Aston Martin began making a name for itself in the four-door, luxury sedan market as early as 1961, when the Lagonda Rapide was launched. Its successor — the iconic Lagonda — came 15 years later and survived until 1990 as one of the most expensive saloons in the world. It took Aston Martin nearly 20 years to develop a spiritual successor to the Lagonda, which was introduced in 2010 under the Rapide nameplate. Initially powered by a 5.9-liter V-12 rated at 470 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, the Rapide became the Rapide S in 2013, when a engine tuning, which was part of a facelift, increased output to 550 ponies and 457 pound-feet. Drivetrain enhancements also brought significant improvements in the performance and emissions department, further increasing the Rapide’s appeal. Although the sedan remained largely unchanged for the 2014 model year, a 2015 update brought important under-the-skin modifications and new color options inside and out.
Minor power gains and an all-new transmission account for a significant increase in performance, as both acceleration and top speed figures have been largely improved.
Update 8/6/2014: Aston Martin released information regarding the updated 2015 Rapide S. It has no real design changes of note, but it does see a massive upgrade in performance.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Aston Martin Rapide S and the changes introduced for the 2015 model year.
As far as new paint colors are concerned, customers can now have their Rapide S dressed in a hot Diavolo Red exterior, a hue previously limited to the Aston Martin V12 Zagato
When compared to the previous model, in the new Rapide S’ engine has been lowered by 19 millimeters (0.74 inches), so a few changes were required on the car’s exterior. These updates include a new bonnet, new front bumper construction and new grille.
Aston Martin is also offering an optional Carbon Exterior Pack which includes front splitter, rear diffuser, mirror caps and rear lamp infills made of carbon fiber.
New for 2015
Visual upgrades are quite limited for the 2015 model year and bring only a new set of wheels and body-color options. The new forged alloy rollers feature a sexy ten-spoke design and can be ordered in a variety of finishes. As far as new paint colors are concerned, customers can now have their Rapide S dressed in a hot Diavolo Red exterior, a hue previously limited to the Aston Martin V12 Zagato.
2014- 2015 Aston Martin Rapide S - Exterior Dimensions
|Length||5019 MM (197.6 In)|
|Width||1929 MM (75.9 In) excluding mirrors; 2140 MM (84.3”) including mirrors|
|Height||1360 MM (53.5 In)|
|Wheelbase||2989 MM (117.7 In)|
|Weight||1990 KG (4387 Lbs.)|
|Weight Distribution||51%/49% (Front/Rear)|
The options list features a new two-tone leather seat finish that blends Sahara Tan and Vibrant Red
For the interior, Aston Martin is offering new luxury and sports-orientated options, starting with a new, piano-black interior pack that adds a mirror-like shine to the fascia, transmission tunnel center plate and door handles. These new elements have been combined with darker surrounds in the instrument binnacle and steering wheel with black horn-push surrounds.
There is also an optional duo-tone combination of perforated red-and-black leather. The rear seats can be folded at the push of a button and they allow increased load space.
New for 2015
New leather trim color options are added for 2015, including the classic blue-black Dark Knight and the flashy Fandango Pink. The options list now also features a new, two-tone leather seat finish that blends Sahara Tan and Vibrant Red. Further customization features include various headlining options that mix quilting, the finest cow hide and Alcantara.
Other optional features:
- Reversing camera
- Twin-screen rear-seat entertainment system with wireless headphones, remote control and six-disc DVD changer
- "Q by Aston Martin" service which offers uniquely-tailored options for individualization
Performance improvements for 2015 are quite dramatic, as the sedan is able to reach 60 mph from a standing start in only 4.2 seconds
On the exterior and the interior changes are quite limited, but there are tons of updates under the hood. In here, Aston Martin placed a new version of the new AM11 naturally-aspirated 5.9-liter V-12 engine that delivers 17 percent more horsepower and 3 percent more torque than the previous version.
As a result, customers will now enjoy a total of 550 horsepower at 6,750 rpm and a peak torque of 457 pound-feet delivered at 5,000 rpm. Thanks to the extra 81 horsepower, the new Rapide S will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds (down from 5.2 seconds) and will go up to a top speed of 190 mph.
The improved V-12 engine received CNC-machined combustion chambers and dual variable camshaft timing, knock sensing, and a fully catalyzed stainless steel exhaust system.
The model has also received an improved dynamic stability control (DSC), which now offers three distinct settings: “Normal,” “Sport” and “Track.” These three settings are determined by an electronic control unit which takes sensor readings from the car’s systems, including throttle position, brake position, steering wheel rotation and vehicle speed.
New for 2015
Although the 5.9-liter V-12 remained unaltered, an all-new engine management system and a revised exhaust helped increase the Rapide’s output to 552 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. That accounts for only two extra ponies and eight pound-feet of twist, but performance improvements are quite dramatic, as the sedan is able to reach 60 mph from a standing start in only 4.2 seconds, a half-second faster than last year’s model.
Responsible for this massive improvement is the brand-new Touchtronic III eight-speed automatic transmission, which has been incorporated for the first time into a transaxle layout. The unit also comes with new gearing and final drive ratio, making the Rapide S not only quicker, but more fuel efficient and environmentally friendlier too. Consumption drops by a whopping 13 percent, while CO2 emissions are reduced by about ten percent. The all-new gearbox and its tweaked internals also enable the Rapide S to reach a top speed in excess of 200 mph, a first for the sedan.
2014 - 2015 Aston Martin Rapide S - Drivetrain/Specifications
|Type||All-alloy, quad overhead camshaft, 48-valve, 5935 cc V12|
|Drivetrain||Front mid-mounted engine, rear-wheel drive|
|Exhaust system||Fully catalyzed stainless steel exhaust system with active bypass valves|
|Max power||550 - 552 HP @ 6650 RPM|
|Max torque||457 - 465 LB-FT @ 5500 RPM|
|Acceleration 0-60 mph||4.2 - 4.7 seconds|
|Top speed||190 - 203 mph|
The 2015 Aston Martin Rapide S is scheduled to go on sale in the third quarter of 2014. Pricing will be announced at a later date and we’ll be right back with an update as soon as the Brits spill the beans.
|Model Year||Base MSRP|
Thanks to the extra 81 horsepower in 2014 and the extra two ponies in 2015, the new Aston Martin Rapide S has moved upmarket and it now targets high-end versions of the previous Rapide competitors. For example, the new Rapide S has been put next to the Porsche Panamera Turbo.
The Panamera Turbo S model is powered by a 4.8-liter, V-8 turbocharged engine that produces 520 horsepower and a peak torque of 516.3 pound-feet. It can hit a top speed of 189 mph and sprints from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds. As you can see, the Rapide S hangs in total power and luxury, but in terms of acceleration, it barely loses out to the Porsche.
Gallery Porsche Panamera
The Rapide S can also be considered a serious competitor for the Mercedes CLS63 AMG. In 2015, the CLS63 AMG makes use of a 5.5-liter, biturbo V-8 that produces 557 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque in its base model. In its S-Model guise, the 5.5-liter engine is cranked up to 585 horses and 590 pound-feet. The CLS63 AMG is not only more powerful than the Rapide S, but it is also a lot quicker, as its base model sprints to 60 mph in just 3.87 seconds, while the S-Model does the same sprint in 3.6 seconds.
U.S. pricing is not available yet, but in the UK the CLS63 AMG S-Model goes for £86,500, which converts to 145,778 as of 8/6/2014.
Gallery Mercedes CLS63 AMG
Already a capable sports sedan that features class-leading luxury, the Aston Martin Rapide S just became more appealing, thanks to its brand-new eight-speed autobox and updated internals. Although it’s capable enough against the Porsche Panamera or range-topping AMG-built Mercs, it falls short when pricing is brought into the equation.
- Delivers more power
- A lot faster than previous version
- New optional features
- We would have appreciated an improved appearance
- Likely very expensive
Gallery Aston Martin Rapide S
The stunning new Aston Martin Rapide S is making its debut with yet more luxury and yet more power on offer in its quintessentially elegant four-door silhouette.
The iconic British car maker’s new luxury GT has been sympathetically redesigned andpainstakingly re-engineered to reassert its position as the world’s most beautiful, and beautifully balanced, four-seat sports car.
Aside from the extensive design and engineering improvements, the luxurious new Rapide S – which replaces the outgoing Rapide in markets worldwide – is now even more refined thanks to a range of additions to the four-seater’s sumptuous interior.
Still instantly recognisable as an Aston Martin, of course, the new Rapide S now boasts an imposing and assertive new ‘face’, created by virtue of the impressive and striking new full grille.
Imbuing the new car with an even more sporting, forceful demeanour, the revised front end design 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.
Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ulrich Bez said: “The Rapide S is to me, without doubt, the most beautiful four-door sports car on the market today. This is, very clearly, the power of luxury in action.
“The car’s stunning visual appeal is now matched by a much more powerful and yet more efficient engine – our exceptional new AM11 V12 – which increases massively both the excitement and performance potential of the Rapide S.
“It is a four-door sports car that uniquely combines luxury, style and sporting excitement in Aston Martin’s most flexible and accommodating silhouette. 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!”
Engineered to excel
Changes under the new Rapide’s skin are comprehensive, with a version of the new AM11 naturally-aspirated 6.0-litre V12 powerplant delivering unprecedented power and improved in-gear acceleration.
Power from the new engine jumps significantly versus that of its predecessor: up by 17% or a massive 81 PS from 477 PS at 6,000 rpm to a now very substantial 558 PS at 6,750 rpm.
Peak torque increases, too, up from 600 Nm to 620 Nm at 5,000 rpm. Meanwhile an even more marked improvement in torque occurs lower down the rev range, as pulling power rises by more than 40 Nm between idle and 4,000 rpm with an additional 50 Nm available at 2,500 rpm.
Naturally, increases in power and torque lead to even swifter performance as befits a four-door sports car. New Rapide S shaves 0.3 seconds off its 0-62 mph time, which drops from the 5.2 seconds of the current car to just 4.9 seconds for the new model. Top speed climbs, meanwhile, to 190 mph.
The 5,935 cc naturally aspirated V12 boasts race car technology – developments derived directly from Aston Martin Racing’s successful WEC GT campaign – to maximise both performance and efficiency. The new AM11 engine thus boasts fully CNC machined combustion chambers and lighter, hollow, cam shafts.
Dual variable camshaft timing, knock sensing, even the fully catalysed stainless steel exhaust system – these are all engineering advances developed to preserve the V12’s position as a mainstay of the Aston Martin range.
The engine is now even more efficient, too. Despite the very significant increase in peak power and torque, the 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.
A product of the latest generation of Aston Martin’s world-renowned VH engineering philosophy, which debuted in 2003, the new car of course benefits from many elements of the current Gen4 VH architecture.
The carefully conceived engineering changes continue as the new Rapide now offers even sharper agility and even quicker responses to driver input. 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 – no mean feat for a car that was already acknowledged as a leader in dynamic performance.
Aston Martin engineers at the company’s global HQ in Gaydon have worked to revise the car’s dynamic stability control (DSC) in line with its significant increases in both power and torque.
As befits the more sporting nature of new Rapide S the car 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.
The ADS automatically alters the suspension settings to ensure the driver has high levels of control at all times, with the ability to respond quickly to different driving conditions. The different damping modes help to significantly broaden the character of the Rapide S, adapting its set-up to suit the driver’s precise requirements. Thus it can be a luxurious GT car in Normal mode with the capacity to morph into a more assertive sports car in Sport and Track modes.
The damper settings are determined by an electronic control unit which takes sensor readings from the car’s systems, including throttle position, brake position, steering wheel rotation and vehicle speed. This data establishes the prevailing driving conditions and the demands the driver is making on the car.
Head of Product Development at Aston Martin, Ian Minards, explains: “Growing the power in a luxury sports car is all very well, but maximising control and ‘usability’ of that increased power is, just as much, the engineers’ challenge.
“Balance, poise and control are the keys to a successful sports car and the dynamic improvements we have made with Rapide S showcase our efforts to make this not just the most beautiful, but also the most beautifully balanced, car in its class.”
He added: “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.”
Meanwhile, as with the new DB9, the new Rapide S achieves compliance with the latest European pedestrian protection regulations courtesy of its innovative new front grille design.
The lowered engine, new bonnet, new front bumper construction and new grille combine to deliver a uniquely innovative approach to pedestrian impact protection.
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.
First class cabin
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, for instance, immediately dials up the Rapide’s sporting attitude. Front splitter, rear diffuser, mirror caps and rear lamp infills all fashioned from carbon fibre clearly signal the sporting nature of this 558 PS four-seater.
More pronounced luxury, on the other hand, comes from 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.
As would be expected of a modern Aston Martin, handcrafting is the order of the day in the Rapide S with the standard-fit pure glass transmission selector switches in the centre console one small yet important example of the truly authentic, bespoke, nature of the car’s cabin.
However those with a desire for a more sporting ambience in their sports car will not be disappointed. Optional duotone perforated red and black leather makes its Aston Martin debut here – delivering a captivating visual combination that’s unique to the new Rapide S.
Luxury is enhanced by the removal of extraneous ‘noise’ and the enhancement of desirable ‘sound’ – a fine distinction but one that helps the new car deliver an aural experience like no other. Improved NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) characteristics are derived from the likes of the new bonnet lining and revised windscreen cowl.
Flexibility comes in the form of four seats – the rearmost two capable of accommodating adults in a uniquely sporting setting – while at the touch of a button the individual back seats fold down to almost triple the Aston Martin’s load space.
Options to further enhance the luxurious look and feel of the Rapide S include, subject to market, a reversing camera and twin screen rear seat entertainment system with wireless headphones, remote control and six-disc DVD changer.
Those seeking the ultimate in luxury and personalisation can also consider the ‘Q by Aston Martin’ service which offers uniquely-tailored options for individualisation. The Q service focuses on fashioning colour and materials with limitless boundaries precisely to customer choice and specification, enabling owners to give free rein to the creativity and indulge their desire for bespoke luxury.
The new Aston Martin Rapide S will be available to order through the brand’s 146 dealers worldwide next month with prices confirmed closer to the on-sale date.
Press Release - August 6, 2014
Aston Martin is today revealing details of a raft of important enhancements to two of the brand’s most popular and successful sports cars: the Vanquish ultimate GT and Rapide S four-door, four-seat, sports car.
With the arrival of 15 Model Year (15MY) cars in markets around the world over the next few months, the luxury British brand is offering not only considerably enhanced performance and much-improved fuel economy and emissions, but also an even more honed, precise and responsive driving experience.
With the debut of the new Touchtronic III eight-speed automatic gearbox in both Vanquish and Rapide S – the first time that this state-of-the-art gearbox has been incorporated into a transaxle layout – Aston Martin is improving every major area of the cars’ performance and fuel economy. The brand’s engineers have worked meticulously with technical partner, ZF, to develop the eight-speed technology and integrate it perfectly into the latest generation of the iconic and much-imitated Aston Martin VH architecture.
The 0-60 mph times for both the Vanquish and Rapide S are reduced in 15MY cars: The Vanquish drops from 4.1 seconds to just 3.6 seconds (3.8 seconds 0-100 km/h) and the Rapide S is capable of the same sprint in only 4.2 seconds (4.4 seconds 0-100 km/h) – also down by a full half second from its previous figure of 4.7 seconds. These impressive gains not only ensure the cars’ exceptional competitiveness in their respective sectors, but also confirm Vanquish as the quickest accelerating series production Aston Martin in the company’s 101-year history.
Changes to gear and final drive ratios allow the cars to be not only quicker but also more frugal, with reduced emissions too. In both sports cars the CO2 figure drops by an average of ten per cent – down to 298 g/km for Vanquish and 300 g/km for Rapide S – while economy is boosted to 31 mpg, on average an 11% improvement, on the EU’s extra urban cycle for both the Vanquish and the Rapide S under the same stringent test conditions.
Combined with a revised final drive, the ratio changes also mean both cars are, for the first time, now capable of top speeds of 200 mph or above.
A reduction in exhaust gas back pressure as a result of ratio adjustment and other changes also benefits peak power, which rises by up to three bhp to a peak of 568 bhp (576 PS) in Vanquish, and two bhp, 552 bhp (560 PS), in Rapide S. Peak torque is up by 10 Nm, too, to 630 Nm at 5,500 rpm in all the cars.
The new eight-speed Touchtronic III automatic gearbox is not only three per cent lighter than its predecessor, it is also packaged more efficiently occupying precisely the same space within the car yet adding two further ratios over the outgoing transmission.
Touchtronic III delivers exceptional shift speed and moves between ratios as quick as 130 milliseconds – far quicker than even the most accomplished racing driver is capable of – while better gearbox efficiency allows more power and torque to be transmitted to the road more of the time.
Ian Minards, Product Development Director at Aston Martin, explained: “We have a long and successful technical partnership with ZF and so it was a natural step for us to adapt and integrate their world class 8HP transmission in to our transaxle layout.”
“This has been a detailed piece of work involving careful consideration of many technical parameters including gear ratios, software integration and shifting strategies. This has delivered a significant step change in both vehicle performance and economy whilst preserving the unique Aston Martin V12 driving experience.”
Gearbox software changes make for a truly comprehensive selection of available driving features such as ‘Drive’ and ‘Drive Sport’ modes along with ‘Paddle Shift’ and ‘Paddle Shift Sport’ options for more engaging, sporting, shift control.
Optimal, multi-ratio downshifts are available by pulling and holding the down shift paddle, allowing for the car to select the lowest available gear when under braking. Adaptive Drive Recognition (ADR), meanwhile, tailors shift points to the individual driver’s style. Thus a more spirited driver in standard ‘Drive’ mode will rapidly adapt to enjoy a shift map more akin to the settings found in ‘Drive Sport’. As the programming is reset during each key cycle – when the car is locked and unlocked – the perceived ‘changes’ to the car’s nature are similarly reset.
Engine management upgrade
Away from the gearbox, 15MY Aston Martin Vanquish and Rapide S models benefit from the addition of the latest Bosch Engine Management System. The new system, which delivers more precise engine control and seamlessly communicates with the new gearbox, receives its first application in an Aston Martin that combines the AM29 V12 engine and an automatic gearbox.
Meanwhile other electronic and engineering changes have taken place in 15MY cars to deliver a consistent GT character by perfectly aligning the chassis with improvements in powertrain performance and accessibility. For instance, a revised torque tube reduces transmission noise transfer into the passenger compartment while revised DSC sees the retuned stability system optimised for the new gearbox. A revised steering ECU delivers an even more crisp and precise steering response.
Uprated dampers on the new Vanquish – 15% stiffer at the front and a full 35% stiffer at the rear – improve the dynamic characteristic of the car in line with its significantly enhanced performance. Rapide S, meanwhile, gets uprated larger front brakes. Both cars also benefit from a retuned brake booster and amended rear suspension bushes that are now 20% stiffer than before.
There are also subtle but important styling enhancements, both inside and outside the cars, that add extra visual appeal for 15MY Vanquish and Rapide S.
Outside there’s the arrival of new ten-spoke forged alloy wheel designs, available in a variety of finishes, that not only enhance the cars’ looks but save almost seven kilos in weight versus the standard wheel. There are also new paint colour options including, for the first time on Vanquish and Rapide S, the availability of the special paint colour Diavalo Red, previously limited to the breath-taking V12 Zagato.
Inside, the cars get new leather trim colour options including the contemporary blue-black Dark Knight, and bold Fandango Pink. Rapide S also gains the exciting option of a new Duotone leather seat finish in Sahara Tan and Vibrant Red, as well as a range of new headlining options that mix quilting with the finest leathers or Alcantara.
Director of Design Marek Reichman explained: “More bold and dynamic interior and exterior treatments are the perfect offering for customers of the latest models.
“It is, of course, possible to add more colour to our cars while maintaining Aston Martin’s reputation for elegance and beauty, and I’m very happy to see this enhanced and extended colour palette offered to our loyal customers around the world.”
The global market introduction of 15MY sports cars begins in Q3 of 2014, with more details on market-specific pricing and options available in due course.