Yesterday, Aston Martin revealed the 2014 Rapide S, the mid-cycle redesign of the Rapide GT. More than a mere touchup, the Rapide S is sleeker and speedier, both in style and engine output.
Under its hood, the Rapide S has a few more horses than its predecessor. The already impressive 5.9-litre V12 has been bumped up from 470 to 550 hp and the torque been raised to 442 lbs-ft to 457. This allows the Rapide S to race from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds.
Taking design cues from the sold out Aston Martin One-77 supercar, the Rapide’s exterior has been given a revamp. While still maintaining its aerodynamic profile, the Rapide’s front has a one-piece grille, giving the car a wider “smile.” Towards the rear, the fenders have been widened and the taillights have been slimmed. This facelift also has a safety purpose. Complying with Europe’s recent pedestrian protection regulations while maintaining its characteristic style, the Rapide’s front has a patented “keystone” construction. During a collision, the grille shifts backwards while the central and side panels stiffen to support the front bumper. This, along with cutouts along the hood that conform to head form regulations, provides a less severe impact for the pedestrian.
Inside, the Rapide S is as sleek as its exterior. The four-seat, piano black, bespoke interior successfully marries plush luxury and seductive sportiness. Along with the standard monochromatic tan and black interior color themes, black and red perforated leather is a new optional feature for the Aston Martin line – adding a racy edge to the Rapide S. As the outside elements rage and the Rapide’s V12 roars, the cabin remains remarkably quiet. This is thanks to a redesigned bonnet lining and windscreen cowl, which noticeably improves NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) attributes.
Considered competition for the Porsche Panamera and the Maserati Quattroporte on its original debut, the Rapide had a less than ideal run. In May 2011, Aston Martin halted assembly of the Rapide to match its diminishing sales. In June 2011, Aston Martin cut production from 2,000 to 1,250. However, with the introduction of the Rapide S comes Aston Martin’s hope for revitalization in consumer interest.