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AS­TON MARTIN LAUNCHES AMR PER­FOR­MANCE SUBBRAND WITH BRACE OF TRACK-IN­SPIRED CON­CEPTS

VANTAGE - - Contents - WORDS RICHARD MEADEN

As­ton Martin launches AMR ‘sub brand’ with two stunning con­cepts

JUST DAYS AF­TER we closed our pre­vi­ous is­sue for press, As­ton Martin re­vealed it was about to launch a new per­for­mance sub-brand called AMR.

Any­one fa­mil­iar with the mar­que’s mod­ern rac­ing ac­tiv­i­ties will al­ready be ac­quainted with those ini­tials, but although the most ex­treme AMR road cars will be heav­ily in­flu­enced by As­ton Martin Rac­ing, the AMR brand will be about more than ul­tra-low-vol­ume road-rac­ers. Startling proof of this came in the un­likely but re­ally rather won­der­ful form of the Rapide AMR. As­ton’s fa­mous four-door might not be the ob­vi­ous re­cip­i­ent of such racy treat­ment, but it car­ries it off very well in­deed.

The Rapide con­cept has a suite of power, chas­sis and styling up­grades, in­dica­tive of AMR’S first tier. It fea­tures a Gt12-spec­i­fi­ca­tion V12 (good for just shy of 600bhp) and new quad ex­haust sys­tem, plus heav­ily re­vised sus­pen­sion, CCM car­bon discs and 21in al­loy wheels.

The ex­te­rior has race-in­spired paint­work, a huge full-height grille (a sig­na­ture of AMR mod­els), plus more ag­gres­sive front split­ter, side sills, rear dif­fuser and up­swept aero flip on the tail. The in­te­rior is a fab­u­lous jux­ta­po­si­tion of four-seat space and race-car at­ti­tude, cour­tesy of lightweight car­bon­fi­bre front seats, to­gether with ex­ten­sive use of car­bon­fi­bre for the door cas­ings, dash­board ‘water­fall’ and cen­tre con­sole.

As­ton CEO Andy Palmer con­firmed no more than 210 ex­am­ples would be built, but didn’t men­tion a price. Given the ex­tent of the changes, we would guess at some­where be­tween £200-£250,000.

More pre­dictable, but no less ex­cit­ing, is the Van­tage AMR Pro. Tak­ing its in­spi­ra­tion from the World En­durance Cham­pi­onship (WEC) in which As­ton

Martin Rac­ing com­petes with its V8 Van­tage GTES, the Van­tage AMR Pro con­cept goes be­yond even the GT8 and GT12 spe­cial-se­ries cars. Built for track use only, it is pitched as the ul­ti­mate it­er­a­tion of the Van­tage. Pow­ered by a 500bhp de­vel­op­ment of As­ton Martin Rac­ing’s GT4 V8 race en­gine, it also fea­tures race-spec ad­justable sus­pen­sion, motorsport en­gine and trans­mis­sion mounts, and new 19 x 9.5in front and 19 x 11.5in rear cen­tre-lock wheels.

Adding to its au­then­tic­ity, not only does the Van­tage AMR Pro wear the same colour scheme as its WEC coun­ter­part, but it uses the same bon­net and rear wing as the Wec-win­ning racer. As­ton’s de­sign team has then cre­ated a new front bumper that in­cor­po­rates AMR’S sig­na­ture full-height ra­di­a­tor grille, plus a new front valance, front split­ter, front wings with cut-outs that al­low air to flow along the side of the car, and a re­vised rear dif­fuser.

As with the Rapide AMR, the Van­tage AMR Pro has a spec­tac­u­lar in­te­rior fea­tur­ing huge swathes of silken car­bon cas­ings, vivid up­hol­stery with dy­namic graphic mo­tifs, and a cus­tom roll-cage.

Just seven ex­am­ples of the Van­tage AMR Pro will be built, mak­ing it the rarest fac­tory-built model since the CC100 Speed­ster con­cept, of which two were built to cel­e­brate the mar­que’s cen­te­nary. Again there’s no word on pric­ing, but we be­lieve it could be as much as £1 mil­lion.

It’s a ballsy way to launch the AMR brand, but then it’s a big deal for As­ton Martin. Some might find it strange that a mar­que al­ready syn­ony­mous with per­for­mance should need to labour the point in such a way, but it’s an ac­knowl­edge­ment of a chang­ing world. One in which mar­kets such as China have lit­tle sense of his­tory or past glo­ries. AMR is also a reflection of the way in which wealth and tastes have changed. With the global ap­petite for spe­cial-se­ries cars of all de­nom­i­na­tions show­ing no sign of di­min­ish­ing, AMR is a struc­tured way for As­ton Martin to of­fer in­creased ex­clu­siv­ity and in­ten­si­fied per­for­mance with an ap­pro­pri­ately in­creased price tag.

Ul­ti­mately there will be an AMR ver­sion of ev­ery model in the As­ton range. More news is ex­pected in the com­ing weeks on which AMR model will be the first to go on general re­lease, but with the Van­tage AMR Pro lim­ited to just seven track-only cars and an all-new Van­tage model in the late stages of de­vel­op­ment, our money is on a street-le­gal Van­tage AMR. If so, it prom­ises to be some­thing rather spe­cial. We can’t wait to see and drive it.

‘Ul­ti­mately there will be an AMR ver­sion of ev­ery model in the As­ton range’

PHO­TOG­RA­PHY AS­TON MARTIN

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