Aston Martin Rapide History
2014 Aston Martin Rapide S - First Drive, March 2013Enlarge Photo
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The Aston Martin Rapide is the brand's powerful, luxurious four-door model. Arguably the most attractive high-performance four-door on the market, the Rapide's only real competitors are the Maserati Quattroporte and Porsche Panamera.
Few changes have come to the Rapide's specification over its three-year run thus far, except very recently, with the addition of a new Rapide S model. Beginning with the 2014 Aston Martin Rapide S, the standard Rapide spec is no more--replaced by more power and a new face, among other changes.
Introduced in late 2009 with first deliveries in 2010, the Aston Martin Rapide was initially produced under contract by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria, but as of 2012, has moved production back to the brand's home base in Gaydon, England. Wherever it's built, however, the Rapide exudes a style only Aston Martin offers, and performance rarely found in an ultra-luxury sedan.
The standard Rapide houses a 6.0-liter V-12 engine rated at 470 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque driving the rear wheels. Zero to 60 mph acceleration is brisk at just over five seconds, and the 188 mph top speed is terrifyingly fast. It even handles as much like a sports car as it looks. But despite this able performance, the Rapide is about much more than sport.
Aston's exterior design suits the large Rapide very well, wrapping the four-door in stunning curves and tasteful details. Inside, it's more of the same: simply gorgeous.
Those daring and desirable looks come at the price of interior space and rear-seat comfort, however. The coupe-like roof line impinges on rear-passenger head room, for example, and the short rear doors make entry and exit difficult. Despite these flaws, however, the Rapide is no less extraordinary for its overall impression, both for the owner and for onlookers.
The 2014 Rapide S, which we drove early in 2013, boosts output from the 6.0-liter V-12 engine to 550 horsepower, making it Aston Martin's most powerful four-door ever. The result is a reduction in 0-60 mph time to 4.7 seconds and an increased top speed of 190 mph. Visually, the Rapide S is differentiated with a large grille that drops the horizontal cross-bar for a more open-mouthed look, aerodynamic enhancements to the front splitter and integrated rear deck-lid spoiler, and other subtle details. Inside, the Rapide S's optional Duotone perforated red-and-black leather is a first for Aston Martin; other elements are largely untouched from the standard Rapide.
As with any Aston Martin, colors, materials, and features are highly customizable, with the only limiting factors being your imagination and your bank account--not that Rapide buyers are likely to have many limitations in either regard.