Here at Torque developments we speak to many Aston Martin DB9 owners and whilst most are very happy with the way their car looks and sounds, allied to its strong straight line performance, many are dissatisfied with the way that the car actually feels to drive. Common complaints about the standard DB9’s handling abilities range from the front of the car feeling “fidgety,” to the rear of the Aston Martin feeling unpredictable with a limited amount of grip when exiting corners.
Over recent years the Torque developments chassis dynamics team have tackled and comprehensively defeated the handling gremlins of large variety of Aston Martin cars including the Vanquish S, the Vantage V8 and Vantage V8 Volante, and now we can add the DB9 to that list. From the very first test drive our technicians were able to diagnose multiple layers of issues that corresponded to the owner’s list of complaints and from there we were then able to drill down into the DB9’s chassis detail to isolate the various causes of the problems.
After a period of extensive testing, including workshop and live driving measurements, Torque Developments now has a detailed understanding of the DB9 chassis and has arrived at a set-up for the chassis geometry that we can offer to other Aston Martin DB9 owners who are in search of a nicer, more user-friendly chassis performance. For more information please call Torque Developments Plc on 0800 107 3250.
Having successfully validated a revised ‘Fast Road’ suspension geometry package for the Vanquish S, Torque Developments was commissioned by an enthusiastic Aston Martin Vantage V8 owner to assess whether similar improvements could be made to the 380bhp, 175mph baby supercar.
Happily, TDi’s Technical team, lead by Sam Borgman, was able to undertake a detailed analysis of the suspension settings using its state of the art John Bean 38-angle optical chassis dynamics rig.
This revealed dynamic shortcomings, much like those discovered on the Vanquish S, so a similar prescription of ‘Fast Road’ suspension geometry settings was administered. What was the result on the Aston Martin Vantage V8? Well, we will let the owner speak on our behalf:-
“The geometry revisions are simply sensational!! To say I’m pleased with the work is a massive understatement…My feedback:
- Steering wheel now centred
- Much sharper turn in
- Far more accuracy on cornering, especially the initial turn in, which is now far easier to judge
- Greater feel through the steering wheel
- Car feels like a single unit now – was rather “disjointed” before
- The ride seems more compliant, with less shimmying over bumps
- Massively improved stability during hard braking
Sam was pleased to take me through this fix in detail (and the geo’ changes) which was an added bonus.”
Not only does the Torque Developments ‘Fast Road’ improve the dynamic qualities of the Aston Martin Vantage V8, the reduction in scrub will promote longer tyre life, making it a ‘win-win’ for owners.
The Aston Martin Vantage V8 ‘Stage 1″ geometry set up is available now from TDi-plc, by appointment only at http://www.tdi-plc.com/catalog/suspension-technology-c-1_2_22_23_29.html
Stop Press: Our “Stage 2″ upgrade which incorporate revised spring rates to further enhance the dynamic performance is now available at http://www.tdi-plc.com/catalog/fast-road-geometry-calibration-coupe-stage-p-19290.html for the Coupe, and at http://www.tdi-plc.com/catalog/fast-road-geometry-calibration-volante-stage-p-19291.html for the
Sharpening the Aston Martin Vanquish S It’s probably a fair question to ask – ‘why does a 520bhp supercar like the 6.0-litre V12 Aston Martin need sharpening?’ Well, surprising as it seems, many Vanquish S drivers report a lack of consistency in the chassis feedback during spirited driving, with a feeling that the car will lurch into oversteer, particularly over challenging terrain. “It’s an odd combination of float, nervousness and poor disturbance rejection on bad roads,” says TDi’s Sam Borgman, “plus a tendency for the braking based stability program to activate very early on.”
Forensic analysis of the chassis settings by TDi’s technicians using its state of the art John Bean 38-angle optical chassis dynamics rig revealed severely compromised geometry, with large amounts of preload. “This has two negative effects, firstly it causes significant tyre scrub, which overworks the rubber and is a big problem for tyre longevity. Secondly, it encourages the tyre to reach its grip limit quickly, which forces the traction and stability programs to intervene at a very early stage to stabilise the car.”
Having reviewed the situation, TDi were able to fine tune the Vanquish’s suspension geometry to ‘Fast Road’ specification, making the car feel more relaxed and predictable nearer to its grip limits, with a consistent, linear response to steering and throttle inputs. This has increased driver confidence, enabling Aston Martin Vanquish S owners exploit the performance of their cars with a greater degree of safety. “I’m extremely satisfied with the end result, as it’s a night and day improvement,” says TDi’s Sam Borgman. “We’ve engineered a nice blend of driving characteristics, so the Aston Martin feels keen but very predictable, so you can now ‘hustle’ the Vanquish S in confidence without troubling the traction control systems. Plus, your tyres will last longer, so it’s a win-win situation.”
The Aston Martin Vanquish S ‘Stage 1 Fast Road’ geometry set up is available now from TDi-plc, by appointment only at http://www.tdi-plc.com/catalog/fast-road-geometry-calibration-stage-p-18854.html
Stop Press: Our Stage 2 upgrade which incorporated revised springs for a further improvement in dynamic performance is now also available http://www.tdi-plc.com/catalog/fast-road-geometry-calibration-stage-p-19295.html