Naming your children after you is one thing but, you’ve got to have a certain type of personality to put your name to a car — that or be pretty sure that it’s ‘legacy worthy’. Thankfully in David Brown’s case, his Aston Martin DBs are both. From the iconic and movie star showstopping DB5 to the stunningly handsome DB11, it’s a nameplate that has over the years, offered plenty of ‘oohs’ in terms of driving thrills, but with the latest AMR version, it now comes with some added ‘ahhs’, too.
Launched in 2016, the DB11 immediately received more than its fair share of positive attention, and why wouldn’t it? Sporting Aston Martin’s former owner ‘DB’ nametag, this gorgeous looking Grand Tourer may have come as a successor to the DB9 but being the first car off the ‘second-century plan’ rank and showcasing a jaw-dropping design directly from the creative mind of Aston’s design director, Marek Reichman, it really took DB made quite the statement. Originally a V12 then followed by a V8 version around a year later, the DB11 was a GT for sure, but what about the brand’s racing roots? Well, now there’s an AMR (Aston Martin Racing) ‘facelift’ version that effectively replaces the previous V12. And I got to drive it.
Aston has tweaked and fettled with virtually every area of this GT, some mild and others not so. More power, enhanced aerodynamics, improved ride and handling and increased ‘smarts’ has arguably transformed the new DB11 into the car it always promised to be.
Dressed in deep onyx black with standout lime painted, six-piston brake calipers, my review model DB11 AMR looked both sleek and just quietly, a little foreboding, especially since I knew about the uprated V12 that lay under the now ‘soft-close’ clamshell bonnet. Aston has, in their infinite wisdom, added an extra 30 horses to its already powerful 5.2-litre engine, taking it up to 630hp while keeping its ‘non-eight-speed gearbox shattering’ torque to 700Nm, which, believe me, is plenty. 0-100km/h comes in at 3.7 seconds and top-speed (should you get the chance), will have you at 334km/h. However, the improvements to the new DB11 AMR don’t just stop under the bonnet.
The DB’s already advanced and refined aerodynamics have been taken to the next level with the trademark AM grille being enhanced to allow better airflow and the lower spoiler blade is razor-sharp, cutting its way through the wind ahead. At the rear of the front wheel arches are ‘Curlicue’ gills,aero-slits that spiral the build-up of air produced by the wheels, down the side of the car. While on the subject of wheels, the AMR’s are specially created 20-inch forged alloys that are lighter to the tune of 3.5kg. The AMR does retain the Aeroblade, a cleverly designed invisible tail spoiler that channels the air from the GT’s C-pillar and magically creates downforce (the spoiler does raise up under certain circumstances too).
The chassis, suspension, steering and electronics have all been reworked allowing for greater distinction between the GT, Sport and Sport+ driving modes and let’s not forget its deliciously more aggressive exhaust note too.
Make no mistake, the AMR is more performance led then the original V12 iteration, but don’t let that worry you. Around town and in GT mode, it’s malleable and (relatively) easy to get along with. There’s plenty of tech to keep you in tune with your surroundings, the wide-opening doors and slim sills allow for simple access and exit and even the exhaust doesn’t scream ‘LOOK AT ME!’ The interior is soft leather in Dark Knight black contrasted by signature AMR lime and carbon fibre accents. The front seats are a perfect mix of comfort and support, while the two in the rear will happily accept your iPad or (very) small family member, plus it even has a boot.
But what you really want the DB11 AMR for are those times when you’re free of the traffic and free of prying eyes. The push of a button on the steering wheel engages Sport (and then Sport+), the suspension firms, thanks to the adaptive damping and the exhaust baffles clear… a loud, sport and sportier drive ensues. The 0-100 speed is quick, supercar quick, and yet it all feels rather civilised. Same goes for the ride itself, fast and responsive yet ultimately manageable, you don’t feel like you’re making it do something it doesn’t want to—oh, and that V12 sound, especially since it revs to 7,000, is almost inexplicable.
Angry and fierce, yet placid and refined, the new DB11 has you covered. It’s a performance GT that excites, but it’s a car that you’d be just as keen to take on a long weekend away. The firmer suspension, quick gear changing, tight turn in and thunderous voice in Sport and above is sure to make you ooh. However, rest assured in GT mode this DB11 AMR will make you ahh, too.