Following their greatest victory, elite sportsmen and women often graciously retire at the top of their game, their reputation as winners cemented in history. For Aston Martin’s long-standing sports star, the Vantage — its most commercially successful sports car ever and driven to victory in the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship as well as the hotly contested GTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2017 — legendary status is undoubtedly well in hand.
To celebrate the Vantage’s glory on the world stage, Aston Martin has released the Vantage AMR — a limited-edition, track-inspired swansong, available in both V8 (driven here) and V12 form and in either Coupe or Roadster body styles. It is also the first road-going car to appear from Aston Martin’s new AMR Sub Brand and is highly exclusive, with just 200 V8 and 100 V12 versions being produced (currently unavailable in the United States). The earlier wide-bodied Aston Martin Vantage GT8 and Vantage GT12 models have ensured very strong demand for these ultimate incarnations of the definitive Vantage bodyshape.
The thrilling V8 Vantage AMR is powered by the iconic 4.7 litre 430bhp dry-sump engine that has proved itself to be as durable as it is evocative. V8 Vantage buyers can choose from automated sequential manual paddleshift transmissions or, for the purists, a six-speed manual gearbox, while the Vantage AMR’s optional carbon fibre Interior Pack provides a handsome dose of visual drama to complement the Vantage’s compact, muscular design.
The Vantage AMR's optional carbon fibre Interior Pack provides a dose of visual drama
The kit adds an optional carbon fibre grille along with side strakes, light infills and mirror caps made of carbon fibre. Aston Martin Accessories also offers a dramatic carbon fibre Aero-kit, consisting of a more pronounced front splitter complete with dive planes, side sills and a fixed rear spoiler for the full track renegade look.
The Vantage AMR is available in a choice of four unique colour schemes complete with contrasting central graphic: Stratus White with an Orange graphic; Ultramarine Black with Blue graphic; Zaffre Blue with Red graphic; and Scintilla Silver with Grey graphic. Racing fans can also opt for the stunning AMR Halo Pack, which emulates the Vantage GTE racer’s Stirling Green body paint, vivid Lime Green accent stripe and special Union Jack-enamelled AML badges. Matching Lime Green brake callipers and purposeful, black five-spoke 19-inch wheels complete the package. Whichever colour scheme or indeed sumptuous interior design you choose, a Vantage AMR is an eye catching but welcome sight on UK roads, so don’t be surprised if fans both young and old offer you an enthusiastic “thumbs-up” reaction at the lights.
Behind the wheel is where the real spectacle lives. It isn’t until you thumb the start button of the V8 Vantage that you fully appreciate the pedigree of what lies beneath the Vantage AMR’s neatly tapered bonnet. The V8 Vantage’s engine note is utterly intoxicating. Selecting Sport mode only enriches the sound. As the exhaust baffles are bypassed, your neck hairs are duly whipped to attention... never let it
be said that Aston Martin makes cars without soul.
Fitted as standard to the V8 Vantage, the six-speed manual transmission requires very familiar amounts of leg and arm force to ensure smooth progress and, once the road clears, you’re instantly aware of just how compact and responsive the AMR Vantage feels.
It isn't until you thumb the start button of the V8 Vantage that you fully appreciate the pedigree of what lies beneath the bonnet.
To convince you further of its true driver’s car credentials, perfectly spaced pedals have been designed with plenty of heel-and-toe area in mind; real thought and consideration has gone into the building of this car. And as for performance, it’s good for 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds and 190mph flat out. The long-legged V8 Vantage is an absolute delight to exercise and, as it approaches its 7,300rpm sweet spot, the sound evokes that of the race-tuned GTE as it blasts around Spa-Francorchamps, the Nürburgring or Le Mans.
Point the car on to a fast A-road and attack a series of bends and you soon uncover the Vantage’s accessible handling too, an attribute that has won many admirers since the model first arrived more than a decade ago. Sure, there are faster cars available, but the thrill of driving a thoroughbred is alive and well in the V8 Vantage AMR. And providing thrills is exactly what the AMR brand is all about.