But the bigger, better changes have come to the chassis, which is now quite superb. I liked the way the DB11 went down the road more than most, but even I must concede that the AMR is playing a different game. What it has gained is a little traction, a lot of precision and considerable additional stability over brows and in dips. And what very little it has lost in terms of secondary ride comfort is more than offset by this upgrade in primary body control.
Driven: the Aston Martin you've never heard of
The result is a car that allows you to commit to a difficult road with complete confidence. Indeed, the only elements holding you back – the car’s physical size and slightly limited visibility – have nothing to do with the way it has been set up. There are times, usually in quick, constant-radius curves, with the car cranked over yet absolutely nailed to your chosen line, where it seems barely believable that this is also a superbly effective long-distance touring car weighing the thick end of two tonnes (with me on board) and sitting on standard Bridgestone Potenza rubber. And for a car of such heft steered with electrical assistance, the feel of the chassis and steering are of a level that neither the Bentley Continental GT nor even the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso can approach.
On tighter roads, this astonishing fluency is somewhat degraded. Outstanding though the chassis engineers are, they’ve not yet found a way to excuse Aston from the laws of physics. The standard iron brakes offer terrific feel and seem pretty tireless on the road, but you still need to be on them well in advance of any tight corner, especially when it's preceded by a long straight, because the AMR's ability to accrue speed is, relatively, at least as good as its capacity to then get rid of it in a hurry.
And in slow speed corners, there is some push, perhaps a consequence of that thicker front bar, perhaps not, but you are aware of the car’s weight and wheelbase in a way that simply does not cross your mind when the road commands, say, fourth gear rather than second. If you really up the ante and throw it at some very punishing roads, you’ll notice that, while the Sport and Sport Plus damper modes vary the rate and limit the scope of the body movements, you can sometimes feel the stability systems rolling up their sleeves, too, in order to prevent you from taxing it any harder.
But these are very testing conditions and I’ve known cars far lighter, more sporting in set-up and abbreviated in wheelbase to not cope so well as the AMR.
All of which would be highly commendable if the car were still a plausible touring machine. But it’s not: it’s fantastic. Yes, both the Continental GT and GTC4 Lusso have far bigger boots, both are more spacious in the back (the Ferrari notably so) and no, I still haven't come to like the presence of quite so much Mercedes-Benz switchgear in the cabin. But in fundamental terms, like the ride comfort and refinement at a steady cruise, this is a fine long-distance tourer. And if you’re the kind of person who likes to hoover up the appreciative stares when you get there, it’s pretty good at that, too.