Haute Auto of the Week: 2014 Aston Martin Rapide S

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Welcome to the world of the 2014 Rapide S. The archetype of British design and style pervades the imagination like fine art and sumptuous cuisines. In this case, “S” stands for “Superlative” in respect to Aston Martin’s latest — a majestic touring sedan on public roads with an arsenal of technological innovations. Traveling up to 190 mph the $199,950 four-door sedan shaves .3 seconds off its 0-62 mph time to 4.9 seconds.

The eloquent Rapide went into production in 2010 as an object of affection and transformative vehicle to expand the British automaker’s product portfolio. Of course it would also allow Aston Martin to compete in a segment that is increasingly becoming more popular as luxury connoisseurs demand faster cars in bigger packages. It now represents 25% of the company’s sales and should continue to see growth with attributes that appease the duality of an individual looking for overstated luxury and Le Mans-like driving capabilities. The new Rapide S also replaces the Rapide model, which has been sent to an early retirement.

Aston Martin chose an engine devoid of supercharging or turbocharging since there is “a purity” about a naturally-aspirated, hand-built V12 that’s keen to the senses and instilled with an impressive 550 horsepower. As well, the “Touchtronic 2” 6-speed transmission with steering column mounted shift levers has been updated. The objective of the assessment was to experience the new three-stage Adaptive Damping System (ADS), the balance and the power of the Rapide S; which can be driven in Normal, Sport and Track mode with each subsequently increasing vehicle stiffness. ADS reads the vehicle’s throttle and brake position, steering wheel rotation and vehicle speed and helps the driver adjust for better grip depending on what inputs are needed.

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Aesthetically, the silhouette of the Rapide S is wonderfully exquisite. The aluminum body is powerful to the eyes and welcoming. With a new one-piece metal grille, it conjures emotions of fluid passion yet embodies unimaginable power controlled sensibly through Aston Martin’s performance systems. Overall, aluminum and magnesium alloy materials and panels comingle to improve torsional rigidity. Opt for the Carbon Exterior Pack and receive a carbon-fiber front splitter, rear diffuser, mirror caps and rear lamp infills to infuse your Rapide S with sportier characteristics.

Gently open the soft-touch “Swan” doors to a four-seat environment replete with contrast stitching, plush headlining and glass transmission selector switches. Insert the glass key into the embedded starter receptacle within the walnut fascia trim and the Rapide comes to life emphatically. The LCD screen rises out of its flush position to display Aston Martin’s new infotainment system. It features a rear view camera, Bluetooth technology, and iPod connectivity. Another favorite is the 1000-watt Bang & Olufsen BeoSound audio system.

This dedication to perfection shows that Aston Martin is spearheading a revolution of brave new vehicles that are timeless, powerful and reliable. In other words, the passion for this British marque is almost indefinable.

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