ASTON MARTIN VANTAGE AMR
Highlighting the marque’s return to winning ways
The year 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of Aston Martin’s return, after almost 50 years, to the top step of the podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans GT1 class, with the DBR9. And just two months ago, the Aston Martin Vantage won the GTE class at this year’s staging of the famous endurance event. That’s more like it for a carmaker whose origin can be traced back to racing—in fact, its moniker comes from the names of founder Lionel Martin and a hill climb he competed in, the Aston Clinton. The credo “Race on Sunday, sell on Monday” certainly fits the marque to a T.
The memorable surprise is that Aston Martin Racing won at Le Mans just days after the unveiling of the AMR brand at the Geneva Motor Show. One of the first models to benefit from the motorsport-derived badging? The Aston Martin Vantage AMR. How serendipitous is that?
Shown as a concept car at the 2003 North American International Auto Show, the Vantage was unveiled in production form at Geneva in 2005, as a 2006 model. It featured bonded aluminum body construction, making the two-door, two-seat Grand Tourer one of of Aston Martin’s lightest models. Two engine choices were available: a 380hp V8, and a 510hp V12 that followed shortly after. Over time, the V8 grew in displacement from 4.3 liters to 4.7 liters, and so did the power output.
The Vantage AMR comes in both V8 and V12 options. The former now has a healthy 430hp and 490Nm, while the latter has an astounding 595hp and 630Nm. Both variants can be had with paddle-shifter-activated sequential transmissions, or a six-speed manual for the V8 and a dog-leg seven-speed manual for the V12. Both roadster and coupe body styles are available, with total production being limited to only 300 units. Nil to 100kph is 4.8sec for the V8 and 3.7sec for the V12.
Of note is the rear-mounted transaxle that endows the Vantage with a 49/51 weight distribution. A carbon-fiber propeller shaft surrounded by an alloy torque tube is common to the two variants, to increase rigidity. Both the V8 and the V12 are also equipped with limited-slip differentials. Final-drive ratios are different, though: 3.909:1 for the V8 and a slightly taller 3.727:1 for the V12. The range benefits from independent double-wishbone sport suspensions front and rear; the V12 gets a three-stage Adaptive Damping Suspension with Normal, Sport, and Track modes. Think of it as mood rings, but for cars.
Options include a multi-piece carbon-fiber aero kit based on the racing models. The addons are fully functional, right down to the rear spoiler, the dive plates, and the diffusers. Perhaps the last word in accessories would have to be the Titanium exhaust system. It saves 6.3kg, and is described as the bestsounding exhaust one can listen to.
Wheels are 19in across for both variants (the V12 get half an inch more in width) and are shod with Pirelli P Zero rubber. Another interesting option is the AMR Halo Pack,
which pays homage to the #95 Vantage GTE that won the 2016 World Endurance Championship. The most eye-catching among the colors is the trademark Stirling Green with lime brake calipers—it evokes the spirit of British racing tradition in a way no other livery can. The Vantage AMR’s interior is just as British, with its combination of black Alcantara and leather, matched with Copper-Tan Metallic contrasting highlights. Other AMR add-ons include lightweight carbon-fiber seats and trim pieces. Instead of the usual door handle/armrest combo, the car may be spec’d with minimalist door pulls, too. The 720gsm carpet with accenting leather binding is also a must-have—while nothing fancy, it just works well with the AMR Halo Pack. In-car entertainment is covered by a 7,000-watt premium audio system with Bluetooth integration, Apple CarPlay compatibility, and USB connectivity. This car may be track-inspired, but it need not be spartan.
Perhaps one compelling reason to opt for Stirling Green scheme is the unique under-hood badge that bears the signatures of Marek Reichman and David King, two of the carmaker’s top personnel. Other visual modifications, apart from the lime Brembo calipers, are carbon-fiber side mirrors and a carbon-fiber front grille surround for the V8 (standard on the V12). It’s simultaneously subtle and out there—definitely British, and definitely Aston Martin.
‘Race on Sunday, sell on Monday surely fits the brand to a T’