A four-door V12 monster: Aston Martin reveal Rapide AMR
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Aston Martin are one of the last companies on Earth that still produce a naturally aspirated V12-powered car. And arguably, it's in the four-door super saloon Rapide that such an engine makes the most sense. Smooth, with plenty of torque and a lovely engine note when for munching up miles on the motorway.
Race tracks, to a degree, probably aren't the Rapide's natural habitat. Although that could be about to change with Aston's newly revealed Rapide AMR — a more track-focused version of the luxury sedan.
It comes decked out from head to toe in carbon fibre to make valuable weight gains, and any potential handling improvements are further bolstered by a 10mm cut to the ride height. The three-stage damper system has been tweaked too to be more about directional change and body-roll control than about soothing ride.
And new carbon ceramic brakes (400mm discs and 6-piston calipers up front, 360mm discs with four-piston calipers in rear) hide behind the menacing matte black 21-inch wheels.
But, as you'd expect, it's the engine that's received the biggest licking.
Power from the naturally aspirated quad overhead cam V12 has gone up from 410kW in the Rapide S to 440kW, with torque now sitting at 620Nm. Annoyingly, that power figure is exclusive to European models — the rest of the world has to make do with 433kW.
Top speed is 330km/h, while the 0–100km/h sprint will unfold in 4.4 seconds. That might sound middling in today's sub-three-second age, but it's not a bad effort from a more traditional engine set-up bolted to a car that weighs 1990kg.
"AMR takes technology and inspiration from our motorsport programme to amplify the sporting prowess in our road cars which is clear to see in the Rapide AMR, Aston Martin’s most extreme, 4-door sports car," says Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer.
"With enhanced performance, sharper dynamics and more powerful design language, Aston Martin has taken Rapide to new and exciting extremes.”
The Rapide AMR is the third sharpened Aston Martin product to be revealed in as many months, following May's DB11 AMR and Vantage V600. But given the Rapide has been with us for eight years now, it makes sense for the brand to invigorate the lovable brute's production shelf life.
And, if nothing else, the Rapide AMR will provide a nice counter-balance to the upcoming fully electric RapidE.