Mechanically they’re identical to the mainstream models, 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.
What's it like?
The tense, muscle-bound Vantage shape is so familiar now it’s easy to overlook just how pretty it still is. The lime green elements do sit at odds with the car’s understated beauty, though, and they’re bound to divide opinion as a result. If you don’t care for the bright stripe and show-off callipers you’re unlikely to be sold on the cabin; lime green piping flows down the dashboard and accents the seats.
The switchgear, incidentally, is now much better and easier to use than the fiddly controls that were fitted to early Vantages, although the clumps of buttons do look a little like the controls you’d expect to find on a mid-range microwave oven. At least the latest infotainment system is now intuitive and easy to navigate while the seating position is just about spot on. Having said that, the optional fixed back bucket seats are more supportive than this car’s conventional two-part chairs.
Everything about the Vantage AMR’s start up procedure and low speed nature makes you think it’s a hefty, burly sort of thing, as though it’s intent on giving you a good old workout. You have to press the oblong key surprisingly hard into its slot in the dashboard to fire the engine, while the clutch and gearshift have a certain weight to them. The fly-off handbrake that nestles between the driver’s seat and door also takes a bit of muscle to operate and the steering feels heavy. You’re reminded the Vantage is very much the sports car in Aston Martin’s line-up and not the effortless GT.
Accordingly, the Vantage comes into its own with a little pace. Whereas the low speed ride is very tight and fidgety, it relaxes markedly as the passive dampers come into their range over 50mph or so. There’s plenty of wheel travel and movement in the body, too, so the car actually flows along the road quite serenely rather than skipping and hopping along it manically. The steering relaxes with speed, too, feeling quite light and vague at first, but you soon tune into the steady stream of messages that pour back from the front tyres, wheel constantly fidgeting and tugging at your finger tips. No matter how good electrically-assisted racks may have become in recent years they’ll never match a hydraulic system like this for purity of feel and feedback.