Aston Martin marks its 100th anniversary with a more rapid Rapide
Unless you’re blind, or own a Porsche Panamera (or both: the latter benefits from the former) you have to admit that the Aston Martin Rapide is the best looking four-door performance sedan on the market. The only ways we can think to improve it is to give it more power, tidy up the front end, and provide one to us free of charge, forever.
To paraphrase American poet Meatloaf Aday, two out of three ain’t bad.
Here, fresh from its reveal at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show, is the newly revised Aston Martin Rapide, which is now called the Aston Martin Rapide S. This is because “S” is the Roman numeral that signifies 80, which is how many more horsepower the engineers from Gaydon have managed to coax out of the brand’s newly revised 6.0 liter V-12, an engine that first appeared in the 1932 Marmon. This brings the total to a rousing 550, which is, coincidentally, the same number made by the Porsche Panamera Turbo S, a car which, as previously noted, is much uglier than the Rapide S, but gets to 60 m.p.h. more than a full second quicker, which is great if you’re into ugly, faster cars.
Speaking of cars that are not at all ugly, the new Rapide S shares just about all of its handsome sheet-metal with its S-less predecessor, save the aforementioned front end, which now growls at all comers with a single — instead of split — mouth that resembles the window treatment at the local penitentiary. It is not exactly delicate, but it does make the car look very mean and purposeful, two adjectives we like when it comes to road-devouring executive saloons. These revisions also help with new European pedestrian impact standards, which we only assume means that they are more lethal to those folks dumb enough to step in front of a 190 m.p.h. missile.
To assist the car in this constant asphalt binge, there is also an updated adaptive suspension with three rather banal settings: Normal, Sport, and Track. We would like to propose that automakers start thinking of more creative and evocative names for these like: Paradigmatic, Rigorous, and Flushing $200,000 Down the Crapper. Until then, we will have to be satisfied with anticipatory thoughts of our upcoming test drive of this car, which will occur in Spain, next week.
Also shown on the Aston stand were examples of exclusive, limited editions of their handsome vehicles, introduced to honor the brand's 100th anniversary, which is happening right now.
Featuring crazy-deep graduated paint finishes, solid silver Aston Martin badges, super-supple black leather with silver stitching (previously seen only on the One-77) and a pair of the marque's iconic and outrageously expensive crystal key fobs each packaged in an individual endangered Tanzanian antelope scrotum, the editions are limited, globally, to 100 vehicles per line (Vantage, DB9, Rapide S).
Also included with your purchase is a pair of silver cuff links, a silver pen, and some other stuff you might receive from your Bubby for your Bar Mitzvah, as well as an A-M emblazoned polishing cloth to keep it all clean. That last bit is not a joke.