I awaken at the Dorint Hotel on a cool, dewy May morning. The surface of the famed Nürburgring-Nordschleife rests just a few feet outside my window, and it, as well as the plentiful surrounding greenery, is shrouded in a pea soup fog.
Mid-May shouldn’t be this cold. The temperature struggles to hit 50 degrees. In a perfect universe, the sun breaks through the fog so I can test the new top performer in the Aston Martin DB11 range, the 2019 DB11 AMR, on the most revered and challenging racetrack in the world.
Aston Martin didn’t invite journalists here to drive on the ‘Ring. Instead, we’re using the newly inaugurated AMR Performance Center as the base of operations for a drive on local roads. Still cool, but not the drive of my dreams.
CHECK OUT: 2017 Aston Martin DB11 first drive review
The Nurburgring as viewed from a room in the Dorint Hotel.Enlarge Photo
“I’d take a DB11 to get to the ‘Ring, then I’d jump in a Vantage to go around the ‘Ring,” Paul Barritt, Aston Martin’s GT vehicle line director, told Motor Authority.
This despite the fact that by applying the AMR badge to the V-12 version of the DB11, Aston Martin is signaling it’s the best performer in the DB11 range.
AMR may stand for Aston Martin Racing, but it doesn’t mean the cars move the needle forward like AMG versions of Mercedes or BMW’s M models. Here, it’s applied to the V-12 version of the DB11 because it’s the fastest version. AMR Pro models will come closer to that mark.
The 2019 DB11 AMR remains a grand tourer meant for gobbling up vast stretches of road, not racetracks. Aston Martin refers to it as “continent-crushing” performance.
I settle into the new alpha Aston and I’m immediately treated to a sportier experience. I grip a new squared off leather sport steering wheel, and my backside is held more firmly in place thanks to the addition of alcantara patches on the bolsters and seatbacks.
That will all help on the consolation prize that is the local roads in and around the small town of Nürburg. Set among heavily forested, hilly, green terrain, this region is like a mix of upstate New York and the northern, less populated areas of Michigan and Wisconsin…only the roads tend to twist and turn more. I’ll take it.
Aston Martin chose these roads to show off the continuous improvements it has made to the V-12 version of the DB11. That’s impressive because when the company released the car in 2016, it pulled off quite a feat. Aston Martin created a car whose performance and comfort envelopes far exceeded its predecessor.
Now, Aston Martin has unlocked more performance without sacrificing comfort.
The roads here wind in and out of small towns, with stints on city streets, country roads, in the hills, and even onto the autobahn.