Aston Martin has launched a performance sub-brand called AMR, which will offer higher-performance versions of its core models.
In a similar vein to Mercedes-Benz’s AMG department, or BMW’s M division, AMR will offer motorsport-inspired upgrades to Aston Martin models – and the company hopes that the new programme will become as lucrative as those of its rivals.
Aston Martin showed off the first two examples of its new performance brand at last week’s Geneva motor show; the Rapide AMR and the Vantage AMR Pro. The vehicles demonstrate the two tiers of upgrades planned, although both are still concepts at this stage.
The first tier AMR models will be developed alongside the regular models, much like an “M-Sport” specification BMW or an “S” specification Audi. The more highly-developed AMR Pro models, however, will be developed separately by Q by Aston Martin Advanced Operations, the company’s in-house personalisation and performance department. Q Branch was responsible for developing the mighty track-only Aston Martin Vulcan, as well as the Vantage GT12 and GT8 models.
Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s chief creative officer, described the positioning of the new factory speed shop: “AMR enables us to take Aston Martin into a new dimension. One where we can turn-up the sporting DNA present in all of our models and make a true statement.
“An AMR model will have an instantly-recognisable design language. One that accentuates and amplifies, together with the latest GT race car technology for the road. They will be special and rare cars that are credible, thrilling to drive and hugely desirable to own.”
The two concept vehicles displayed in Geneva were the Rapide AMR and the Vantage AMR Pro.
Aston Martin Rapide AMR
The Rapide AMR represents what Aston Martin calls “tier one” of the AMR programme. The AMR line is aimed at a level below the Vantage GT8 and GT12 models, offering race-inspired styling and limited performance updates but stopping short of the more extreme models. The company plans an AMR version of every model in the range.
The Rapide AMR’s 6.0-litre V12 engine gets a 40hp boost over that in the regular Rapide S, up to 600hp and channelling its increased output through a new quadruple exhaust system.
Visually, the Rapide AMR is distinguished by a new front bumper/splitter/grille combo, rear bumper/diffuser and integrated rear decklid spoiler, along with a new set of 21-inch wheels. Carbon fibre is splashed across various trim bits and pieces, and the whole thing is topped off with a “vibrant” lime green stripe. Inside there is a special order of alcantara and carbon fibre, again with bright green accents.
Aston Martin describes the Rapide AMR as “a fabulous fusion of race car attitude with a luxurious crafted twist”. It has committed to a production run of 210 cars, which will presumably see the Rapide through to the end of its life cycle.
Aston Martin Vantage AMR Pro
The Vantage AMR Pro is a track-only, more extreme development over the standard production model. Power jumps from 430hp (standard Vantage S) to 507hp in the Vantage AMR Pro, using a development of the engine used by the GT4 racing Vantage.
The factory racing programme has also donated a range of components for the Pro-spec Vantage. Adjustable suspension and competition-spec solid mountings for the engine and transmission are part of the package, as are centre-lock 19-inch racing wheels with semi-slick Michelin Pilot Cup 2 tyres.
The bodywork also gets a helping hand from the championship-winning WEC team, with the bonnet and rear wing coming straight from Aston’s Le Mans challenger. This is matched with a new front bumper/splitter/valance/grille assembly, new front wings, side sills and rear bumper/diffuser. And, of course, the lime green go-fast stripe.
Step inside the Vantage AMR Pro and you will find that Q Branch has installed a bespoke roll cage, as well as lashings of carbon fibre and alcantara (with the obligatory lime green highlights).
Aston Martin has said that it plans to build “no more than seven” of the Vantage AMR Pro models. Pricing was not disclosed, but it’s reasonable to assume that you will pay a handsome sum for the privilege of a Vantage AMR Pro.
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