There are moments when miniscule adjustments to something wonderful can yield unforeseen enhancements. The addition of a dash of Maraschino liqueur to a perfect Manhattan. The application of a few Newton-meters more pressure in a deep tissue massage. Gold-plating the wire wheels on your Commodore Blue Continental Package-equipped 1985 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible. So it is with the Aston Martin DB11 AMR, a slight tweak to the Aston Martin DB11 V12 — already one of our favorite grand tourers. The non-AMR DB11 hosts the ideal combination of profligate luxury, recherché exclusivity, and muscular performance. (The V8 is also ... fine.) But Aston Martin's new AMR performance sub-brand has drizzled its speed effluent onto the DB's componentry and software. The result borders on transcendent. AMR was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in 2017 as the storied British marque's go-fast subsidiary (its M or AMG, if you will). Inspired in name, if not in mission, by the Aston Martin Racing team, it has already resulted in the AMR-ization of a half-dozen Aston vehicles including iterations of the Rapide, Vulcan, Valkyrie, and previous-generation Vantage. The $241,000 DB11 is the seventh in that series, and it will take the place of the "base" DB11 V12 when it appears in the states later this summer. Since Aston recently opened the first of its fancy-pants AMR Performance Centers adjacent to Germany's famed Nurburgring racetrack, it seemed fitting that our test drive of the new car commence there. We snagged the DB's crystal-tipped key fob and spent a couple days tearing everywhere in the Rhineland region that wasn't the "Ring," including narrow wending mountain roads, expertly paved two-lane byways, and unlimited Autobahn über-highways. AMR's sorcery has, as noted, yielded relatively small changes on paper. The twin-turbocharged 5.2-liter 12-cylinder now makes just 5 percent more horses, for a total of 630. The dampers and springs have been stiffened by about 10 percent, the anti-roll bars front and rear by half that and half again. More rigid engine and transmission mounts have been added for greater stolidity. The transmission has been remapped for increased differentiation across the GT, Sport, and Sport Plus driving modes, selectable via a switch on the right side of the steering wheel. (The left switch controls the suspension damping, which has also been remapped.) And the torque vectoring and stability control software have been recalibrated as well to allow for more. There are also a bunch of darkened and carbon fiber bestrewed trim bits – but sadly, not any of Aston's lovely, subtle greys, or greens, or grey-greens. We were fortunate to be born with a butt-mounted g-meter and accelerometer, so we could measure readily the car's additional eagerness and its increased willingness to shift down under hard braking when entering a vicious S. It'll grab onto a gear through a sweeper and let it screech and blatter like a colitic Eurasian Eagle Owl. But most enticingly for incorrigible noise-hounds like us is the adjustments to the exhaust note that some AMR hooligan made, …
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|MPG||15 City / 21 Hwy|
|Transmission||Touchtronic III 8-spd w/OD|
|Power||600 @ 6500 rpm|
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