What is it?
How do you send off a loyal and much-loved servant of 13 years? In the case of Aston Martin and the Aston Martin Vantage, you give it more power than it’s ever had and secure what will go down as its crowning glory - victory at Le Mans.
Having first been introduced way back in 2005 the Vantage will finally be retired this year, making way for an all-new model that’ll arrive in 2018. Far from fading away with a whimper, though, the car’s last year on sale has arguably been its most memorable yet. That GTE Pro class victory at La Sarthe in June came at the sixth time of trying - following one of the 24 hour race’s most thrilling last lap duels in living memory, no less - while a limited run of 100 V12 Vantage AMRs have had their power outputs lifted to a whisker shy of 600bhp.
Earlier this year Aston Martin launched its new AMR performance brand, taking inspiration from the Aston Martin Racing competition squad, and the departing Vantage is the first car to carry the new moniker. Eventually, every model in the range will offer an AMR version. The Vantage AMR will be limited to 300 units, 200 based on the V8 model and 100 on the V12. They’ll be split across Coupe and Aston Martin Roadster bodystyles, all offering a choice of manual or paddle shift transmissions.
Mechanically they’re identical to the mainstream models, Aston Martin except that the V12 versions have received some minor engine tweaks to lift power by 30bhp to 595bhp. There have been no weight saving regimes or retuned chassis settings, then. Instead, the Vantage AMR offers a number of bespoke paint schemes with contrasting body stripes and, in the case of this Stirling Green car, day-glo brake callipers. This car also carries enamel badges in Union Flag colours as well as bespoke five-spoke wheels. The eye-catching interior trim is also specific to the AMR.
The V8 Vantage AMR, tested here, carries a £3000 premium over the base model, lifting the price tag to £97,995. The 4735cc normally-aspirated engine produces 430bhp at a relatively heady 7300rpm and 361lb ft at 5000rpm. The 1610kg Coupe sprints to 62mph in 4.8 seconds - there are four-wheel drive hot hatches that get there faster these days - and tops out at 190mph.