The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

5 September 2006

High maintenance

I'd like to think that there's a parallel universe where you don't have to parallel park, where all the beautiful women have beautiful cars, and nobody has to go through this:

[W]hen my DB9 Volante arrived in December I was dying to show it off.

Except I couldn't. The passenger door wouldn't open properly because the window did not drop to clear the frame. So off it went to the garage for a new door module.

Oh, well, it's under warranty, right?

But this was only the beginning. The second fault to emerge was with the sat nav system. It was unusable. Aside from the retro 2-D graphics that look less advanced than you'd see now as standard on much cheaper cars, it was permanently 30 miles off target. It had me driving through fields, across rivers and even into dodgy urban areas where this car just isn't meant to be.

Then the hood started squeaking noisily from both rear sides. The garage fixed that but left me with a rattle at the front. I've been waiting since May for the bit of trim to remedy that.

And for this much money, you're entitled to a few creature comforts:

[T]he Aston is very chilly to drive in winter and the windows don't rise up automatically after you put the hood down. You have to do this manually, a nuisance and surely a careless oversight. When I asked my dealer why these things weren't even available as optional extras I was told "because it's a sports car not a luxury vehicle". But who said these things had to be mutually exclusive, especially when you're paying £125,000 or more? In eight months my DB9 has been to the garage four times and awaits another visit (to fix the sat nav, rattling hood, Bluetooth and handbrake warning bell).

(Note to self: Do not kvetch at Gwendolyn for tossing up an engine light, especially since you obviously don't know how to tighten a farging gas cap.)

When I was younger I coveted the Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3, an early-Seventies Teutonic hot rod of the American school: they took the mid-sized (by our standards) S-class body, to which an inline six was usually fitted, and dropped in the monstrous V8 from the 600 limo. It did not occur to me then that the very fitments that gave it such electrifying performance — non-electronic fuel injection, a complicated air suspension — would give mechanics fits. (Not that Herr Jakob would complain; two of these in town could put his daughter through Bennington.)

Nowadays, of course, a bone-stock V6 Honda Accord could outrun the 6.3, and make a perfunctory appearance at the dealership just long enough to get the oil changed.

Posted at 7:17 AM to Driver's Seat