If there are one or two things the Rapide wasn’t short of, it sure wasn’t looks or power. On the other hand, the upper echelons of the luxury four-door sedan segment are becoming more crowded by the day and Aston Martin’s offering, which is already three years old, isn’t getting any younger.
Thus, the Gaydon-based manufacturer developed the Rapide S, a more powerful (by a significant 17 percent), redesigned and re-engineered version of its sports sedan.
For starters, there’s more power as the new model gets 550HP (565PS) and 620 Nm (457 lb-ft) of torque, up from its predecessor’s 470HP and 600 Nm (443 lb-ft) respectively. This increase comes courtesy of a reworked version of the new AM11 6.0-liter V12 that sits 19mm lower in the chassis and boasts dual variable camshaft timing, CNC machined combustion chambers and hollow camshafts after lessons learned by the brand’s motorsport activities.
As a result, the new Rapide S accelerates from 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in just 4.7 seconds, or 0.4 seconds faster than the model it replaces, and tops out at 190 mph (305 km/h). At the same time, CO2 emissions have dropped, too, by 7 percent, to 332 g/km.
Like all current Astons (OK, bar the Cygnet), it is based on the VH platform that’s made of extruded aluminum with the body constructed from aluminum, magnesium alloys and composites. Power is directed to the rear 20-inch wheels via the electronically-controlled “Touchtronic 2” six-speed auto transmission with paddle shifts and through a carbon fiber propeller shaft, while a limited-slip diff enhances traction.
The Rapide S also gets a revised version of the electronic stability control and the latest iteration of the Adaptive Damping System (ADS). The latter now has three distinct settings, named Normal, Sport and Track) for the driver to choose from.
The cabin sports a new piano black interior trim and an optional Duotone perforated leather pack. Aston Martin says that the individual rear seats are “capable of accommodating adults in a uniquely sporting fashion” – others have used less flattering terms but at least they fold down at the touch of a button, increasing the luggage space three-fold.
There’s also a Carbon Exterior Pack, consisting of a front splitter, mirror covers and rear diffuser made from carbon fiber, while the “Q by Aston Martin” division will happily oblige and customize the Rapide S to your liking.
“It is a four-door sports car that uniquely combines luxury, style and sporting excitement in Aston Martin’s most flexible and accommodating silhouette”, said company CEO Ulrich Bez. “Purity of proportion and exceptional elegance are mixed with truly sensational dynamic performance – this is the four-door sports car in its most versatile form and I am sure our customers around the world are going to love it!”
You can view an image gallery and video of the new Rapide S after the break.
By Andrew Tsaousis