As­ton Martin DB11 AMR

Most fo­cused DB11 yet

Autocar - - THIS WEEK - TESTED 17.5.18, GER­MANY ON SALE NOW PRICE £174,995 DAN PROSSER

The DB11’S life so far has been short but busy. It made its de­but in 2016, of­fered in V12 guise only, but the cheaper, slightly less pow­er­ful V8 model ar­rived soon af­ter and the drop-top Volante fleshed out the range ear­lier this year. Now, af­ter just two short years on sale, the DB11 V12 has been re­tired.

Worry not. As­ton Martin is re­plac­ing it with the DB11 AMR, the fastest, most driver-fo­cused DB11 yet. It uses the fa­mil­iar 5.2-litre twin­turbo V12, now good for 630bhp. That’s a 30bhp gain over the de­parted DB11 V12 and 127bhp more than the eight-cylin­der model pos­sesses.

The chas­sis has been tweaked too. There are stiffer sus­pen­sion bushes to help lo­cate the rear axle more se­curely, but the spring rates are un­changed. The dampers, how­ever, have been revalved so that they of­fer tighter body con­trol and sharper re­sponses. An ever-so-slightly thicker front anti-roll bar bal­ances those re­vi­sions front to rear, while the wheels are now forged, sav­ing 3.5kg of un­sprung weight at each cor­ner.

An early limited-run batch of 100 DB11 AMRS will be sold world­wide in Sig­na­ture Edi­tion trim, which adds a sear­ing lime-coloured body stripe and equally bright ac­cents inside. The Sig­na­ture Edi­tion sells for £201,995. The se­ries DB11 AMR is of­fered in a range of rather more sober colour schemes and it costs £174,995.

Gar­ish brake calipers or not, the DB11 AMR is a huge im­prove­ment over the outgoing model. For one thing, the slightly patchy in­te­rior qual­ity that af­flicted many of those first-batch DB11S has been put right. The cabin is now as well-fin­ished as it al­ways should have been.

Even more sig­nif­i­cantly, though, the car now drives the way it al­ways should have done too. Gone is the harsh, hol­low qual­ity to the damp­ing; the new ver­sion is beau­ti­fully sus­pended. Its ride may be tight and firmly con­trolled, but even on very bumpy roads there is enough com­po­sure in the damp­ing that it never gets un­com­fort­able. Body con­trol has been im­proved too.

With the rear axle now bet­ter lo­cated, thanks to those stiffer bushes, and with less ill-tem­pered squirm­ing from the rear end over bumps in the road sur­face, trac­tion has sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved. Dig into the throt­tle pedal in sec­ond gear and you won’t hear so much as a chirrup from the rear tyres. All told, the DB11 AMR is sharper and more re­spon­sive than the old model with­out be­ing any less cos­set­ing on a longer drive.

What about the engine? You prob­a­bly won’t no­tice the ex­tra 30bhp, but you’ll be very well aware of how ram­pantly ac­cel­er­a­tive the car is. The V12 has power and torque ev­ery­where. It’s the noise that gets you, though. Tur­bocharg­ers nor­mally muf­fle an engine’s soundtrack like a sock stuffed into a tenor’s mouth, but some­how As­ton Martin has teased a rich and mu­si­cal soundtrack from the DB11 AMR’S ex­hausts.

Yet the car cer­tainly isn’t per­fect. There is an un­holy al­liance of pre­cise-but-re­mote steer­ing, for­ward vis­i­bil­ity that is com­pro­mised by a high scut­tle and a long bon­net, and the sim­ply vast foot­print that means the DB11 AMR is not the sort of car you can jump into and drive quickly right away. You have to build up to it, al­low­ing your con­fi­dence to grow with ev­ery mile. There is also the notso-small mat­ter of the AMR’S weight. It’s around 100kg heav­ier than the DB11 V8. You’ll feel it when you re­ally chuck the car into a tight cor­ner and it strug­gles to hold a line that the lighter model would hap­pily stick to.

Ever since the DB11 V8 ar­rived eight months ago, the V12 model has been out­pointed and out­shone. Now, how­ever, there is noth­ing between the two mod­els but £30,000 and 127bhp.

TESTER’S NOTE

Be wary of light colours for the dash­board up­hol­stery. The re­flec­tions in the wind­screen on sunny days are so vis­i­ble, they’re ac­tu­ally quite hard to ig­nore. DP

V12 now de­liv­ers 630bhp, 30bhp more than be­fore; an up­grade is also ev­i­dent inside the DB11

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