Aston Martin DB9 Sport Pack Option – Is it Worth it?

Aston Martin began offering a ‘Sport Pack’ option on the early DB9s to spice the model lineup after its initial year or two (read the announcement here).  The option included:

  • Special Wheels with slightly larger tires
  • Lightweight Titanium Lug Nuts
  • Thicker Front Anti-Roll Bar
  • Stiffer Front and Rear Springs
  • 6mm Lower Ride Height

The option when introduced was factory installed.  What was nice about this was the Sport Pack option could be retrofit to any DB9 manufactured to date by your local dealer.   The factory fitted option went for about $4,700 USD (£2,495) back in late 2006.

Sport Pack Wheel

I’ve been trying to track down the cost if it was fitted by your local dealer.  It was sold as the DB9 Sport-Pack Kit that included all the goodies.  You can still order it apparently.  The kit varies based on model year and LHD vs. RHD.  For example, my 2005 LHD Automatic Coupe would be kit Aston Martin part number 4G43-24-10811 available online today for about $8,446 USD.  This kit even includes a new steering rack.  Later model kits (MY07-09) do not need a steering rack and can be had for a few thousand dollars less.  I presume the steering racks unadvertised inclusion on the early models addresses some ‘feel’ issues.  These prices don’t include dealer install costs, so I expect a retrofit on an early model to touch $15,000 USD all in.  Ouch.

I was intrigued by the idea of tracking down some of the bits for my DB9, and recently I had an opportunity to purchase a like new set of the Sport Pack rims and Titanium lug nuts from one of the readers of this blog (thanks Austin Fritts!).

While I had two full sets of wheels (old and new), I wanted to weigh the difference between the Original and Sport Pack lug nuts and rims.   The assumption would be that the ‘Sport’ versions should be lighter right, but by how much?  Read on to get the answer.

Reducing unsprung weight is the holy grail of places to save weight (helping handling and acceleration), and you’d think since they included exotic Titanium wheel nuts the rims would be lighter too.   While the rims are a different style and they fitted slightly wider tires to them, the rims themselves are the exact same width and diameter as the originals [8.5 x 19 up front, and 9.5 x 19 in the rear].

For both the original and Sport Pack wheels I set about weighing the individual components:

  • A set of the four Tire Pressure Sensors
  • A set of the four Center Caps
  • A set of the 20 lug nuts
  • A set of the two front rims
  • A set of the two rear rims

I weighed the group of similar items all together and then divided by the number of items to try and minimize measurement errors from the scales.

I used our digital bathroom scale (you won’t tell my Sweetie will you) with a five gallon pale on top of it to weigh the large and heavy rims.  It has a display that reads in 0.1 pound increments, so I am going to assume its accuracy is about 0.1 pounds.

For the smaller items I used our digital kitchen scale (again – I need your silence on the issue).  It reads to 0.1 ounce increments, and that’s what I’ll assume the accuracy is.

Tire Pressure Sensors

I just moved the TPMS sensors between the rim sets since they are expensive and trained to the TPMS control module in the car.  While I had access to them I figured I’d weigh them.  The set of four weighed 5.1 ounces (0.319 pounds or 0.145 kilograms).  That means each one weighed just 1.25 oz (0.080 lbs or 0.036 kgs).

Center Caps

Each set of rims had a set of plastic center caps.   The original rims center caps were plastic with a painted finish to match the rims.  The Sport Pack center caps were also plastic with a faux machined aluminum finish (that looks great).   Since they are all plastic I didn’t expect much of a difference here.

  • Original set of four – 3.4 oz (0.2125 lbs or 0.0964 kgs)
    • 0.85 oz each (0.0531 lbs or 0.0241 kgs)
  • Sport Pack set of four – 3.1 oz (0.1938 lbs or 0.0879 kgs)
    • 0.775 oz each (0.0484 lbs or 0.0220 kgs)

So, as we can see in the data, not much difference at all (as expected).  The set of four Sport Pack center caps are just 8.5 grams lighter.

Lug Nuts

This one is a giant WOW.  The Sport Pack lug nuts are Titanium with a polished steel cover on them.  The original nuts are the standard steel affair with a similar polished steel cover.

I’ve never had a chance to really experience the difference between Titanium and a matching Steel part.  Wow.  They are MASSIVELY lighter feeling.   Feels like holding a plastic version of the steel part.

  • Original set of twenty – 56.8 oz (3.55 lbs or 1.610 kgs)
    • 2.84 oz each (0.178 lbs or 0.0805 kgs)
  • Sport Pack set of twentyjust 26.0 oz (1.625 lbs or 0.737 kgs)
    • 1.3 oz each (0.0813 lbs or 0.0369 kgs)

As you can see in the numbers the Titanium parts weigh just 45% of what the steel parts weigh.  Crazy.  Running a set of Sport Pack lug nuts saves 1.925 lbs (0.873 kgs) total of unsprung weight.

Front Rims

Both the original 10 spoke Speedline rims the Sport Pack rims are made from aluminum, and are bespoke Aston Martin parts.  They are the same overall dimensions, but my presumption was that the Sport Pack wheel design would have some weight savings.

  • Original set of two – 51.4 lbs (23.31 kgs)
    • 25.7 lbs each (11.66 kgs)
  • Sport Pack set of two – 43.1 lbs (19.55 kgs)
    • 21.55 lbs each (9.77 kgs)

Each front Sport Pack rim is 4.15 lbs (1.88 kgs) lighter combining for an 8.3 lbs (3.76 kgs) total weight savings.  Nice!

Rear Rims

Same story as the fronts, they are just wider overall.

  • Original set of two – 54.3 lbs (24.63 kgs)
    • 27.15 lbs each (12.32 kgs)
  • Sport Pack set of two – 47.3 lbs (21.45 kgs)
    • 23.65 lbs each (10.73 kgs)

Each rear Sport Pack rim is 3.5 lbs (1.59 kgs) lighter combining for a 7 lbs (3.18 kgs) total weight savings.

Complete Wheel Assembly

Since I had the scale out, I decided I would weigh the front and rear tire assemblies of the complete Sport Pack wheels with the standard sized but slightly used Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, TPMS sensors and filled to the prescribed 36 psi front and 38 psi rear pressures.   The center caps and wheel nuts were NOT included in this total.

  • Front set of two – 89.8 lbs (40.73 kgs)
    • 44.9 lbs each (20.37 kgs)
  • Rear set of two – 101.1 lbs (45.86 kgs)
    • 50.55 lbs each (22.93 kgs)

If you add in the minor weight of the center caps (0.775 oz each) and the five titanium lug nuts per wheel (0.406 lbs) the front Sport Pack wheel assemblies weigh 45.36 lbs each (20.57 kgs), and the rears are 51.0 lbs (23.14 kgs).

Since I also know the weight difference of the rims, doing the math can tell us that the original front wheel assemblies (with the heavier center caps and lug nuts) with the same tires and pressures would weigh 49.99 lbs each (22.68 kgs), and the rears are 54.99 lbs (24.94 kgs).

Overall the Fronts are 9.3% lighter, and the Rears are 7.2% lighter.  Total weight savings for all four wheels combined was 17.2 lbs (7.82 kgs)

Wider Tires

The keen reader would also note that I moved the standard sized tires onto the Sport Pack rims.  I plan to use these tires up and change over to the slightly larger sport pack sizes the next time I need new rubber.   I would point out that larger tires weigh more and contain more air, both adding more weight counter acting the savings from the lighter materials.   A quick look  online at the weight of the standard sized Michelin Pilot Sport 4S vs. the Sport Pack sizes:

Fronts:

  • Standard Size 235/40 ZR19 – 24.82 lbs
  • Sport Pack Size 245/40 ZR19 – 26.57 lbs

Rears:

  • Standard Size 275/35 ZR19 – 27.6 lbs
  • Sport Pack Size 285/35 ZR19 – 30.49 lbs

Each front tire would have been 1.75 lbs heavier, and each rear 2.89 lbs heavier leading to an additional weight gain of the rubber of 9.28 lbs overall negating over half of the weight savings of the rims and lug nuts.

But, if you consider the original OEM tires were Bridgestone Potenza RE050A’s, and in the standard sizes weigh more than the Michelin’s I list above (26.0 lbs front, 30.0 lbs rear), you can upsize to the Sport Pack size of the Michelin’s and still end up weighing about the same!

Conclusion

Changing over to Sport Pack rims and lug nuts ends up decreasing the weight on your DB9 by 17.2 lbs (7.82 kgs) overall.    In my other article on Power to Weight Ratio (read the full article here) I detail how reducing 8.8 lbs in weight would be equivalent to adding one bhp to the engine performance.   Since we removed 17.2 lbs in weight, we’ve done the equivalent of adding 2 bhp of performance and made our DB9 just a little bit quicker.

Working out the cost per horsepower added (as I did in the article) to see if this is a good performance option value (and if I am kind and use the mere $4,700 USD factor fitted option price), that $2,350 USD per bhp.   This ranks it as a very poor performance upgrade compared to the other options in the article.

While you can be certain that the Sport Pack option succeeds at dressing up an already fabulous looking car with new shoes, the fact is that it actually makes the car a little faster and lighter, hitting the Trifecta!

But even after all that boring number crunching, what really matters?  I got the wheels at a great price and love the look and being able to say at the local Cars & Coffee meets “Those are the Sport Pack wheels.  Those lug nuts are Titanium!  Ooooo-Awwww”.   Ego = Happy.

What do you think about all this?   Leave me a comment below.

15 thoughts on “Aston Martin DB9 Sport Pack Option – Is it Worth it?

  1. Louis Hsiao

    Steve, I always enjoy reading your blogs. I’m impressed how thorough you are. As a fellow ME and fellow 2005 DB9 owner in Norcal (Mountain View), I’m amazed how similar our vehicles have aged. My CA Sage DB9 has about 30K miles on it now and has only had a few “ouchies” in the maintenance category. My latest (yet to be fixed) issue is a sagging headliner due to failed adhesive. I recently had to get the power steering and differential fluids changed (long overdue) as I was hearing bad grinding noises when I turned the vehicle. I hate taking it to the Aston Dealership for service as they overcharge like no ones business. I don’t have the time, equipment nor courage you have to do the service on my own vehicle like you do. So I applaud your efforts and appreciate you sharing your experiences. Keep it up.

    Like

    1. Hi Louis! Thanks for the kudos. I used to work in Mountain View (on Whisman road). Our cars do sound similar. Hopefully you’ve seen my articles and video on the headliner repair. Or at least point the upholstery shop at them. Los Gatos Luxury Motor cars is our only option, and a long way away for me. I wasn’t impressed (with the company) during my only visit, but I did like the Aston Master Technician. You mentioned the power steering fluid change, what were your symptoms? Funny, I am gearing up to do an article and video on that in the next few months (I have the parts already). Share if you can.

      Like

      1. Louis Hsiao

        Steve, I agree about LGLM. Very expensive and I only take my vehicle there for engine work and brakes. I found a mechanic in Redwood City that works on AM (oil changes and basic stuff) for a fraction of the price.

        My last visit to LGLM was for grinding noises coming from my vehicle every time I turned the wheel at low speeds. They ended up replacing the power steering and rear differential fluids and it seems to have solved the problem. I should have taken it in months ago when I started hearing the noises. Looking forward to your next piece.

        Yes, your Headliner repair video definitely caught my attention. I will definitely refer to that when I get my headliner fixed.

        Like

  2. darren fitch

    Hi Steve,

    I have the exact same wheel set on my 2006.5 Volante.

    They were on the car when i bought it, but i think they must have been added by PO – as i do not think sport pack was originally available on the Volante. Therefore i dont think i have any of the suspension changes.

    Like you i think the wheels look awesome, but the diamond cut face is practically impossible to keep pristine since as soon as it gets chipped, it goes milky.

    I saw a couple of cars with the sport wheels at my local dealership (AM Cambridge) where they have just been full painted and its really hard to see the difference, so thinking of doing the same this year when i get them refurbed.

    Please keep up the excellent blog work.

    Like

    1. Hi Darren. Thanks for the kudos. I’m not sure either about the Sport Pack and Volante. It might have been available. You can call and ask your dealer to send you details about your VIN as it left the factory. They won’t charge you for this. Ask them if it had the sport pack option. Would be cool to know in case you need to change your shocks, etc.

      Like

  3. Warren Neuburger

    I have a 2007 DB9 with the factory installed sport pack. They look great, and the titanium lug nuts gives you an additional thing to brag about. The only issue is the diamond cut face on the sport pack wheel make any kind of wheel repair about impossible to get it to match.

    Like

  4. Cor Stakenborg

    Great looking wheels Steve and at a good price well worth it but to buy the entire sport pack, I’m thinking no.

    BTW I’m regrettably selling my 2009 (upgrade model year) DB9 Volante, if anyone in the group is interested. 28K miles and the major 25K service was completed. Pristine condition all round, runs strong with absolutely no issues. Midnight Blue metallic with blue top and caspian blue & sahara tan combo hides, it really is a head turner. No accidents ever. Full details and photos available on request. Car is located in central Florida.

    Like

      1. Haven’t even listed it yet Steve, just decided to sell this week, Getting a group of pictures together to do just that, any suggestions other than eEay and autotrader? It is in remarkable shape if someone is looking for a DB9 Volante at a very affordable price. Asking $68900, the car has some good options and a fully updated GPS. Don’t laugh I’m going to have a Landover Defender built for me in England, should I say a ground up restored. Anyone interested in my car please send me an email at zvakanaka1972@gmail.com. Cheers.

        Like

      2. I am about to list my 1961 MG Midget on BringATrailer.com Not sure if you’ve seen the site, but its got a very interesting group of cars that usually sell at an excellent price. They work with you to ensure an excellent ad presentation. I’ve just finished that for my MG. Did you want to do a straight swap for the MG? Its a convertible, old and British. Likely even more fun than your Landie.

        Like

  5. Phil Holloway

    Steve
    Great article, very informative and enjoyable read.
    I am lucky enough to have the sport pack option on my fabulous 2008 DB9 here in Dubai.
    The wheels and rims look great and are certainly a desireable upgrade boosting performance and drive ability.
    Your car looks great with the sports pack wheels.

    Like

  6. COLIN SIMPSON

    Not worth it in my view. I just love my 2009 spec DB9 as she is. Does have diamond cuts though.
    The shape of a DB9 is indeed timeless and I cannot ever see it being anything else.

    Keep up the good work Steve.

    Like

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