Aston Martin has given the DB9 a comprehensive refresh to keep its long-in-the-tooth GT competitive.

Don't adjust your screen – you're not looking at the now-defunct Virage. What Aston has done is clothed the DB9 in the Virage's slightly sharper, more aggressive suit – injecting a touch of visual tension into the nine-year old Ian Callum shape.

There's a more pronounced kick to the rear bootlid – but essentially it's a familiar shape if you've ever clapped eyes on the Virage. Or indeed, the current DB9.

There's function underneath the revised form – the styling upgrades, along with lowered engine mounts, and a grille that moves backwards on impact, helps keep the new 2013 DB9 on the right side of pedestrian safety regulations.

Aston Martin product manager Andy Haslam said: "Taking the best elements of Virage, adding important new upgrades and combining these with the iconic DB9 nomenclature we have created a compelling new Sports GT that sits proudly at the very heart of the Aston Martin sports car range."

Well it's more of a facelift rather than a new sports GT, but the big news is at the business end, where the DB9 gets the latest generation AM11 unit derived from the forthcoming Vanquish motor. The breathed-on 5.9-litre V12 now has 510bhp – a substantial hike on the outgoing car's 470bhp and a match for the DBS.

The power upgrades shave 0.2 seconds off the DB9's 0-60mph time – with the 2013 car achieving the benchmark sprint in around 4.5 seconds. To rein in the extra performance, carbon ceramic brakes with Brembo calipers are now standard fit.

There's upgraded glass switchgear inside and higher-grade leather featuring a special hand-stitched 'welt' for the front seats. A lightweight Kevlar seating option is also available, which shaves 17kg off the DB9's weight.

Other highlights include a new 20-inch wheel design, auto windscreen wipers and leather headlining.

The 2013 model year DB9 starts at £131,995 – a slight uplift on the outgoing car but a fair chunk less than the Virage's £150k price tag.