2014 Aston Martin Rapide S

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People are talking about a more powerful version of the Aston Martin Rapide ever since the standard model was dropped onto the market in 2010. In the past few months, the new Rapide S has been caught testing a few times, and now it has finally made its world debut.

The new Rapide S replaces the old Rapide in the company’s lineup and has been described as "the most powerful four-door Aston Martin to date." The model is powered by an improved version of the new AM11 naturally aspirated 6.0-litre V-12 powerplant that adds in some extra ponies.

Along with the engine improvement, the Rapide S will receive a revised front grille and rear lip spoiler. There is also an optional Carbon Exterior Pack that further improves the sporty appearance of the luxury sedan.

The new Aston Martin Rapide S will be put on sale next month.

Updated 04/08/2013: Aston Martin has unveiled a video featuring Director of Product Development Ian Minards offering an overview of the many innovative technical and engineering features, including the assertive new front grille. Enjoy!

Hit the jump to read more about the new Aston Martin Rapide S.

Exterior

Aston Martin Rapide S

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 in the car’s exterior look. 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.

Interior

Aston Martin Rapide S

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.

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

Engine and Performance

Aston Martin Rapide S

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 6.0-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 558 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.

Prices

The new Aston Martin Rapide S will be put on sale through the brand’s 146 dealers worldwide next month. Prices will be announced at a later date.

Competition

2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo

Porsche Panamera

Thanks to the extra 81 horsepower, the new Aston Martin Rapide S has moved upmarket and it now targets high-end version of the previous Rapide competitors. For example, the new Rapide S has been put next to the second-generation Porsche Panamera Turbo.

The German 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, you just can’t beat the Porsche.

2014 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Sedan

Mercedes C63 AMG

The Rapide S can also be considered a serious competitor for the 2014 Mercedes CLS 63 AMG, which is still in its testing phases. There are no official details on the 2014 model yet, but we believe it will come with the same 5.5-liter V-8 biturbo engine that delivers 525 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque.

The problem with the Mercedes model is that from factory it will likely come with a top speed limited to only 155 mph. With all the basic mechanics remaining the same as the 2013 model, it will be little bit faster from 0 to 60 mph: 4.4 seconds. A slightly closer competition than the Porsche, but the Benz still wins out in acceleration.

Conclusion

Aston Martin Rapide S

We are still awaiting pricing details on the new Rapid S, but on the surface, it is a capable sports sedan and features class-leading luxury. However, it falls short of models that are likely going to end up being significantly cheaper when it comes to pure performance.

LOVE IT
  • Delivers more power
  • Faster than previous version
  • New optional features
LEAVE IT
  • We would have appreciated an improved appearance
  • No price yet

Press Release

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

Aston Martin Rapide S

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.

Aston Martin Rapide S

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

Aston Martin 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, 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.


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