Car news

24 January 2013

It's the new Aston Martin Rapide S

More power, more luxury and much more face: four door Aston revealed

Vijay Pattni
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It's Aston Martin's 100th anniversary this year, and clearly, this new Rapide is very excited about the prospect. Just look at that face.

Actually, really look at that face, because it's a new one, sitting on an updated version of Aston's rather delectable four door Rapide. It's now called the Rapide S, and features a host of improvements.

The most important of which is underneath the bonnet. Aston has revised its fabulous 6.0-litre V12 (dubbed the AM11) engine to the tune of 555bhp - some 17 per cent more than before.

Torque jumps to 620Nm too, up from 600, and as such, the new Rapide S will accelerate from 0-100kph in 4.9 seconds, 0.3 seconds quicker than before. Remember, the battle for car park superiority is won or lost in tenths. Top speed rises to 305kph.

Aston has used its racing V12 technology for this new generation engine, including CNC machined combustion chambers and lighter cams. It's also more efficient - CO2 drops to 332g/km from 335g/km while economy rises to 8.4kpl. Though if you've ever experienced an Aston V12 in anger, good luck achieving a figure like that...

Aston has lowered this naturally aspirated V12 by 19mm up front, thus dropping the centre of gravity which they claim helps front end turn in, while there are also improvements to the stability control and adaptive damping. You get 'normal', 'sport' and 'track' modes, and you don't need us to tell you which mode to Sellotape permanently.

Aston product development chef Ian Minards tells us "transmission calibration, ADS refinement, braking capability and engine output optimisation are among the many ‘ingredients' which the team here at Gaydon have used to create a sports car of unerring quality and excitement." Quite.

There's a new piano black interior pack, with darker instrument surrounds and finer headlining, there have been improvements to the noise, vibration and harshness levels (NVH), and you can even engage your inner James Bond by asking the 'Q' division to personalise the interior to your exact preferences. Marvellous.

So how about that face then? There have been revisions to the back too, and overall it is still a lovely looking thing, but are we alone in thinking the outgoing Rapide had a bit more elegance? Prices will be announced next month, but for now, discuss: old or new?

Tags: aston martin, rapide, rapide s

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