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2013 Aston Martin DB9 arrives to confuse you further

September 19, 2012

What you see here is the new 2013 Aston Martin DB9, a V-12 powered coupe and convertible with 510 hp than can hit 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. No, it's not the Aston Martin Virage -- that one only had 490 hp, although it could hit 60 in 4.6 seconds too. And it's not the V-12 version of the Vanquish, which is slightly ligher and can hit 60 mph in 4.1 seconds using the same engine. If you think Aston Martins have started to look a little simliar, you're not alone.

Despite its role as seller of high-end sports cars to the world's elite, Aston Martin occupies a precarious slot in the auto industry's food chain -- it's a small, currently independent company that doesn't have the resources of a global conglomerate to draw from. That forces a certain amount of remixing, but as of late Aston Martin's desire to fill out its showrooms has left it with a fleet of cars with different names on similar bodywork.

We're all about getting things de-confused, so here's a handy guide the next time you wonder "What Aston Martin model am I thinking of?"

This is the Vantage S V-8. Remember -- no 12-cylinder engine here.

This is the Rapide. It's the easiest to notice -- it's the only four-door model Aston Martin sells.

Here's where things get tricky. Vents in the hood mean you're thinking of the V-12 Vantage.

This is the Aston Martin Vanquish, the new top-end model, with the same engine as the new DBS, but 40 more hp.

And this is the old Virage, which Aston Martin stopped building with the new DBS, which looks nearly identical.

The most distinctive Aston Martin also happens to be the smallest: the Toyota-based Cygnet. Sticking with what works may not be the worst idea.