There have been many iterations of Aston Martin's venerable Vantage sports car, but none quite like this. The Vantage AMR Pro is the first of a new generation of models designed and developed in response to insatiable demand from the wealthiest of Aston Martin's clients. They are willing to pay for exclusivity, yet also very much want a purebred Aston Martin.
They don't come much more exclusive these days than the Vantage AMR Pro, only seven will be made and all seven have already been spoken for—despite the price landing “In the region of AUD$1.7 million”. That really is the least important number in the whole transaction, according to Dr Andy Palmer, Aston Martin President and CEO. He's presenting his vision for the British luxury company at the international launch of the new V8-engined DB11 coupe, a vision that includes a steady stream of bespoke and limited editions in the near future to satisfy demand. In fact, he confirms that there will be two “special cars” every single year and that each and every one of them could be sold many times over. In short, demand will never be fully satisfied.
Intriguingly, it's not a case of first-come, first-served at Aston Martin. Once it has received all the relevant expressions of interest, it applies a scientific formula of sorts. This takes factors such as geographical location and size of an existing collection into account before whittling the long list down to a much shorter one. This then goes directly to Palmer to decide who exactly will be allowed to buy the cars. He tries to be fair, while also carefully selecting those that aren't just planning to make a quick buck by flipping a car as soon as they get it. He admits that it's a challenging part of his job to sit down and explain to those that have not been successful why that is: “there'll be another one in six months and hopefully you'll be at the top of the list then,” he quips. Unlike many luxury automotive brands, Aston Martin really cares about its cars being driven, and that is a factor Palmer takes into consideration. That's especially the case when the limited production car in question is something like the spectacular Vantage AMR Pro.
You don't need to be a fan of motorsport to realise you're looking at a car born on the race track. In fact, the Vantage AMR Pro borrows key parts from the racer that won its class at Le Mans 2017, including that outrageous rear wing and the vented carbon fibre bonnet. The design team weren't content with that though, so they added an aggressive new front bumper, a tarmac-scraping aerodynamic splitter and a huge radiator grille to give the model even more presence, distancing it further from the Vantage road car it started out as. The beautifully manufactured carbon fibre add-ons continue along the side, where you'll spy intricate race-spec alloy wheels as well. At the back—if you can take your eyes off the gigantic adjustable wing—is a ground-hugging aerodynamic diffuser and two large suggestive exhaust pipes.
But don't stand too close to the exhaust pipes when it's starting up, as there's a no-expense spared free-flowing titanium system between those outlets and the race-bred V8 engine up front. It rips the air asunder as it roars into life. Even sitting at a standstill, you know this car means business. And yet, there's nothing as undignified as an obstructive roll cage in the way when you open the door to get in. As ever, the door itself elegantly swings slightly up and out, in what Aston calls the 'swan wing' movement. That's a wonderful contrast with the obnoxious noise this car is making, like a Mariinsky Ballet dancer swearing as she gracefully limbers up for her performance.
Aston Martin resisted the urge to strip out the interior in a bid to shed weight. Instead, it stuck to its remit for this car of 'a refined track special'. It employed the expert coachbuilding services of its Q by Aston Martin division to craft an exquisite—yet mostly hidden—roll cage, replaced the standard seats with figure-holding bucket items and took lime green highlights from the exterior into the cabin.
Owners of the Vantage AMR Pro will be needing those seats if they intend to drive it as intended by its creators. Flat-out figures of 0-100km/h in four seconds and 300km/h are impressive enough, but it's all about attacking a race track for this car. A day at the wheel revealed how accomplished it is. On one side, it flatters the driver by being relatively easy to drive quickly, but on the other, it's clear it would take a long time to get the absolute best from it. Just seven lucky buyers will ever have that opportunity, helping fund Palmer's plan to grow Aston Martin into ‘The Luxury Car Company’ along the way.
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