With a whirlwind of news coming from the Geneva Auto Show, it takes a pretty substantial announcement to steal the headlines, something Aston Martin knows a fair bit about. Aston Martin has had a lot of publicity over the last few months, making headlines with everything from custom liveries to full blow supercars. Alas, the British company is going big once more, announcing an all new sub-brand of racing tailored models fittingly named AMR (Aston Martin Racing).
The new AMR brand will feature a limited number of race-inspired versions of Aston Martin’s current lineup, bridging the gap between their luxury road goers and their successful endurance GT3 & GT4 platforms. While Aston has a master plan of building an AMR model for each production car they currently have, they displayed two significant models at Geneva; the Aston Martin Rapide AMR and the coveted Aston Martin Vantage AMR Pro.
The standard Aston Martin Rapide S has already staked its claim to being one of the best saloon based sports cars in the world. It’s both absolutely gorgeous and surprisingly fast. The 6-liter V12 sports 552BHP, all delivered generously through an eight-speed automatic gifting a 0-60 time of just 4.2 seconds. Great for if the kids are late to school. But if that’s not fast enough for you the all new AMR Rapide will boost the 6.0 up to a claimed 600hp, a new top speed of 210mph and more carbon-fiber than a Formula One car. Okay not really, but it will have a ton more carbon, so much so that when I read the initial reports of what they had done I was mortified. Aston Martin claimed “Extensive use of carbon fibre detailing on the exterior provide the perfect finishing touches.” And “a fabulous fusion of race car attitude with a luxurious crafted twist.” Both of those statements make me wince, or at least they did until I saw the final product. Foot, meet mouth. No words can describe the AMR Rapide. Seriously see for yourself.
I mean, even the 21-inch wheels look good!? My world is officially upside down. AMR must have known this was going to be the case because they brought another model in to restore order to the world, the Vantage AMR Pro. While the Rapide AMR will always be stuck between luxury and performance, the Vantage has a proper racing heritage. Having established a successful racing pedigree with the Vantage, Aston Martin has produced several racing variants, particularly the GT8 & GT12 that were both a smashing hit. So while it’s not necessarily a new concept, the AMR will be a race-inspired model, keeping a hint of road manners while honing its track capabilities. Surprisingly it only comes with a V8. Luckily it happens to be the most powerful V8 the Vantage has ever been equipped with. And the similarities to the race winning World Endurance Championship Vantage don’t stop there. While almost every component has been upgraded, the ones that are most notable are the 19-inch center lock wheels, full height front grill, and a racing hood and wing taken directly from the WEC cars. While not a true track car, the AMR Pro takes the track more seriously than most, sharing a similar philosophy to the Vulcan. And the beauty of this radical Vantage is its still very street-able, featuring a full interior, radio, and passenger seat included. The only change I would really like to see is the inclusion of roll cage, but that just might be too hardcore. AMR gave the new Pro the same carbon and lime green overhaul as the Rapide, setting another example of how to do carbon-fiber right.
With both models hitting Geneva this week it has been great seeing this come to fruition, not just a rendering. AMR promises to build a race-inspired version of each Aston Martin production car, a tall yet exciting order. Each model will be a short run, making a rare and exclusive offering from AMR. The total for the Rapide will be capped at 210 units and the Vantage Pro at just 7. If you want extremely rare yet trackable, the Vantage Pro is the car for you. Either way it appears you can’t go wrong with Aston Martin’s new AMR sub-brand.