Aston Martin has introduced a mid-life update to the Rapide model which was originally introduced to the world market in 2010. The 2013 update consist of an exterior makeover, redeveloped powertrain, retuned suspension, re-trimmed interior and received a new moniker too, now called Rapide S.
Up front, the car received a new front fascia design, prominently differentiated from the old by the new, larger grille. The new grille is as large as the older car upper and lower grille combined, and the lower sill follows the same design trend as the new DB9.
The change was not purely aesthetic; instead it has achieved compliance with the latest European pedestrian protection regulations. The patent-pending design – which features a unique ‘keystone’ construction – enables the grille to move rearwards on impact, whilst the central and outboard chin stiffeners give rigidity to the lower structure and support achievement of the leg impact regulations. Cut-outs on the front wing catwalks contribute to the achievement of the headform regulation.
The solution means Aston Martin can remain true to its design ethos, and avoid the use of plastic grilles and nose cone bumpers that stretch up in front of the bonnet.
The redesigned front end is matched at the back by a striking new rear deck profile which includes a more pronounced boot lid ‘flip’. The aerodynamic and aesthetic upgrades both reinforce the sporting nature of new Rapide S and work to counteract lift at higher speeds.
The interior is enhanced with the new piano black interior pack that adds a deep, rich, mirror-like shine to the facia, transmission tunnel centre plate and door handles of the Rapide S. A darker surround in the instrument binnacle and steering wheel with black horn-push surround round off the pack’s sumptuous additions. Luxurious blend headlinings in either tan or grey emphasise the luxury still further inside. More details and photos can be found after the jump.
The engine has been suitably enhanced too. The 5,935cc naturally aspirated V12 now boasts fully CNC machined combustion chambers, hollowed camshafts, dual variable camshaft timing and knock sensing are featured. Power from the new engine jumps significantly versus that of its predecessor: up by 17% or a massive 81PS from 477PS@6,000 rpm to a now very substantial 558PS@6,750 rpm. Peak torque increases, too, up from 600Nm to 620Nm at 5,000 rpm. Despite the increased in power, the engine is now even more efficient too, Rapide S is appreciably more economical than before. CO2 emissions drop by seven per cent – from 355 g/km to 332 g/km – while fuel economy now stands at 19.9 mpg on the official EU combined cycle.
Naturally, increases in power and torque lead to even swifter performance as befits a four-door sports car. New Rapide S sprint to 100km/h in 4.9s, some 0.3s has been shaved from before. Top speed is 304km/h.
Typical of Aston Martin product, Rapide S sits on VH platform, now in its Gen4 iterations. As such, the new car of course benefits from many elements of the current Gen4 VH architecture. The new AM11 engine – a key Gen4 component – has been lowered by 19 mm versus the position of the powerplant in the previous car, with a corresponding reduction in the sports car’s centre of gravity. The changes also lead to a tangible improvement in front end turn-in.
The car also benefits from the latest Gen4 iteration of Aston Martin’s hi-tech Adaptive Damping System (ADS). The system now offers three distinct settings: ‘Normal’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Track’, with the character of each being tailored to the nature of Rapide S.
As luxurious as it is thrilling, the new car now boasts a host of new luxury- or sports-orientated options, allowing buyers to more precisely tailor the car to their specific style. The new optional Carbon Exterior Pack is available, with carbon fibre fashioned front splitter, rear diffuser, mirror caps and rear lamp infills.
The new Aston Martin Rapide S will be available to order through the brand’s 146 dealers worldwide next month with prices to be close to the current car. Small gallery below: