Here's the latest Aston Martin product to be slapped with the company's 'AMR' branding, linking it to its racing exploits, but the DB11 AMR pays more than lip service to its lime green accents thanks to a suite of worthwhile engine and chassis upgrades that cement the DB11 V12's position as the sportiest of GT cars. It's a welcome addition to the range.
In the metal
In the transition to AMR status, the Aston DB11 V12 has come in for a dark-themed, but still relatively subtle, exterior makeover. There's gloss black for the roof, side sills and rear splitter, carbon fibre for the 'hood blades' in the bonnet and side strakes, plus dark surrounds for the headlamps and radiator grille, and a 'smoked' finish to the rear lights. A set of 20-inch 'Forged AMR Silver Non-Diamond Turned' alloy wheels are also included. The 'AMR Lime' brake callipers pictured are optional and there are plenty of other personalisation options. In fact, the car shown here is one of just 100 examples of the AMR Signature Edition that will be made, featuring even more exterior carbon fibre and the characteristic Stirling Green and lime livery of Aston Martin Racing. Buyers can save themselves time on the configurator by choosing one of three AMR-specific 'Designer Specifications'.
Inside, as standard (not that any buyer is likely to resist the massive range of customisation options), the DB11 AMR gets Alcantara headlining, Caithness leather upholstery in Obsidian Black or Lords Red, AMR-branded door sill plaques, heated and electrically adjusted front seats with the AMR logo embossed into the headrests and a black leather sports steering wheel. The lime accents are optional. The core cabin is unchanged, which means it looks great and feels good, too, with real metal gearchange paddles behind the chunky steering wheel and modern graphics for the Daimler-sourced infotainment system. Our only gripe with it, in fact, is that the system is sometimes slow to respond to operation of the drive mode selection buttons on the steering wheel. And that the only way to alter the settings of the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is via a sub-menu in the infotainment system... First world problems and all that.
When Aston Martin launched the DB11 in V12 format in 2016, it replaced the Aston DB9 with a car that purported to be a GT, yet one that, depending on driving mode, felt far sportier than any of its rivals. Nobody found fault with Aston's then-new twin-turbocharged 5.2-litre V12 petrol engine as it endowed the 2+2 coupe with effortless (and seemingly endless) performance, while making a noise that'd bring a tear to your eye.
About a year later, Aston introduced the DB11 V8, powered by a mighty twin-turbocharged V8 from Mercedes-AMG and, whisper it, but it was even better to drive. Taking lessons learned in the creation of the chassis for that model, Aston Martin revisited the DB11 V12 and the result, the DB11 AMR, is quite remarkable.
The spring rates have not changed, so it's as pliant as ever, but there have been considerable alterations to the rear axle, making the DB11 even more dependable during fast cornering. As before, its forte is long, fast and smooth sweeping corners, where it settles on the outside tyres and you carry as much speed as you legally can with impunity. But now, the DB11's low-speed cornering ability has been enhanced, so it's more fun than ever to tackle a challenging road in, feeling more keyed into the surface than before. That's not, I should point out, at the expense of driver interaction, as the perfectly-weighted steering tells you what's going on at the road level in terms of grip and there's good balance to the chassis. In fact, the AMR uses all four of its tyres well and if you're a little exuberant with your corner entry speed it tends to scrub a little off at the front, though the attitude can be trimmed with the responsive throttle at will, and it's not difficult to get into a rhythm on a twisty road with that satisfying rear-drive feel on the exit of every corner.
Three settings for the adaptive dampers are separated from the main driving modes, so you can choose Sport+ to get lightning-fast throttle response (too sharp, occasionally), the louder exhaust and less power steering assistance, and marry that with the GT setting for the suspension, to allow the car to move with the road more. The V12 sounds better than ever and is reason enough to pay the extra for this model.
What you get for your money
Cars such as the DB11 AMR cost an absolute fortune in Ireland, and they're never bought with value in mind in the first place, so a star rating here is hardly important. There are cars with similar levels of performance for less money, but in terms of true rivals, we're struggling to find many. For what it's worth, the DB11 AMR replaces the original DB11 V12 Coupe. Standard equipment includes satnav, dual-zone climate control, 360-degree surround view parking cameras and sensors, cruise control, keyless entry and start, Bluetooth, etc.
The AMR branding for this Aston DB11 is a little misleading at first, suggesting it is a hardcore alternative, but it merely replaces the original DB11 V12 with a series of worthwhile updates. And while there's no doubt that it's still a GT car designed to transport its occupants over long distances, Aston's engineers have made it considerably better to drive and sportier than before, further distancing it from its potential rivals. Additionally, the new focus on dynamics has given the V12-engined model a little space to breathe above its V8-engined sibling. Buyers of such high-end machinery will certainly approve of the upgrades, while car enthusiasts of all persuasions should continue to celebrate the existence of such a charismatic, V12-engined GT that behaves more like a sports car.