There are plenty of impressive statistics supporting the notion that the 2018 Aston Martin DB11 AMR is a world-class GT car.

Let’s start with the numbers, as good a place as any when the topic at hand is high performance. First: There’s the twin-turbo 5.2L V12 that now churns out 630 horsepower, a boost of 30 markers over the launch edition of the DB11 V12, which the AMR replaces.

Although engine torque for the latest DB11 remains the same at 516 lb-ft, the aforementioned power gain, allied to a differently calibrated ZF 8-speed automatic transmission, allows the new model to slice 0.2 seconds off the 0-100 km/h time. That measure is now pegged at 3.7 seconds for the DB11 AMR, while top speed rolls in at a staggering 335 km/h. To cap it all off nicely, the exhaust note of the V12 has received some massaging, becoming a little more raucous in the process.

The global press launch for the DB11 AMR was staged at the Aston Martin Racing (AMR) Performance Centre at the infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife. Tellingly, though, there was no track time allocated for the new model. Although the AMR badge and the numbers suggest a certain level of capability, the DB11 AMR is still a purebred GT car and not a racecar.

This launch experience was a vivid contrast to the introduction of the Aston Martin V12 Vantage back in 2010: At this prior event, guests had the chance to experience the car on the Nordschleife and on the wildly entertaining roads of the Mosel Valley. During that drive, a certain section of autobahn allowed yours truly to crest 300 km/h for the first time—ever. Later, on the track, the V12 Vantage and I got some air over the crest approaching Brünchen. These kinds of experience are not easily replicated, let alone surpassed.

In retrospect, the test of the DB11 AMR was similar in certain ways, diverse in others. The drive route was close to the same, the lunch location exactly the same, but the circumstances were different. Roadwork and some navigation system-bending detours made the drive route congested and eliminated the chance for an autobahn blast. Of course, any drive of a $250,00+ grand tourer can’t be considered a hardship—and the DB11 AMR is definitely no exception to this particular rule.

There’s no replacement for a V12 engine, regardless of what some may say. This configuration doesn’t necessarily produce quicker acceleration times than other engine types, but the feeling of seemingly endless reserves of power is irreplaceable. And when that V12 is leveraged into a GT car, road manners are probably the next most important consideration: Effortless high-speed cruising is the goal, not nerve-wracking, edge-of-your-seat antics.

So, in the development of the DB11 AMR, there’s been significant retuning of the chassis and suspension system, which has been led by chief engineer Matt Becker. The man formerly responsible for the telepathic handling of the current crop of Lotus vehicles, the amiable Englishman knows his stuff. On the walk to dinner at the legendary Pistenklause restaurant in Nürburg, he noted that owners of the previous DB11 V12 were unsettled with the feeling of the back end during spirited cornering. This feeling was amplified when people had the chance to sample the V8 version, which many drivers tended to prefer over the DB11 V12. This feedback led Becker and his team to push for more power from the V12 and sharper response to handle the increased performance. The consensus is: mission accomplished.

The DB11 is, of course, the model that triggered what has been an incredible return to the highest levels of exclusivity and performance for Aston Martin. The original V12 version was introduced just two years ago. Yet, since then, the British brand has launched the DB11 V8 Coupe and V8 Volante, the all-new DBS Superleggera and an all-new Vantage that is earning accolades around the world. This list doesn’t include their special editions or hypercars—those are topics for another time.

The engineering of the DB11 has been critical to this comeback, but so has the styling. With more resources now available to Marek Reichman and the design team, the days of various Aston Martin models looking too similar are gone. There are styling cues that show a family resemblance still, but you’d have to be ocularly challenged to now mistake a DB11 for a DBS or a Vantage.

Without question, the original DB11 set a furious pace for the brand’s design language and the enhancements on the DB11 AMR have furthered the effort. The brightwork found on the original version (and still used on the V8) has been swapped out for a more sinister treatment. The effect of the dark headlights, front grille, tail lights and tailpipes—combined with the gloss black roof, side sills and front splitter—give the DB11 AMR a far more sinister look. It’s effective and, when taken in consideration with the increased power and improved handling, makes this DB11 a fully realized effort.

TECH SPECS

  • 2018 Aston Martin DB11 AMR

Base price

  • $289,200

Engine

  • Twin-turbocharged 5.2L V12

Transmission / Drive

  • Eight-speed automatic / Rear-wheel drive

Fuel economy (mpg)

  • 15 (City); 21 (Hwy); 17 (Combined)

Alternatives

  • Bentley Continental GT
  • Ferrari Portofino
  • Maserati GranTurismo
  • Mercedes-AMG SL65