The tires on your DB9 will need replaced eventually. You either put enough miles on them that they wear out, or if they get old enough the rubber breaks down and it becomes a safety issue. I’ve written a bunch about tire before, including how to inspect them for wear or age (check out the article here).
When the time comes to replace them, the question usually arises “with what”. A few pieces of good news here. We have options and they aren’t insanely expensive.
I’ve changed the tires twice on my 2005 DB9 so far. When I purchased the car in 2013 it still had the original factory shipped Bridgestone with a 2004 date code, they were 9 years old and cracking. I replaced them with a new set of the same Bridgestone tires. Fast forward 15,000 miles and 4 years and I’d worn those out, and figured I’d try a set of the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S.
When I looked into the options, here is what I learned….
Note: You should do your own research to confirm the correct tires for your car. I haven’t looked at the details on late model DB9’s. They may be the same, just double check.
Size and Specification
Let’s nail down a few details first. What size and rating of tires are standard?
While you can find this in several places, one easy to access place is your Owners Manual page 13.6.
You can also find it (at least on US Model cars) on a sticker in the drivers door opening. [The sticker includes the hilarity that the car is a 4 seater and the rear can actually hold 2 passengers!]
The OEM tire are specified by Aston Martin as:
- Front 235/40 ZR19 with 92Y load and speed rating
- Rear 275/35 ZR19 with 96Y load and speed rating
Everything in those sizes is important:
- The front and rear tires are different sizes
- The 235 and 275 refer to the width of the tires in mm (generally speaking).
- The width of the tire is carefully designed to go with the width of the rim, and to clear the fenders and other wheel well obstacles. Stuffing larger than original tires onto the car can lead to problems if you aren’t careful.
- The 40 or 35 is the aspect ratio and generally refers to the height of the sidewall. Lower profile tires have lower numbers.
- You don’t want to put on lower sidewall tires without considering that you might be altering the overall external diameter of the tire. Doing so can alter the accuracy of your speedometer, ride quality and other matters.
- ZR means a radial tire of Z speed rating. But, it only means the tire is rated for speeds above 149 mph, but not specifically what maximum speed. It’s an old standard. When cars started to go even faster than 150 mph they defined even more ratings, like Y described below that apply to the DB9.
- 19 is the diameter of the rim in inches.
- Someone trying to customize their car might increase their rim size to 20″ (cruz’in on 20’s), and then opt for a lower profile tires (25 series perhaps) to reduce the sidewall height and keep the overall diameter of the tire the same.
- Y is the speed rating, the sustained speed the manufacturer of the tire says the tire will endure. The Y speed rating means 186+ mph (300 kph), which is good since our cars top out at 185 mph supposedly.
- You want a tire with at least a Y speed rating
- 92 and 96 are the load rating, the ‘weight’ the tire can carry at certain pressures and speeds. Our cars weigh almost 4000 pounds total with near perfect 50/50 weight distribution front/rear, so that means each tires is carrying about 1,000 pounds. The Owners manual spells out a minimum load rating of 1,389 lbs (630 kg) Front and 1,565 lbs (710 kg) Rear. A ’92’ rating is 1,389 pounds.
- You need to have a 92 rating or higher on your front tires
- You need to have a 96 rating or higher on your rear tires
And in case you’re wondering what the actual rim sizes are:
- Fronts – 8.5Jx19 (8.5″ wide by 19″ in diameter)
- Rears – 9.5jx19 (9.5″ wide by 19″ in diameter)
Whew. That’s a lot of boring but important background.
Options for your DB9
Now that we know exactly what we are shopping for, what are our actual options?
One thing I am sure of is that all tires are NOT the same. You can put the wrong tires onto a car and total mess with the ‘feel’ of the car. By simply buying the cheapest possible tire you can make your next 4+ years with the car less pleasurable. Presumably you don’t want to make that mistake with your DB9, that’s why you’re reading this boring blog.
I live in the United States so my options may be different that what you can track down in your country.
Bridgestone Potenza RE050A (the OEM tire)
The Bridgestone Potenza RE050A was the original tire fitted to the car when it left the factory in Gaydon. This is the ‘safe bet’. You know the Aston Martin engineers worked closely with Bridgestone to marry the suspension characteristics with the tires characteristics to provide just the right balance between handling, noise and comfort. If you’ve never driven on these in your car (perhaps you purchased it used and it was fitted with alternatives), I suggest you spend a few years on a set to know what the car was always meant to be like before you choose a tire from some other maker. You will not be disappointed, the Bridgestone is a very good tire.
Once nice touch about buying this tire, it even has an Aston Martin stamp of approval on the sidewall. The AM9 seen in this photo on my car shows this.
You can source these tires from any Bridgestone dealer, you don’t need to go to Aston Martin. I checked into pricing at a popular US website TireRack.com (whom I’ve bought tires from for many years). Here is what they cost:
- Fronts – Bridgestone Potenza RE050A – P235/40 ZR19 – $258 USD each
- Rears – Bridgestone Potenza RE050A – P275/35 ZR19 – $318 USD each
All total you are looking at $1,152 plus tax and shipping. Plus you’ll need to get them mounted and balanced by an installer.
They list a bunch more nerdy information for the tire, including how many revolutions it will make per mile (so you could calibrate your speedometer).
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
I checked out what a lot of others were doing on the PistonHead, 6Speedonline and AMOC forums. Many other owners had great things to say about the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S. [Keep in mind this is NOT the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 – their ultra sticky performance tire]. This tire is more performance oriented than the OEM Bridgestone.
I put a set of these on three months ago, and have some initial perceptions comparing them to the OEM Bridgestones.
- They are grippy’er. I’ve been to one AMOC Track Day on them already, and found them to hold better in the corners, squeal less, and were very communicative and progressive as I reached the limit of grip. I like this about them.
- They are stiffer. I feel like the car is a little less supple than it used to be, and it could be the sidewall of these tires is stiffer. Not a huge change, but definitely stiffer than softer.
- They are very slightly louder. When cruising at highway speeds I think I can hear them a bit more. I could be wrong. It’s nothing to worry about.
I checked into pricing at TireRack.com and here is what they cost:
- Fronts – Michelin Pilot Sport 4S – P235/40 ZR19 – $270 USD each
- Rears – Michelin Pilot Sport 4S – P275/35 ZR19 – $314 USD each
All total you are looking at $1,168 plus tax and shipping (plus getting them mounted and balanced). Near as makes no difference the same cost as the Bridgestone’s.
The Michelins are Y speed rated (same as the Bridgestone’s) but have a higher load rating (96 front and 100 rear). All good stuff.
These tires are also about three (3) pounds lighter each. That’s a significant amount if you are performance oriented. Lowering the ‘in-sprung’ weight of the car is a big deal, and dropping 10% off the tires weight is great! This leads to better acceleration, braking and handling. All good!
Here is the same nerdy information. Note the number of revolutions per mile is slightly lower (783 vs. 785) so in theory the speedo will be off a tiny bit, under reporting your speed by 0.3% (not that will even be 1 mph at top speed).
Other options I haven’t tried (but might)
I decided I will only write up in detail tires that I’ve tried personally. But, there are more options out there that might be great. I’ve listed a few here that you might want to explore on your own (only ones that offer the exact right sizes and specs to meet or exceed the OEM tires). Better yet, if you’ve run these exact tires and have some comments to share, please leave them below and I might include them for others to benefit from.
- Bridgestone Pole Position S-04 (similar to the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S) – $1,000 USD per set (good value)
- Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 (Michelin’s Track Day Tire) – $1,214 USD per set
- Continental Extreme Contact Sport – $940 USD per set (good value – and check out Nick’s feedback in the Comment section below)
The DB9 Sport Pack Tire Option
I recently learned that the rim sizes on the DB9 models equipped with the optional ‘Sport Pack’ (the limited production, sportier focused version of the DB9) are the exact same size as the standard DB9. But, the DB9 Sport Pack tires are slightly wider. What does this mean? You can run the Sport Pack tires on your standard DB9 without any modifications (no worries about rubbing the fenders or suspension)! You’ll get a little more grip and an even more aggressive look. Here’s more of the details:
The OEM tire for the 2006 DB9 Coupe with the Sport Pack is:
- Front 245/40 ZR19 with 92Y speed and load rating
- Rear 285/35 ZR19 with 96Y speed and load rating
Essentially they are 10mm wider both front and rear than the standard DB9.
A quick check of a few options on TireRack.com yields:
- Michelin Pilot Sport 4S – $1,184 USD per set (just $16 more total than the standard sizes)
- Bridgestone Pole Position S-04 – $1,004 USD per set (just $4 more than the standard sizes)
If you’ve never driven on the original Bridgestone tire, I’d suggest you do this at least once. You get the quietest and probably the smoothest ride.
If you are looking for a sportier options, I’d suggest going for the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S in the Sport Pack sizes.
With your choice made, check out my next article detailing the process of changing my tires out to the Michelin’s.
[Updated January 2020]
Mike from Bamford Rose shares his opinion on the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S vs. the OEM Bridgestone.
I also found this neat video on YouTube where someone got the same size Michelin’s for all three compounds and did a really decent comparison, rating them relatively for different scenarios (Street, Track, Wet). Really worth the 13 minutes to watch and help decide which compound suits what you are after. Me, I am sticking with the well rounded Pilot Sport 4S. Check it out here….
What tires are you using on your Aston Martin? Take a second and add your vote to the poll below. Its always neat to hear what others are using, often it gives us the courage to change from stock when we see it working well for others. If you are using something other than the tires I noted here, please leave a comment down below with your experience.
I discuss the same materials in this video if you’d prefer to watch rather than read (or have me lull you to sleep).
And when you are about to take your DB9 in for its new tires, what better way to give the old ones a send off with a being a little bit of a Hooligan ….
24 thoughts on “Tire Options for an Aston Martin DB9”
Good timing, I just bought (last week) the Contis you mentioned, Sport Pack sizes, for under $800 + M/B and couldn’t be happier. If someone is looking to save a few bucks while not sacrificing much performance over the PS4s, I say go for it. I couldn’t be happier.
Great to hear! Where did you track them down at such a good price? Just negotiated with a local dealer?
The ContiExtremeSport Contacts are fantastic value for money. Grippier than PS4S in the dry, comfy, quiet, and best of all, cheaper. Not a track oriented tyre, but a drag oriented tyre. 🙂
Rich is the other guy at Redpants ;>)
Ha, yup, I was just on redpants prior… Anyway, eBay was running $100 off any purchase over $400 from Discount Tire Direct… made 2 separate purchases and viola, 4 tires delivered under $800, free shipping, no tax.
Thanks again, your videos and posts are fantastic!
Brilliant way to save a couple of hundred!
Quick question. How are your PS4S’s going? I am due to change the original S001’s for my Rapide and interested on your thoughts 12months down the track. I don’t track the vehicle and hence looking for the best road tyre. Either S007 or PS4S.
Love your detailed website.
Hi Martin. I am loving them. I’d say go for it.
Hi Steve, I bought my 2006 DB9 3.5 years ago and I want to thank you for all of your informative videos. I just switched my old OEM Potenzas (they only had 13000 miles on them but were showing the effects of age) to the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S too this week. So far I really like them. I had Michelin Super Sports on my previous 911 and never had an issue. I will keep everyone posted after a full summer here in Toronto, Canada.
Hi Gary. Hello up in Canada. I think the Michelins will do you well on the Aston as well. Please let me know how things develop.
I am in Ottawa area and shopping for tires for my DB9.
What is your opinion of the 4S now and where did you acquire them.
I bought my 2005 DB9 (Number 2038) 4 years ago, with a nearly new set of Bridgestone Potenzas fitted. I don’t do a lot of mileage, I’ve done about 6k miles in 4 years, but decided to fit some new tyres when I realised how old and very nearly perished the Bridgestones had become!
I chose the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S and have been very, very pleased with them. The main reason for my choice was that I have them fitted to a BMW 440i and am very confident with that car’s performance. I can report that they have transformed the handling of the car which now runs more smoothly, is quieter and corners more assuredly. All of this may be down to the fact that the old Potenzas had embrittled and did not truly reflect their capability, but it seems from others that the Michelin is a superior make and I shall continue to use them.
Very impressed with your website and have discovered much very useful information and many tips; thank you.
Hi Robert. Thanks for sharing your experience. I think it mirrors mine, and many other owners. Even through the Bridgestone is the default choice, its an old tire design. The Michelin is a much better tire in all categories, and since the price is the same or less, and even better deal. Glad to hear from car number 2038 – stay in touch!
I have a V12 Vantage S.
Tyres on that are a little larger at 295 and 255 respectively. I have Pirelli Corsa’s on it, and so far I have found them great tyres. Only proviso is to make sure they are warm before starting to push them, but they feel great with little road noise.
I just ordered a set of MPS4S tires from my local Aston Martin dealer, in Waltham MA. $1,600 mounted and balanced, reasonable I thought.
I bought a 2007 DB9 last year. It was fitted with Pirelli P Zeros. I still have them on the car and the tread depth is such they should last another year or two at 5000 miles p.a. I don’t have anything to compare them to, yet, but my impression is they are competent but noisy. Handling is fine. Last winter was so mild, I don’t have cold weather experience.
When I replace them, I will certainly add the extra 10mm width, per the sport pack. Are sport pack wheels available to buy? I presume they are lighter with only five spokes, thus easier to clean. No doubt, they are made of unobtainium.
I have just come across your website, after a recommendation on yesterday’s AMOC webinar on the DB9.
Hi Steve! This may get me laughed off the website, but… I’ve just ordered Vredestein Quatrac Pros to replace the Bridgstone Potenzas that the previous owner installed ten years ago. The fact that the Vredestein Quatracs are half the price of the Michelin Pilot Sports has me a little hesitant about this decision, but I’m rolling the dice. While the traction ratings aren’t as good, the all-weather capability, comfort/noise rating, and excellent tread-life have me optimistic. I’ll let you know how they work out for me after putting some miles on them.
Tire choice depends on what’s most important where you live. That’s the first I’ve heard of Vredesteins that fit an Aston, but you’ll soon know. Grip, noise, ride comfort, and cost are all considerations. The Michelins were quieter and grippier than the OEM Bridgestone’s for the same cost, so an easy choice. They can always be changed at least. Let me know how it goes.
Sorry for the delayed reply–I was waiting to respond after getting to know the tires a bit. After a 1600 mile road-trip, I’m now feeling more intimate with these Vredesteins.
First, the pros: The tires are providing a markedly smoother ride than the Potenzas they’ve replaced. I can also say with confidence that the road noise is significantly reduced. I have the Volante model, and notice much less rumble with the top up or down. And after several hours of driving at highway speeds through torrential down-pours, these tires proved themselves worthy in wet conditions.
Possible cons: There is a bit of ‘sponginess’ to these tires that I suspect most Aston Martin drivers won’t appreciate. It’s turned the aggressive fighter jet-like handling into more of a comfy business jet feel. In a subtly, but noticeably way, the handling now seems more like that of a Bentley than what an Aston should probably produce.
I am not unhappy with my decision to try them out, as I think the ride performance and expected tread-life have made these a good value. But, having said that, I will most likely give the Michelin Pilots a go next time around.
Thanks for sharing your experience with the Vredstein’s. I’ll be looking forward to your head to head comparison with the Michelin’s when the time comes for a new set of shoes.
Hi Steve and other readers,
Great article, thanks all for sharing your knowledge and experiences.
For my DB9 2008 model, I was unable to get either the Bridgestone/Michelins due to lack of stock (3-4 month wait at best – thanks Covid!).
I’m daily driving the car so out of other options put on a set of Kumho ECSTA PS91 in Sport Pack sizes. Less than half the price compared to a set of PS4S and very similar copy-paste look which didn’t fill me with confidence initially. General handling and high speed runs are fine, I can’t speak to track handling. After 2 months and 3,000 miles, I can say they are more noisy, but not disturbingly so, and the tread life so far is ok but I can see they probably would not last more than 10,000 miles.
However, for the price, and assuming you are doing mostly highway cruises like me then they are an acceptable budget friendly option in my opinion. I would be happy to have them again as go-to second option.
I will admit though, they were not well received by my local Aston service center… citing an disapproval to quality control of Korean tires in general. They interestingly mentioned a lot on customers riding on Yokohama tires which had positive feedback. I would like to try them in future.
I’ve also had Toyo’s Proxes Sport tires (standard sizes) and I would say much of the same as the Kumho’s above, and Pirrelli P-Zero’s which I would echo Phillip’s above comment, they were noisy, didn’t last long, and expensive. Heard the same from other Aston owners and others such as Ferraris and BMW M cars too, all are switching to Michelin now.
I think ultimately I would still take a set of PS4S any day, and much of this comes down to getting what you pay for and your needs/usage of the tires.
Hi Joshua. Thanks for taking a shot at something alternative and sharing the feedback. Tires are a tough one to eval since you put them on and have to live with them for a number of years. I’m about to fit my second set of Michelins since I am quite happy with them to date.
I am happy to confirm that Nick is correct! the ContiExtremeSport is a great tire choice for your Aston, smooth great grip and much quieter than the previous stock Bridgestones.
I must however share that I am definitely more on the Captain Slow side of motoring so no track day performance to share.