The new, 2013 Aston Martin Rapide S is a Very Happy Car. Just look at its face. Happy to be a part of Aston's 100th anniversary celebrations this year, and - now - happy to be making history.
How? Because Aston is preparing a very special Rapide to compete at this year's Nürburgring 24 hour race, and by special, we mean a hybrid. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Aston Martin Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S.
But, unlike the FCX Clarity, there's no fuel cell - hydrogen is burned in the Aston's V12. It's not as efficient as a hydrogen fuel cell car, but still massively reduces the carbon footprint.
Underneath, Aston - working with hydrogen experts Alset Global - has slotted in four high-strength carbon fibre tanks holding 3.5kg of hydrogen each, stored at a pressure of 350bar. Two are sat next to the driver, and two take up the boot. There's a hydrogen fuel rail linked straight into the V12, complete with the necessary engine management system to accompany, all approved by German motorsport governing body DMSB.
Feeling a shudder of concern coursing through your nervous system at the very idea? Don't panic. There's no way Aston would send its new Rapide S to the depths of (Green) Hell packed only with hope and hydrogen. No sir, it's a dual-fuel system, meaning Aston's prototype, 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12 runs on petrol too, or indeed, a combination of both.
No word on power, but the standard, naturally-aspirated Aston Rapide S pops out some 555bhp and 457lb ft of torque and hits 62mph in just 4.9 seconds. Even with the extra hydrogen on board, expect this ‘Ring Rapide to go a lot, lot faster.
Dr Bez, Aston CEO, tells us this Hybrid Rapide S "is the four-door sports car in its most versatile form." Quite. Have a peek through the pics, and let us know what you think of Aston's "amazing new technology" in the space below. Reckon it'll make it to the finish line in one piece?