Aston Martin’s four-door Rapide has always ranked as one of my all-time favorite pieces of automotive art. Squeezing four doors and four seats into a body this sleek and sexy is a nothing less than a triumph of design.
While just like lovely French actress Catherine Deneuve, who amazingly turns 70 this year, the Rapide has aged oh-so gracefully, time doesn’t stand still. It was time for a little nip, snip and tuck.
While I’ve given Aston its fair share of grief in the past year or so over it’s way-too-evolutionary styling – each new model seemed to look just like the last – this new Rapide breaks the mold. And looks sensational.
The big change is at the front end. Gone is the delicate split grille; in its place is a massive, look-at-me, air-gulping intake. Aston calls it ‘forceful and assertive’, I call it ‘fabulous’.
The rear end also gets a fresh look that includes a new rear deck profile with a more pronounced trunk lid ‘flip’. It’s said to improve aerodynamics and improve stability at the Rapide’s new 190 mph top speed.
Thankfully it’s not all style and no substance. Under that curvy new hood sits an uprated version of Aston’s thundering 6.0-liter V12. Power jumps by a not-insignificant 80hp – from 470hp to more supercar-esque 550 hp. Peak torque is also up, from 443 lb-ft to 457 lb-ft.
Now when you stand on the throttle, this new Rapide will sprit from rest to 60mph in just 4.7 seconds, which is a 0.4 second improvement. That should certainly be, er, rapide enough for most owners.
Inside the changes are restricted to the option of Duotone perforated red and black leather, a Piano Black interior pack, plus twin screen rear-seat entertainment for the kids.
If you’re craving true sports car performance and handling with the flexibility and versatility of four doors and four seats, this new, even more gorgeous Rapide can’t be beat.
And if that’s not enough, the unofficial word is that Aston may ‘realign’ the pricing of the 2014 Rapide to a whisker under $200,000 – a drop of around $8,000.