QOTW #70 – V8 Vantage AMR or V12 Vantage Manual

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Welcome to BamfordRose and another question of the week. This week, it’s amr v8 vantage, and the question is, what are they all about? Is it worth the extra premium?

Crucially, are they a great sports car and a rewarding driver’s car? Short answer is they can be, and this one’s driven all the way from Germany to make it.

Although an absolutely gorgeous looking car, both interior and exterior, the Aston Martin amr v8 vantage shares powertrain, chassis suspension, handling components with a standard v8 vantage.

But with an upgraded lightweight flywheel and twin-plate clutch, and exhaust manifolds, and catalyst. The amr package can be evolved into what some argue it should have always been from production.

There were 200 amr v8 vantage made, and nowadays around 85k, we’ll see you in the sea of an almost new one from 2018, just like the one we picture here for sale. The amr cars celebrate the GTE pro victory at Le Mans, hence the amr tag given.

But unfortunately, the project was just a paint and interior trim activity on the v8 vantage, with the powertrain engine clutch brakes, suspension, steering, dampers everything a carbon copy of 4.7 or vantage S.

Which some consider to be a little bit of a letdown because the package is wrapped up in beautiful paint schemes and beautiful interior color combos? Which together with the car being a Swanson, for what is going to go down in history as one of the greatest cars ever made.

Makes owning a v8 vantage amr a really nice and exciting proposition. When the amr v8 vantage came out, it only had a 3,000-pound price increase over a base model.

So for such a small increase, perhaps the factory can be forgiven for not giving the car more power, better braking, different suspension than a standard v8 vantage. And the on cost of 3000 pounds to get this trim level, with some exterior carbon, is actually really good value in my opinion.

It’s just that typically the amr cars are going to be bought by more demanding drivers, and perhaps those drivers would have wanted a little bit more performance and dynamic capability over a standard car.

So I don’t think it’s the case that any buyer was short-changed, it’s just that I’m sure a lot of owners will be feeling left wanting more.

And more is what this car is going to get. Here’s the BamfordRose exhaust manifold catalysts, and together with ECU remap, it’s going to add approximately 50 bhp. It’s going to make that titanium exhaust note even more glorious than what it is.

And give engine acceleration and power that urgency, that sort of sports car feel, get pushed back into the seat. It’s really just that 50 bhp really just tips the balance and turns the car into a more demanding driver’s sports car. Before we go for a drive, let’s just look at the interior of this car.

Now on a previous video, perhaps criticized the touch-sensitive dash for being a little bit too high tech, and it’s an analog car.

So I prefer an analog dash. But on a previous v8 vantage classified chat that I did, I said in the amr cars; I actually prefer the touch-sensitive dash. I think it suits the style of the car better than the older analog dials and buttons.

The cabin’s just a really nice comfortable place to sit, and the color schemes work really well, in my opinion. And that’s because these colors do seem rather homely and comfortable to me.

We formed our brand identity in 2011, with blacks, light greens, and yellows being our core colors. In 2018, when amr came out with their colors, more or less identical to ours. It’s either because they’re great colors and they just gel well and look nice.

Or they recognize the considerable goodwill which we’ve generated modifying cars using that color set over the last decade. And want to pull off the coattails of it. But imitation and flattery and all that, we’ve certainly got no hard feelings.

I’m going to take this car for a short drive; just comment on its dynamics. And then what we’re going to do is jump in the seat of a 2010 era v12 vantage, which can be picked up for a lot cheaper than the asking price for this amr car. And that’s another common question that I get asked, what should I do to go for one of the last special edition v8 Vantage? Or go a bit older and get a v12 vantage.

So we’ll drive that car and just give an impression back to back. The titanium exhaust system that the amr car has got an absolute glorious bass baritone bark and no other v8 vantage starts up into life the same as this vantage does.

So we’re now on the BamfordRose loop, and we’ll experience the amr religiously sticking to speed limits.

First impression of the amr is that the huge carbon rear wing on the back really does restrict rearview. But in a car like this, who needs to look out the rearview mirror, who’s interested with what’s going on behind you?

But just take a look out the side wing mirror, and you can look behind you just to see the beauty of that carbon rear wing. So we’re now in a 2010 v12 vantage. This car is similar to the one in the advert that I show you now; the market only deems to be worth 70k. This car should be retailing for way more than 70k, and so should v12 VS that are above this car.

Six liters, naturally aspirated engine, manual gearbox, this car is a thing of the past. There will never be cars like this made again. Meaning that surely now has to represent the low point. The market’s bottomed out for v12 vantage, and it will get no lower and will only start to appreciate.

The quicker that happens, the better because this car deserves a price tag around its neck of way more than 70k, in my opinion. Compared to the amr car, this car is one heck of a lot less ostentatious.

From the outside, it really is classic and understated. That’s going to mean this v12 advantage is going to appeal to some, where the amr car is going to be a little bit too shouty.

But that’s all down to personal preference, it’s whichever style you feel most comfortable with. That’s pretty plain on the inside. We have the sport seats, which immediately as soon as you get out of the more comfortable seat of the amr car, and sit in the lightweight bucket seat, this seat really does support you.

A lot more than the standard seats and the seats that the amr has. Depending on your injuries, but given a healthy back, I think after a long journey, probably going to get out of this sports seat better off in terms of less aches and pains. Compared to the comfort seats and the seats that the amr has.

We’ve got a couple of hundred extra kilograms in the v12 vantage, engines obviously a lot heavier. I think 150 kilogram for the engine. Got 510 horsepower compared to the Amr’s 420, 430. Got calm ceramic brakes on the v12 vantage.

And I didn’t comment on it earlier on the drive of the v8 amr, but there were a couple of times where I was breaking down from speed.

And although you haven’t got brake fade, you can just feel the pedal going a bit soft. You can feel speed retardation not being as sharp or as crisp as it was at the initial part of the brake application.

But on the road, you’ve got to be pushing the car to get that amount of heat in the brakes. But it would definitely be a concern if you’re going to track the car because on those standard steels, then that definitely is going to trash a set of pads and heat fade and ruin your track day if you’re pushing the car hard enough.

I know there are those out there that say these standard steel brakes don’t suffer any heat fade at all, even on track day. But no fade on standard steals during a track day. It’s not what I’d call making good use of your track day fee.

So let’s start this v12 vantage up, that is loud mode, and it’s noticeable just stepping out the amr car, getting into the v12 vantage.

But whilst the amr car has just got this intoxicating exhaust note, this v12 almost sounds quite muted in comparison. And you notice just sitting in the amr car at tick over, just driving the car at low speed, the amr car has got some sort of ingredient X that the other cars just don’t have.

So what’s instantly apparent in the v12 vantage it’s just from a part throttle tipping, short-shifting through the gears, your shoulders are pushed back in the seat. It’s something that the v12 does that the v8 can’t get anywhere close to copying.

If you then take the v12 vantage, stretch its legs, take it up to the red line. It rewards you with a driving experience that only this v12 vantage can.

Relentless pull to the red line, which means when you go through the gears in no time at all, you are doing warp speed. Then to slow you back down, you can stand on those ceramic brakes all you want, and you never get them to heat fade.

The v12 vantage out of the box has very sporty suspension, which some owners do comment on it being a little bit too stiff. Which when you’re trying to get traction pulling away first means there’s not much weight shift to the rear wheels, and it is difficult to get traction.

We offer an electronic adaptive suspension upgrade for this car, which means that in soft mode, there’s more weight shift at pull away, meaning that it squats down on the rear. You can get traction, so you can give it a lot more welly when pulling away.

But if you just want to cruise along at slow speeds in the v12 vantage, you can, almost in stealth mode, which is something that the amr doesn’t do. You’ve got that ingredient X, that exhaust gnome.

That feeling that you’re always sat in something that’s very special. So to sum these two cars up in comparison, it is only a comparison, because this v12 vantage is on the market for 20k less than the amr cars. For the piece of history that you’re buying and what you get for your money, in my opinion, this v12 vantage should be over 100k.

And then, there is no comparison to be made because the v12 vantage is the halo, and on the price ladder, the amr is under the v12 vantage. I think in the main part, both of these cars are going to be a Sunday afternoon spirited drive car. And in terms of ticking that box, both of them clearly do.

It’s just that amr car with it’s magic ingredient X. It’s going to mean that you take the very long way home, compared to the very long way home that the v12 vantage will make you take. So if the purchase of either one of these cars was going to be a bit of track day use and a Sunday afternoon spirited drive.

Then just on the drive that I just did there. The amr car is missing the carbon-ceramic brakes that the v12 vantages has got. The stopping power of this v12 vantage, relentless stopping power without fade, is awesome, and the amr car could do with that.

Customers that experience brake fade on the amr cars with the six-piston caliper who used them on track spirited drive, we’ve improved that situation by fitting the Padget RSL 29 pad. Which, with careful use, does get over the heat fade issue. But it will never match the stopping power of the carbon ceramics fitted to the v12 vantage.

For one dedicated and committed v8 vantage owner, we have fitted retrofitted carbon-ceramic brakes to the v8 chassis. But obviously, that’s a very expensive modification. The carbon-ceramic brakes are a lot lighter than the steels. Meaning that the rotational inertia is less.

So acceleration is greatly improved as well, not just braking. The punch that the v12 motor has got is just awesome, and in the v8, you really do miss that performance car feel being pushed back in the seat.

Only ever having to really short shift through the gearbox. The 50bhp performance increases from manifolds and catalyst bridges that gap, but to equal the v12 progression, you have to stir the gearbox still, but that’s where the v8 comes into its own.

When you stir the gearbox, rev the engine to the red line, drive the car in a very precise way. You can match the point to point speed and time of the v12 vantage.

With the finesse that the v8 has got over the v12, mainly because a v12 engine is carrying about 150 kilos extra weight over the front axle, and that does make the car a bit unwieldy to handle when you are getting close to the limit.

It goes back to the comment of some cars which are slightly underpowered, when you grab them by the scruff of the neck and rev them to the red line, and drive them to their limits; it can actually return a more rewarding drive than a higher-powered car.

It’s also instantly noticeable that the amr car is a bit floaty and a bit boaty compared to the v12 vantage, but a pair of sports pack rear dampers sorts that one out.

So to piece all that lot together, if you take your standard amr and throw some carbon-ceramic brakes at it, some sport pack rear dampers, exhaust manifolds catalysts, lightweight flywheel, and twin-plate clutch, then you’ve got one heck of a car. Which probably does beat a v12 vantage in terms of driving dynamics and enjoyment.

But you’re talking 20,000 pounds worth of upgrades there, and certainly, you can get yourself into a nearly new v12 vantage S for that money. So in answer to the question which one to buy, then there is no right or wrong answer.

There’s a few different aspects, a few different features that each car offers, and it’s about choosing which ones are right for you. What’s good about the v12 vantage is that out of the box, for your 60 or 70k, which is what the market values them at the moment.

Then you get awesome brakes, sporty suspension, 510 bhp, and without modification, that package is just so rewarding and usable. Classic, understated, and absolutely nothing to criticize the car on.

With the amr, obviously getting a much newer car, it’s going to feel newer. If it’s your thing, then you get an infotainment system and a center console with much more tech. Fantastic livery, bit shouty, maybe that’s not for everyone.

An intoxicating exhaust note that just gives the car ingredient x something more than the other cars haven’t got.

And that’s something that just doesn’t want you to put that car away, just keep inventing little routes or journeys you need to go on. Just to buzz the motor through the rev range, just to listen to that glorious v8.

But because it was just a trim and a paint scheme activity for your 3000 pounds premium over a standard v8 vantage, then the driving dynamics does leave you a little bit wanting for more.

To get more, you have to spend money on upgrades, which, whilst they totally deliver the end result you’re after, means that your all up spend is considerably more than this v12 vantage that does it out of the box.

So the only obvious real answer is to buy both. Have the upgraded amr car as your track day and Sunday afternoon spirited drive and enjoyment car. And use the v12 vantage for classic GT touring. Truly love both of these cars, working on v12 vantage in prototype. If I had to make a choice, it’d be a tough one.

It’s just that amr car has got something a little bit special about it. Hope you enjoyed this week’s question of the week and an insight into the v8 vantage amr. It helps us if you can click that subscribe button, like our videos, and give a comment.

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