylinder model, because I strongly believe, that more cylinders mean more problems. 

At the time those cars were much cheaoer than now, but so were the Esprits which is the reason I have it now. 

Maserati 3200GT:s somehow appeal to me too. They are cheap, but I supposed that there is a reason for this. 

 

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1 hour ago, Ekku said:

Maserati 3200GT:s somehow appeal to me too. They are cheap, but I supposed that there is a reason for this. 

 

Yes. But wonderful turbo power! I think they're not too bad of well taken care of though. Question is if you DIY or take to a dealer. 

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Expensive cars when they need work,  personally for looks prefer the DB9 :)

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The one thing that I always notice with the DB9 is the boring colours they always seem to come in. Of the 97 cars listed on Pistonheads, 42 are silver, 25 are black, 11 dark blue and 10 are grey. That's 91% of them in rather nondescript shades. You can get other colours, but there aren't many out there. Beautiful cars though. Shame they only made a manual version for about 10 minutes.

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I looked for 2 years at DB9's before chancing on an Evora and buying that instead.

Generally, I would say the DB9 is a far better option than the DB7 as the DB9 is much more modern in build, quality, etc.

A few things to look out for, iirc, 2007 I think it was when the Tiptronic II gearbox was installed which is much, much better than the earlier one. Also, major electrical upgrades from 2007 much improved the reliability and the seats / interior were redesigned and a much improved look in my opinion.

I agree re the colours, it was depressing looking at blacks and greys constantly. However, there is a lovely red, some lovely blues too (although i believe the nice dark metallic blues can be a bitch to sell on for some reason - so negotiate hard on the price if you see a nice one lol!)

I think (but am not sure) that @bingoking may have had a DB9 in the past so hopefully he and others who have had one will comment further.

I don't regret not getting the DB9, but do still have that itch I want to scratch  - a nice metallic red DBS manual would be the one for me lol...

Good luck with your search, that V12 engine is just so phwoarrrr!

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1 hour ago, C8RKH said:

I looked for 2 years at DB9's before chancing on an Evora and buying that instead.

Generally, I would say the DB9 is a far better option than the DB7 as the DB9 is much more modern in build, quality, etc.

A few things to look out for, iirc, 2007 I think it was when the Tiptronic II gearbox was installed which is much, much better than the earlier one. Also, major electrical upgrades from 2007 much improved the reliability and the seats / interior were redesigned and a much improved look in my opinion.

I agree re the colours, it was depressing looking at blacks and greys constantly. However, there is a lovely red, some lovely blues too (although i believe the nice dark metallic blues can be a bitch to sell on for some reason - so negotiate hard on the price if you see a nice one lol!)

I think (but am not sure) that @bingoking may have had a DB9 in the past so hopefully he and others who have had one will comment further.

I don't regret not getting the DB9, but do still have that itch I want to scratch  - a nice metallic red DBS manual would be the one for me lol...

Good luck with your search, that V12 engine is just so phwoarrrr!

I'd probably snap up an Evora in a heartbeat but they are extremely thin on the ground here in Sweden. When they do show up they are overpriced (60 000 GBP for an Evora S) or an NA frustratingly missing one of the packs. There's a beautiful silver/paprika NA 2 hours drive away but it doesn't have the tech pack. It's extremely frustrating because it's low mileage but I know I'll be missing out on the parking sensors, tyre pressure monitoring, cruise control etc all of which should be standard on such a "new" car. What's more it has the borked single DIN stereo and no sub. I also try to buy cars that have stopped depreciating, and I'm not sure the Evora S1 is quite done yet (not the LHD market anyway). Ergo: DB7 :)

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3 hours ago, Vanya said:

There's a beautiful silver/paprika NA 2 hours drive away but it doesn't have the tech pack. It's extremely frustrating because it's low mileage but I know I'll be missing out on the parking sensors, tyre pressure monitoring, cruise control etc all of which should be standard on such a "new" car

So spooky this - my first NA had the sports pack but not the tech pack. The dealer added the cruise control for £250 (it is two buttons on the steering wheel and an ECU setting and hey presto, ta da. Done).  I do believe your car will have the reversing sensors, just not the rear camera. Mine had the single din - my local ICE supplier fitted a lovely Alpine Double din sat nav unit and added the rear camera (the hole for it was even already there on the clam) and tada - job done.

From what I have heard, the TPMS can be a right pain in the arse with the sensors not fitting properly and leaking air, the batteries going etc. You just do not need it. End of. Apart from that you're really not missing anything at all.  

If it has the Paprika leather then it has the Premium Pack - wow, silver and red, what is not to like about that. Just do it!!!  It'll be a damn sight cheaper to run than the DB7/9 that is for sure. I am also sure that if you factor in maintenance, fuel and repairs to the total cost of ownership then even with what little depreciation you might get from the Evora it will still be much cheaper to own than the DB7/9.

I still have the Aston DB9 itch, more honestly it is an itch for a manual DBS as I just couldn't face having those two seats in the back. However, every time I go in the garage and look at my Evora the itch goes away! And that's before i drive it, I know the Evora is the better drivers car too.

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Here's the link to the ad:

https://www.blocket.se/vi/82690070.htm

I don't see any reverse sensors [edit: are they on the black part of the bumper between the body coloured section and the diffuser?]. I've heard about the cruise control that it's a cheap installation but the speakers without the tech pack are supposedly crap compared to the kit with the pack (no subwoofer etc and worse sound system, apart from the obviously crappy ICE unit)

I've been tempted a lot but a part of me would rather wait for a Launch Edition. 

 

You have a point about the running costs - it's gonna be affordable and insurance is half that of the DB9 and even less than half for a DB7.

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Lovely car that @Vanya. Are you sure that is not a launch Edition as I believed only the LE cars had the EVORA badge on the passenger side of the dash. I might be wrong though.

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DB9 better car, DB7 better investment as they are the very last pre gaydon cars and are viewed by some as the last real astons. 

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‘By some’? Do you mean ‘by DB7 owners’??!? 

The DB7 has virtually nothing to do with the previously manufactured ‘Newport Pagnell’ cars. It has much more to do with Tom Wilkinshaw, Jaguar, Ford and Bloxham. 

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22 minutes ago, Bravo73 said:

‘By some’? Do you mean ‘by DB7 owners’??!? 

The DB7 has virtually nothing to do with the previously manufactured ‘Newport Pagnell’ cars. It has much more to do with Tom Wilkinshaw, Jaguar, Ford and Bloxham. 

Yeah there seems to be some kind of beef in the AM community between the Bloxham and Gaydon owners. I've heard the term "Jag in Drag" thrown around a lot but IMO that's no bad thing...

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People don't like change and the "old fart" Aston owners get all a bit smelly as the later cars are not all "hand made" by vestal virgins like the earlier cars. There is no doubt about it though the DB9 was a massive step in the right direction for Aston.

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Where do you draw the line between "proper" Aston Martins and the rest? They've been making cars at a number of addresses over the years: Henniker Mews, Kensington; Abingdon Road, Kensington; Feltham; Newport Pagnell; Bloxham; Gaydon; Graz (Austria).  Next up is St Athan, Wales.

I guess that Newport Pagnell will always be considered their spiritual home, since most of their iconic cars were produced during that era.

To be honest, just try them both and see what you think. Reading between the lines, I think you want a DB7 Vantage. It's only going to appreciate as time goes by.

 

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17 hours ago, tinywillyuk said:

Gonna wade in here!  I own a DB9 and it's for sale...  :)

I have also had the fortune to have a DB7 for a short while and they're chalk and cheese.  The DB7 has a tight/narrow pedal box, smaller than the Esprit, which made driving it feel unpleasant.  The seats weren't comfy, although the DB9 isn't a massive improvement there.  Interior fit and finish much better on the DB9 and despite being a decade old, the leather still smells new leathery.

IMHO the DB9 looks nicer, sounds nicer and is a more pleasant drive.  It sounds epic too when on song and pressing on, esp with fuse 22 removed.  It's a markedly different proposition to the Esprit - it's a wafty heavy thing that doesn't feel at home on the twisty turny roads but does like being spanked off the line.  The Esprit feels like something you wear and can be more confident in pressing on at speed.  Interestingly the DB turns more heads than the Esprit...  but for me the Esprit is the long term love and the keeper.

In terms of maintenance, DIY on the DB9 is possible and there are lots of good resources for it, but it's not an Esprit in that regard either.  To compare, I've owned the Esprit 19 years and the DB9 only three..

Hope some of that helps...

 

 

 

Thanks for the insights! A narrower pedal box than an Esprit? I'm guessing it's gonna be like a LHD Esprit then (no footrest) - I get what you mean. 

I agree about the Esprit being the long term car - I've sort of come to terms with the fact I'm probably never letting my Turbo SE go because there's something about it that makes it so special.  The Aston I wanna cross off the bucket list, along with "Big V12 Engine". 

The exhaust system on the DB9 is something I really look forward to. I find the prospect of a valved-system so enticing, because sometimes I wanna be abnoxious and other times I just wanna cruise. With the DB7, like with all my previous cars, I'll be forced to choose - loud or quiet.... 

Currently waiting to hear back from a mechanic at an Aston workshop here in Stockholm about which of the two cars I should go for given the price and mileage I've presented to him (a good DB7 for 20 000 GBP almost feels like a no brainer for example).

In the meantime, I'm hoping a nice Evora NA shows up so I can stop this nonsense of driving other brands than Lotus. 

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Small update:

Went and drove a DB9 this weekend. Well, let's put it this way. You get what you pay for. I loved the extremely heavy steering and the perceived quality of the car.

@tinywillyuk You were right, it does like being spanked off the line, and the throttle mapping in 1st gear is ludicrous. It really doesn't like corners though...

I drove out there in my Maserati Coupe, and while the DB9 is lower and has tighter, more stable handling (especially at speed), I can't say it was twice the car compared to the Mas. I didn't really feel the difference in power (400 hp vs 450), and there was a ticking at idle which kind of bugged me - supposedly many DB9's do it, but I don't wanna run the risk if it's piston slap. 

As I told the dealer, if I shift the Mas, I shall possibly be coming by to pick it up, but not before then. 

Next to make a small roadtrip to try a DB7... the outlay is far smaller and the car might be more up my alley (low tech and put together by hand). Kinda like my Turbo SE.

 

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Agreed - its a comfy place to be but corners, meh...  Also always feel I should be in a dinner jacket and bow tie when out in it.

The ticking/pinkling is often the idler pulley.  Mine did the same and a quick and cheap fix and problem gone...  

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