Aston Martin DB11

AMR - First Drive

Aston Martin DB11 AMR, front action 2
Aston Martin DB11 AMR, front action
Aston Martin DB11 AMR, side static
Aston Martin DB11 AMR, full rear action
Aston Martin DB11 AMR, front static
Aston Martin DB11 AMR, front static 2
Aston Martin DB11 AMR, rear action 2
Aston Martin DB11 AMR, rear action
Aston Martin DB11 AMR, wheel detail
Aston Martin DB11 AMR, starter button
Aston Martin DB11 AMR, body detail
Aston Martin DB11 AMR, engine
Aston Martin DB11 AMR, front seats
Aston Martin DB11 AMR, dashboard
Aston Martin DB11 AMR, badge

YOU can find about almost everything about a new Aston Martin from the company's elegant and deeply detailed website - except the price of the lovely car you're building on your computer screen.

For that you're politely asked to submit the imagined car to the dealer of your choice - and they'll be in touch to discuss the next steps.

Which, in the case of the car you see here today will involve a cheque for at least £201,995, unless you're tempted by a gold finish for the oil filler cap or embroidered Aston Martin badges on the seat headrests.

They - and a near bewildering host of other finishing touches - will push the final bill (an unspecified amount) further skyward.

Which, for the few very lucky people able to afford an Aston Martin won't matter a jot. They've worked hard (or inherited well) and can have the car of their dreams built just for them.

The motoring world would, truly, be a duller place if we couldn't admire the occasional Aston Martin growling past us on the motorway or - more likely - edging oh-so carefully into a parking space outside a swanky hotel.

The car we're admiring right now is the company's DB11 grand tourer in its most pumped up form and designed to make an already very fast car still more engaging for keener drivers with an empty, sweeping road in front of them.

So, taking the £157,900 DB11 as a starting point the chaps at Aston Martin have gained an extra 30bhp from its turbocharged 5.2 litre V12 engine, the resultant 630bhp enough for a 208mph top speed and 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds.

That makes this DB11 AMR (for Aston Martin Racing) the fastest model in the company's current production range, although to be honest the lesser version's 187mph and 4.1 seconds to 62mph scarcely seem lacking.

Still, there will always be drivers with deep pockets who lust after the fastest they can find and for which the £174,995 asked of the DB11 AMR is hardly a trip hazard, let alone a stumbling block.

Indeed for the deepest pockets there's an even dearer temptation. No quicker, it's true, but the £201,995 bottom line brings you one of only 100 AMR Signature Editions available worldwide and standing out in any crowd thanks to vivid lime yellow stripes on its Stirling Green bodywork.

That stripe continues in narrower form into the cockpit where it enlivens the backs of the front seats. The DB11 comes with a couple of perches in the rear, but surely more aimed at extra Gucci shopping trip conquests than people.

There are also more restrained touches of delicious carbon fibre outside and in, all of them helping produce the one reaction from DB11 first timers that tells Aston Martin they've hit the very expensive nail on its gold plated head - 'wow!'

Stir that epic engine room into action and the wows come thick and fast and with enough deep throated intent to clear the way out of a crowded Silverstone infield as the car headed for some public road action.

Where it surprised instantly with the way it tackled some of Northamptonshire's awful roads (the council's cash strapped, you may have read) with a cushioned firmness not expected from suspension carefully adjusted to its new AMR role.

The stab of a steering wheel button firmed it instantly but the car felt better in softer mode. Prod another button and the eight speed automatic gearbox sharpens up its act and the big exhaust pipes emit encouraging pops and crackles. Lovely.

Huge specially developed tyres on massive 20ins alloy wheels mean a driver's courage runs out way before the car's capabilities on public roads but make this big and heavy car (weightier and wider than a Range Rover Evoque) a confident steer at more sensible speeds.

At which you'll have time to admire the goodies that a DB11 price tag brings in tow, from 360 degree surround cameras and Caithness leather trim to carbon bonnet blades and a storage bin between the seats with a motorised sliding opening, lest you expend too much energy doing it yourself.

A trip computer reading of 22.9mpg after a morning's canter will prove no disincentive to a potential owner, more bothered with how often the 78 litre fuel tank will need filling.

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