By on February 14, 2017


aston martin

Bill writes:

I am considering adding a fourth car to my family fleet, and I’m seriously weighing the options between a new Ford Mustang GT coupe with a manual or a 2005-2008 (or so) Aston Martin DB9. This would be a car I would drive around 3,000 miles per year.

In anticipation of your first questions, my other cars are a 2004 Honda S2000 AP2, which I plan to keep forever, a 2013 VW Touareg VR6 and an utterly original 1991 Mercedes-Benz 420 SEL (W 126) with just 113k miles. I can afford, within reason, higher ownership costs associated with a luxury GT as long as the engine doesn’t have to come out of the car for service (like seemingly every Ferrari before the 360).

It looks like a DB9 coupe with under 30,000 miles can be had for around $45k or so. I’d love to find a manual gearbox but they are rare.

Please give me three good reasons why I should run to my local Ford dealer and find a ‘Stang. Or not. Thank you!

Sajeev answers:

Since you requested “three reasons” to find (or at least test drive) a new Mustang, let’s ensure you experience the “Aston Martin of Ford Mustangs” (AMFM):

  1. Performance: If a stock Mustang GT’s performance doesn’t impress, imagine your “AMFM” with:
    1. A tune that eliminates the looney throttle lag/torque management.
    2. Comparable make/model of tires found on an Aston.
    3. Fancy adjustable shocks from the likes of Koni. (Same logic as the tires)
  2. Interior design: Fans of S2000s and your German Iron certainly appreciate a well-constructed interior. I reckon the Mustang’s fit/finish is on par with a run-of-the-mill Mini Cooper. Consider an “AMFM” with cloth seats with the intention of aftermarket leather covers (better quality hides than factory) to narrow the interior quality gap.
  3. Money (time or real value of): New cars need little in terms of out-of-pocket repairs. Not so with a used Aston Martin. Factor the replacement cost of potential Aston-specific wear items (suspension items bashed senseless by potholes, failing electronics, general maintenance, etc.) and you’d be mighty foolish to avoid a test drive.

BAM SON! Now you got your reasons!

[Image: Aston Martin]

Send your queries to [email protected]com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

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60 Comments on “Piston Slap: The Aston Martin of Ford Mustangs?...”

  • avatar

    Don’t forget the vastly superior electronics/infotainment in the Mustang, esp if you hold out for a 2018 model with the TFT display. Also, it’s unlikely for the Aston to have a line lock for those all important smoke shows.

    But if your tastes run more towards a counterclockwise tachometer and leather stitched kick panels, The AM is for you. The Vantage V8 will match the spine tingling sound of the Coyote V8, but the DB9 sadly will not, unless you put an aftermarket exhaust on it.

    • 0 avatar

      What the hell man I literally came in to say just this. I test drove a BMW E60 this weekend and IDrive felt like a Gameboy. This has pretty much doomed older cars for me; at least cars that I can’t change the infotainment setup of.

      • 0 avatar

        If you want to see Gameboy graphics in a car, find an E39 with nav. It’s hilarious. E60 iDrive is probably more Nintendo64 :-)

        Infotainment through most of the aughts is indeed a big problem. Older cars might not have the connectivity options, but at least what it had stayed out of the way, and things like bluetooth > aux adapter were less conspicuous. The E60 (and probably every car in its competitive class) has slow, dated graphics, typically lack Bluetooth A2DP, and it is really hard to hide aftermarket fixes in the cabin. You also have no chance of changing the headunit.

        I don’t mind a car that doesn’t have the latest and greatest if there are viable workarounds, but having so much of the user interface focused on dated electronics hurts.

        • 0 avatar

          Wow – the LACK of an infotainment system is a definite huge PLUS with the Aston.

          Bluetooth aside, I try my best not to turn into one of those future humans from WALL-E.

        • 0 avatar

          I have an E60, and I feel sorry for someone who would dismiss such an amazing drivers car just because of a dated infotainment system. I have found that it does all of ‘the basics’ just fine:

          1.) Bluetooth calling is crystal clear. I don’t use the BMW voice commands, just tell Siri who to call and the car does the rest.
          2.) No Bluetooth media but the AUX jack connected to the phone will play music and podcasts just the same.
          3.) don’t use the Nav, I use Waze on my phone
          4.) Audio system is easy to scroll between CD-FM-AM-SAT-AUX. (Gives me a reason to listen to all my old 90’s rock & metal CDs!)
          5.) rarely use the climate menu once you set the auto controls.

          Really, it’s not as awful as people say it is.

          • 0 avatar

            Agreed. Aside from looking cheesy, I don’t see dated infotainment as a detractor from buying an old car. Even in new cars with nice infotainment I still use my phone for navigation and workarounds exist to pipe audio into the stereo.

  • avatar

    “Please give me three good reasons why I should run to my local Ford dealer and find a ‘Stang.”

    1) Your 401k
    2) Your 401k
    3) Your 401k

    Thank me anytime!

    And if the Mustang is a toy, to be driven around 3,000 miles a year, I’d even recommend one that’s lightly used. Save yourself some money.

  • avatar

    One factor to consider is that the AM will already be heavily depreciated while a new Mustang will be worth half of what you will pay for it in 3 years. Given that you are only going to drive the car 3,000 miles per year, if you decide to sell in a few years, my view is that you would be better off with the AM. However, ultimately, you are buying a fun to drive car and thus you should buy whichever one you find more enjoyable/exciting to drive. Maintenance should, hopefully, not be too bad on the AM given the low mileage you plan to put on it.

    • 0 avatar

      If depreciation was the ONLY factor in buying a car, you might have a point.

      Me, I’ll take the full-warranty domestic car that will run reliably and be easy/cheap to repair later. If all you’re worried about is how much its worth when you sell it, why not just put it behind plate glass and never drive it?

      I wonder how much the Aston will depreciate when some special but vital part that has to come from a tiny little village in the English countryside with no phone or internet access fails on the side of the highway in Ohio?

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Having had a personal, weekend tour of the Newport-Pagnell facility when it was still the sole manufacturing facility for Aston. I can confirm that it does have adequate telephone service.

        And for the price of a good lunch, I will regale you with the story of how we were able to achieve that very rare feat.

      • 0 avatar

        Not that parts for something domestic, like a Chevy SS would ever be hard to find…

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Why only 3k per year? Do you live in Alaska or something?

    A Mustang GT would be just fine for a 2x a week or better work commuter to go along with the Merc and Toureg. Heck, you may find your overall maintenance costs go DOWN by driving the Stang’ a bit. I have heard that zee German cars can come with expensive repair bills. I have no experience with this myself so I can’t comment on that probably just speculation from others.

    Sadly, other than being able to say (while adjusting ascot) I drive an Aston Martin the Mustang will most likely provide far more driving pleasure with less concern for unruly, ill-timed, & expensive shop visits.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed 100%. When I had a “fleet”, I drove a different car to work every few days.

      Like Eminem said:
      “Never know what kinda car I’ll be in
      Follow you around to every bar you attend.”

      Okay, maybe not the second part, I wasn’t a professional stalker lol but I would show up in a different car every 2-3 days, rotating them in and out. Unless there was snow/ice. Then the Concorde certainly got left at home, and I’d usually grab the Aerostar with weight in the back since I could control it better.

    • 0 avatar

      3K a year on a playtoy is about right. That’s all I put on my Vette convertible. Cars like this are best enjoyed in bursts, at least for me. This way, every time I get in it feels special. If I had to commute in it I think the honeymoon would have ended by now.

      As for the Aston, I had the joy of being in a now-retired coworker’s DBS. What a gorgeous car! Now, that’s special. Don’t know how reliable it will be as it ages; his only has 5000 miles on it. But what a treat!

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    My GP had a similar question. With a healthy budget he wanted a fun car that he could add to his garage.

    Corvette = middle age crisis
    Ferrari = trying too hard/look at me
    Mustang = boy racer
    Hellcat = red neck
    Lambo = pimp or drug dealer
    GTR = too Grand Theft Auto
    Audi = too Teutonic
    Aston = successful cultured car aficionado

    The only acceptable options to an Aston after reviewing the above were a Tesla or a perhaps a newer Jaguar.

    Aston’s are rare enough that many do not even recognize them. And those that do are generally happy to see one.

    Aston owners are generally the type to maintain their vehicles meticulously and not ‘abuse’ them. With few Aston dealers, maintenance records are generally complete and easy to access.

    With an Aston, his wife would not mind riding in it. Not as noisy, aggressive, hard riding or ‘shouty’ as the others.

    Aston’s are suggestive of a refined and cultured lifestyle. Someone who appreciates the best. Hand made shoes, bespoke suits, the best single malt, ski trips to St Moritz, rounds of golf at Augusta, cool jazz, etc. A person who can afford the best but who is not ostentatious.

    Finally it seems that nobody dislikes or has complaints about Aston or Citroen owners. They are unthreatening. They don’t have ‘haters’ like the D3 where some fanboys just dislike the thought of anyone owning a Ford/GM/Dodge depending on their own loyalty.

    So he purchased a low mileage Vantage and absolutely loves it!

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    For $45ish grand and this usage, I’d be interested in what sort of Jag-yew-ar might be available. XK(R) or F-Type Coupe? Class closer to Aston, running costs closer to Mustang.

    • 0 avatar

      As the owner of a Jag-yew-ar (XK8), I can tell you that the running costs are much closer to the AM than the FM. Not a FM, but my low mileage (70k) Ranger has needed one tie rod and two freeze plugs since 1998. Total cost of repairs at a dealer, about $200. The other car is a different story. Although the big items (engine and gearbox) hold up, other things, not so much. For instance, one day the alternator started making a rather horrible noise. The alternator itself still worked fine but $1,500 to make the noise go away. Other things like A/C lines and P/S lines tend to go after a while. Don’t even get me started on the cooling system. Most of the problems start about 6 to 7 years down the road so as long as you limit your time spent with the thing, you might be Ok.

  • avatar

    Bill if you go in for a new Mustang wait for the 2018 car to hit. The 15-17 cars are nice but the 2018 Mustangs are getting some good upgrades in performance from the Ford branded MagneRide and now riding on Michelin Pilot Super Sport or 4S tires to engine upgrades based on the Voodoo V8 in the Shelby (sans flat-crank) including hybrid fuel injection.

  • avatar

    there’s a difference between being able to afford to *buy* an Aston Martin, and being able to afford to *own* one.

    • 0 avatar
      Keith Mercer

      Please elaborate.

      • 0 avatar

        I thought it would be self-explanatory, but I’ll oblige- exotics can have staggeringly high repair and maintenance costs. if you only have $45k to spend on a car, it’s unwise to use it to buy one which will sit idle frequently while you save the money to fix whatever broke most recently.

        yes, it’s DeMuro, that doesn’t mean he’s wrong.

  • avatar

    Mustang? No.

    Given your situation, I’d only want one of those if you actually like seeing yourself coming down the street every tenth or so car.

    If I were you, I’d put a premium on having something that I’ve absolutely lusted after, dreamed about, and knew that if I didn’t have the only one like it in town, it’d be a couple of weeks before I ran across the other owner.

    At the mileage and use you’re talking, practicality is a deadweight around your dreams. Go for the Aston. Considering you can’t get anything French in this country, going British is the next best thing to showing vehicular class.

    • 0 avatar

      blah. if you’re even worrying over the purchase price of an Aston, even one bit, you can’t afford to own it.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeeeesss, but this is going to be a 3K-a-year garage queen, it shouldn’t* require a lot of care and feeding. And when it does, he has three other rides available. Is it a smart way to spend $45K? No. But if he can afford it, why not? The FM is fine but nothing special, the AM is a ride that gets noticed. If that matters to you.

        *Not a guaranty, YMMV.

  • avatar

    2004 Honda S2000 AP2
    2013 VW Touareg VR6
    1991 Mercedes-Benz 420 SEL (W 126)
    …and looking at a new Mustang or 02-05 DB9

    I like Bill.

    I propose an alternative solution, period Jag XK8 converted to LSx (figure under 20K all in) and pocket the rest.

  • avatar

    You should get the DB9.

    A new Mustang GT is something you get as a primary driver not to be a 3K/year car in a fleet rotation.

    If you really want a Mustang I’d go for something like a Terminator Cobra or GT500KR or Boss 302.

  • avatar

    at a similar price point wouldn’t you rather buy a Shelby GT350 variant?

    You’ll get a more sophisticated exhaust note than the plebian boy racer Mustangs, and proper Recaros as well.

  • avatar

    Mustangs are everywhere. They’re cool, but there’s nothing “special” about them. It’s more fun if you’re not driving the most popular car in the local high school parking lot. Part of the fun for me would be just staring at the Aston sitting in my driveway. Think of it this way: with a Mustang, you’re Bob from accounting. With an AM, you’re 007. You only live once…

  • avatar

    Go with the Aston Martin.

    Maintenance is only a factor if one actually plans on frequently driving the car. Yes the repair costs can be stupefying- but that’s the case for anything premium label made in Europe nowadays. Amirite, Audi fans?

    The interior and detail comforts of an Aston Martin blow the doors off of the Mustang- that matters a lot more in real world day to day traffic then absolute performance.

    • 0 avatar

      Not really…..having owned both, I can tell you that while the leather is far nicer in the AM, and it obviously has a much more upscale feel, the modern tech in the new Mustang leaves the AM in the dust. Things like proper phone integration, all the latest apps, ventilated seats, and plenty of other toys present in the new Mustang were unheard of when the DB9 was designed.

      Just depends on one’s priorities.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      Since the car won’t be used for day to day driving, I’d say outright performance is more important.

  • avatar

    I’m kind of in the same boat as the OP, but I’m not ready to pull the trigger just yet.

    I get the comparison, but if you’re only driving 3K miles a year, then I would go with the AM because YOLO.

  • avatar


    I only say that because I can actually afford to insure and repair the Mustang. Oh and I’ll feel comfortable parking the Mustang in an old parking lot.

  • avatar
    Dan R

    Boyz to Men, your choice.

  • avatar

    Your choice can be relatively easy if you just join a popular Aston Martin forum and read a few threads. This is exactly what I did 3 years ago and immediately decided there is no way I was going to be spending all my time and money in the repair shop instead of enjoying my ride. I decided to get a 2010 Jaguar XK Coupe with 4,800 miles and traveled out of state to have it shipped back home. Designed by the same guy Ian Callum, I have a warranty on a low mileage car I can feel somewhat confident driving. Regardless how few miles you drive, an Aston Martin, unless brand new is a risky choice. I’m not a Mustang fan but would go that route instead of the headaches from a used British car regardless of the prestige in driving one. Good luck with whatever decision you make, but if you go for the AM… your research!!!

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    Watch Doug Demuro’s videos on his experience with his 10 year old Aston Martin. I’ll spare you the details but its a disaster. Right now tons of Mustangs new and old are all over the roads in Massachusetts plowing through slush taking people to their jobs.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      This will be his 4th car and likely driven less than 3k per year. He can afford for it to be a car that is driveable only on those perfect autumn days.

      Therefore it should be something special.

  • avatar

    Once upon a time, I owned a Triumph Spitfire.

    (I know – not in the same league as what we’re talking about here.)

    But it did cure me forever of owning anything British…

    • 0 avatar

      I have owned a Spitfire since 2013 , drive it 75+ days a year. Drive it to work in the summer on dry days.

      Cost me $4600 (probably worth a little bit more now) and its $150/ year to insure (full coverage).

      My unreliability story, I once had a bad connection to an aftermarket fuel pump relay, about one minute from my home. Simple repair 5 minutes later I drove the last 1/4 mile to my house.

  • avatar

    I’d get the Aston. It’s different, Mustangs are everywhere.

    • 0 avatar

      “I’d get the Aston. It’s different, Mustangs are everywhere.”

      Is that anything like, “You can find a woman anywhere, but wouldn’t you rather go out with Casey Anthony?”?

      • 0 avatar

        “I’d get the Aston. It’s different…”

        I’ve never understood that mentality.. Screw THAT! I only buy for me!!
        If there’s another Canary Yellow, Geo Metro convertible on every DAMN corner, so be it! (Maybe there’s a reason for that..;) At least mine’s an Automatic!!!

        The *others* probably won’t be exactly like mine anyway, my colour, showroom clean, looking/sounding “showroom” too. Stock Cassette Player (W/Auto REVERSE!), thank you very much!

        But I’d start to feel I was buying for someone else, someone else’s tastes, buying something “different” just for the sake of being different.

        And what’s with the all the insecurity anyway?

        • 0 avatar

          ” Screw THAT! I only buy for me!!”

          Which is why I wouldn’t buy the Mustang. I’d much rather have something that was hand built in small numbers by craftsmen, rather than something cookie cutter cranked out by the hundreds of thousands.

          I’d value the uniqueness of the Aston, rather than wandering through the parking lot wondering which grey blobmobile was mine. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a parking lot that had 2 identical Astons in it. Or 2 Astons in it for that matter.

          But that’s just me, I like unique cars. My Daimler was the single LHD car built in that year, the rest of the production run of 121 cars was RHD.

          • 0 avatar

            As long as you’re getting what YOU like, great! Except you give off a vibe, you’re more concerned on how you LOOK in it, through everyone else’s eyes. Like: “HEY LOOK AT ME I’M *DIFFERENT* EVERYONE!!!”

            That’s fine too. But if YOUR Mustang GT would be in that crazy-popular colour “grey blobmobile”, that’s entirely on YOU!

  • avatar

    If you enjoy gazing at your car as much as I do, and do not require absolute reliability, then get the Aston. I always get the most gorgeous car I can afford. When it is five or ten years older, the Aston will still be a beautiful car. The Mustang, while certainly attractive, will just be a used car. Even my wife looked at our nine year old A5 S line Sunday night and said, “Wow, what a gorgeous car.” I too only drive it about 3500 miles a year, so supposed Audi maintenance issues have not been any problem at all.

    Though, as someone else said, a Jaguar might be a better choice than an Aston for serviceability.

    • 0 avatar

      In 2000 to ’05, I drove around and “old” used car, a 1990 (box-Fox) Mustang GT conv, 25th Anniversary, triple white. It blended into traffic nicely, and white was a very popular color for that generation.

      Except it was “bone stock” in appearance, and “near mint” condition. Most were beat to death by then, and or modified/customized to high-hell.

      It got a lot of attention, but only at “2nd glance”. It was great fun too, since I added rear disk-brakes, 3.73 gears, boxed control-arms, plus basic bolt-ons, under the hood.

      Over all, cheap thrills! Parts were/are available everywhere, and no worries about breakdowns. Rock-hard reliable. Manual trans. I drove it all over the western states, old Mexico too.

      I definitely wouldn’t do that, ANY of that, in an older BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, etc. I’ll take ordinary, *everyday*, any day!

  • avatar

    I dunno – which do you value more:

    -exclusivity or functionality?

    The AM may not be a Ferrari, but no V12 exclusive luxury machine will be cheap to run.

    If I really wanted something emotional, I’d get something proper classic like vintage Alfa, or get something that is really easy to live with, like a Mustang.

    Just my 2 cents

  • avatar
    Hoon Goon

    Sounds like Bill is wanting a special car, which a Mustang is not. A DB9 would be a special car and a treat just to drive every so often.

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