Aston Martin DB11 AMR: The Jalopnik Review

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The 2020 Aston Martin DB11 AMR reintroduced me to a cool class of performance car: Hot-version GTs. This is a comfortable, high-speed, high-stability luxury touring car with stiffening tweaks to make it aggressive. The concept seems slightly counterintuitive but it works. It really, really works.

(Full Disclosure: Aston Martin let me borrow this for a week with the stipulation that I didn’t put more than 300 miles on it. That was tough to do, I won’t lie!)

(Testing Conditions: Some city driving. A little highway cruising. One wild ride across Ojai’s Route 33 and other nearby twisties with my fellow Motoring Club members in their own cars.)

2020 Aston Martin DB11 AMR Explained

Illustration for article titled Aston Martin DB11 AMR: The Jalopnik Review
Photo: Andrew P Collins

The DB11 is the current quintessential Aston Martin. Clean, rakish design wrapped around a beautiful interior that’s sporty without being in-your-face about it. It’s very James Bondy which is, of course, exactly what Aston was going for.

I’ve driven and written about various versions of this car before. There was a V12, a V8, convertibles, and now the AMR (un-creatively denoting “Aston Martin Racing, along with the subdivision’s signature highlighter green trim) is the top of the range.

The performance claims are appropriately superlative for a $200,000 car: Top speed is 208 mph, 0 to 62 mph (100 kph) in a vulgar 3.7 seconds. Aston says the AMR tune on the 5.2-liter twin turbo V12 cranks output to 630 brake horsepower.

It’s a big car, or at least, a long one, at about 187 inches bow-to-stern with a 4,134-pound curb weight. But it doesn’t feel unwieldy even when it’s being shunted pretty hard through rapid directional changes.

To put it plainly, you’re looking at a superbly comfortable touring car made just a little more biased toward responsiveness and a lot more powerful than its eight-cylinder stablemate. It’s still a GT, it’s just got a little more attitude which pays you back in consistency and confidence in hard driving.

Top Takeaways

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Photo: Andrew P Collins

I don’t know who had the final sign-off on selecting highlighter green (yellow?) as AMR’s trim color, but, good for them. It’s bold as hell, borderline wacky, but it’s unique and it doesn’t look bad.

The bright brake calipers look amazing against black wheels and a white car, and even the bright striping on the khaki-colored interior is pretty cool looking.

I fucking loved driving this car simply because it’s very, very comfortable and easy to drive while being plenty rewarding hard-charging backroads. Great braking, abundant power, and above all else, exceptional stability.

What Stands Out

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Photo: Andrew P Collins

The DB11 AMR’s level of grip surprised me, especially considering how nice the ride quality is. It doesn’t feel like any GT-car smoothness has been sacrificed, the car’s taut float is just... perfect. Did I mention that I loved driving this thing?

The heavy-duty paddle shifters are satisfying enough to snap shifts with to be a highlight of the interior, but really the whole cockpit design (and smell, my god!) is really delightful.

I’m sure you won’t be surprised to read that expensive cars use high-quality leather but the stuff I’ve seen swaddling Aston Martin drivers is on another level of softness and richness in scent.

What’s Weak

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Photo: Andrew P Collins

So there I was in this DB11 AMR, tailing another test pilot in a BMW 8-Series and leading a McLaren 720S into a particularly fun set of turns in southern California.

It’s empty out there; the Beamer disappears. I step in on the gas pedal a little and swing through the day’s first fast corner. While the Aston’s tires and chassis were clearly nowhere near their limits, the car’s cupholder was immediately overwhelmed.

“Gah!”

My chrome coffee up was ejected into my lap, soaking my crouch in delicious hot liquid. Hot. Did I mention hot?

My wife laughed at me from the passenger seat while I held the car through the turn and grunted a manly man grunt. Just kidding, I squealed and cried and begged the coffee gods for mercy but just had to hang on and focus on keeping the car under control until the road went straight again.

At that point I used my face mask, the only piece of clothing I had not scalding me at the moment, to mop up what I could. Fortunately my skin and pants soaked up all of the stains and the leather was untainted... but I smelled strongly of French roast until a few hours later when I caught a shower at home.

All this to say: The DB11’s cupholder imparts a sense of security with its little cup-grabbing clip but it is not to be trusted.

On a completely unrelated note, the Mercedes-derived infotainment feels pretty dated and janky to me. But the driving experience is so nice I’m not going to sweat big pixels on a small screen.

Safety

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Photo: Andrew P Collins

The IIHS and NHTSA haven’t taken it upon themselves to publish crash-test ratings for the DB11. It doesn’t seem like the European agencies have done so either.

You do get airbags in the thing, though. Knee airbags, Pelvis and Thorax seat-mounted airbags in addition to one in the steering wheel and dashboard, as a matter of fact.

Jalopnik Recommended Options

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Photo: Andrew P Collins

The main AMR looks are green (AMR Heritage) or white (AMR Mont Blanc), the latter of which we tested here. It looks incredible, and I probably won’t mess with the loadout Aston Martin picked for this loaner car: Tan inside, white-on-black outside, splashes of laser-colored AMR trim.

Aston Martin does offer a pretty impressive palette of color options though, so if you’re baller enough to build and price one out for real, take your time.

I like the matched luggage you can order on Aston’s site. $5,200 for a set of four empty duffle bags? Why not!

Class And Competition

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Photo: Andrew P Collins

Let’s see what else you might think about spending $200,000 on. The Bentley Continental GT might be more comfortable, but it’s definitely not as elegant. The Ferrari Roma and McLaren GT might be sportier alternatives, but I haven’t driven either, so I couldn’t give you much insight there.

The DB11 AMR kind of sits between Mercedes’ AMG GT and SL63 AMG, so maybe something to look at if you’re in that market. I guess a Rolls-Royce Wraith could even be considered a rival here, though like the Bentley, that’s going to be happier cruising than canyon carving.

Really, there are plenty of fast and comfortable cars in the $200,000 neighborhood and none of them suck. At this level, you’re just picking which brands you like. But while some of these cars edge more toward speed or comfort, the DB11 AMR splits the differences nicely.

Verdict

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Photo: Andrew P Collins

I climbed into this car feeling like the standard DB11 is a great swift luxury touring car, so, why ruin it with weirdly colored accents and stiffer suspension? But after about 300 miles of city, highway, backroad, and mountain driving I’m thoroughly impressed and still missing this car months after borrowing it.

The DB11 manages to be beautiful while stopping well short of obnoxious, even with the green pieces, and it’s effortlessly joyful no matter what speed you’re driving it at.

Just be careful with that cupholder.

More Pictures

My go-to car picture repository, NetCarShow, has an extensive album of DB11 AMR pictures. You should be able to get a look at anything I missed there for sure. Or you can go on Aston Martin’s own media site and see albums of this car in the Middle East, in England, painted in China Grey, or rocking green-on-green.

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik | 1975 International Scout, 1984 Nissan 300ZX, 1991 Suzuki GSXR, 1998 Mitsubishi Montero, 2005 Acura TL

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DISCUSSION

majordawlish
MaximilianMeen

My chrome coffee up was ejected into my lap, soaking my crouch in delicious hot liquid. Hot. Did I mention hot?

Are you still wasting time with those damn overrated Yeti mugs that don’t have a sealing top? I’ve told you this before and I’m gonna keep telling you until you get it through yer diesel and dust addled brain! Contigo travel mugs!!! These things are the best. Easy one-hand push-to-sip operation and you can fling all across the floorboard with nary a drop leaking out.

Next time The Inventory list these things, buy one. You might get a $0.002 bonus!