The New Aston Martin DB9 | Part Four

Instrument pack - mixed with high-tech organic electroluminescent display

The instrument pack is particularly attractive and innovative and all dials are made from aluminium. Microperforations allow the warning lights to illuminate through the aluminium. The rev counter runs anti-clockwise to maximise the visible area for the central electronic display, in the main instrument cluster. It's also a nice reminder of earlier Aston Martin models such as the Atom and the DB2.

There is no conventional red line on the tachometer. A red warning symbol will be displayed when maximum revs are reached but - thanks to the high-tech electronics - the 'red line' varies, depending on the engine's mileage, how recently the engine has been started, and ambient temperature.

The electronic message displays in the main instrument cluster, and in the centre console, are organic electroluminescent displays (OEL). This is another car industry first.

There are many benefits to OELs compared with conventional LCDs, including higher resolution and greater contrast, and improved clarity, particularly when viewed from an angle.

The ICE system is state of the art. It's been developed by Scottish-based Hi Fi experts Linn, and includes its own amplifier and speakers that are specially designed for the DB9. It also benefits from the DB9's high-quality fibre optic electronics, which pass signals with total clarity. The top-of-the-range 950W Linn Hi Fi system uses 10 speakers and a 200W sub-woofer controlled by an in-built accelerometer that even compensates for changes of pressure in the car's interior.

"The goal was to make the finest ICE system of any car in the world," says Sean Morris, "and I think we have succeeded."

Aston Martin wanted to make the DB9 one of the safest sports cars in the world. For this, as with the electrical architecture, Aston Martin's engineers turned to Volvo for assistance.

"Volvo is renowned as the automotive safety leader," says Chief Programme Engineer David King. "It was the perfect partner to assist in delivering the DB9's outstanding safety performance.

"This car was developed in-house, by Aston Martin's small but highly skilled engineering team," says King. "Yet there were some areas where it made sense to draw on the expertise of other members of the Premier Automotive Group.

"Safety is one example. We are very fortunate to have Volvo as a partner. This partnership has given us access to the latest safety technologies, best-practice design guidelines and advanced computer aided engineering."

continues... | Part Five
Published 9 January 2004 Melanie Carter
 

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