Aston smartened Brilliant new AMR replaces original-spec DB11 V12. Words Shane O’Donoghue.
Some 4200 examples of the V12-engined DB11 have found homes since it was launched in 2016, so clearly Aston Martin got its new GT right from the start. But a lot can happen in two years, not least the introduction of the DB11 Volante and the sweet-steering DB11 V8 coupé. Not to mention the arrival of a more driver-focused Bentley Continental GT… Time, then, to give V12 Aston buyers something new.
The AMR brand (‘inspired by Aston Martin Racing’) was unveiled last year and has so far been applied to the Vulcan AMR Pro and previous-generation Vantage. The Rapide AMR and outrageous Valkyrie AMR Pro have been previewed, too, but the DB11 AMR hits the market first, replacing the original-spec V12 coupé, which seems a little odd given the GT remit of the DB11.
If you’re looking at the pictures and not sure about the lurid green brake calipers and highlights, fear not: buyers can customise to the nth degree. The car shown here is one of 100 examples of the Signature Edition to be made, finished in Stirling Green, with lime accents – outside and in. The standard specification is more demure and takes on a dark theme to differentiate the AMR model.
There’s black for the rear diffuser, side sills and roof, carbonfibre for the side strakes and bonnet vents, darkened rear lights and a dark surround for the radiator grille and headlamps. The new design of 20-inch forged alloy wheels can be finished in ‘Textured Black’ too, for the full moody-teenager-going- through-a-goth-phase effect.
But if you like driving, none of that is as important as the changes Aston Martin’s engineering team has wrought on the DB11. First up, and rather unnecessarily, the twin-turbocharged 5.2-litre V12 engine has been breathed upon, increasing maximum power by 30bhp to 630bhp. Maximum torque remains at 516lb ft, from just 1500rpm, which is ample by any measure. Aston quotes a 0-60mph time of 3.5 seconds and 208mph top whack. This from a GT car, remember. Any scepticism you might have about the AMR’s GT credentials won’t be assuaged when you hear the DB11 AMR at full chat, because Aston has further worked on the exhaust to make it more ‘characterful’ (read: ‘boisterous’) when in the Sport+ mode.
However, the DB11 AMR’s spring rates are unchanged, so it moves with the road rather than pummelling into it, making it a rapid yet comfortable tool for long journeys, as before. At a cruise, it’s quite refined if you can resist the Sport+ settings. But the back end has taken lessons learned from the DB11 V8, and the result is immediately obvious on a more challenging road. The car moves all of a piece now, using its four tyres to great effect, and the steering feels better too.
It’s still more at home on a series of fast sweepers than it is a tight and twisty B-road (the DB11 remains a wide car), but now it’s more satisfying in the latter situation than it was, closing the gap with the more agile V8 model, seemingly without sacrificing its inherent long-leggedness. Even at £174,995, Aston will no doubt sell plenty more.