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Aston Martin's new 4dr is more Rapide

Aston Martin refers to its Rapide as "the world's most beautiful, and beautifully balanced, four-seat sports car."

With the release of the facelifted model, which is now called the Rapide S, Aston Martin has just put a whole lot more sports car into that equation.

Besides new front-end styling and additional cabin appointments, the Rapide S has been thoroughly updated beneath the skin, the highlight being a significant power hike for its normally aspirated 5935cc V12 engine.

MORE URGE, ALL OVER

The motor now pushes 410kW at 6750rpm, up from 350kW at 6000, while peak torque increases from 600Nm to 620Nm at 5000rpm. There's an even bigger increase in twisting force lower down, with an extra 50Nm being available at 2500rpm.

Against the clock, Aston Martin claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of 4.9 seconds, making it 0.3 seconds quicker than its predecessor, while the top speed climbs to 306km/h.

Like practically all new cars these days, the Rapide S is said to be more efficient than its predecessor, although that's a very relative term when we're talking 14.2 l/100km.

In line with the sportier expectations created by the power increase, Aston Martin has also sharpened its road holding ability. The engine now sits 19mm lower and the company has fitted the latest version of its adaptive damping system, which now offers three modes - 'normal', 'sport' and 'track'.

Yet despite all the mechanical mods, the Rapide has not changed too radically at face value. While the side profile and rear end remain mostly unchanged (there is a more pronounced boot lip), the front end stands apart with its bigger, bolder grille. It's not all aesthetic though, as the front end changes also bring the big Aston into line with modern European pedestrian safety legislation and aerodynamics are improved too.

HARD-CORE STYLE

For those seeking a more hard-core appearance, Aston Martin now offers a Carbon Exterior Pack, which consists of a carbon fibre front splitter, rear diffuser, mirror caps and taillight inner-clusters.

Inside, the Rapide's wealthy clientele will be able to indulge in some new options.

One of these is a piano black interior pack that brings a sparkle to the facia, centre tunnel and door handles and a darker surround to the instrument binnacle. Another new option is the two-tone perforated red and black leather.

Of course, buyers that demand the ultimate in individualisation can opt for the 'Q by Aston Martin' service, which focuses on fashioning colour and materials with limitless boundaries.

As before, the sedan has two individual back seats and the rear cabin can be decked out with options like a twin-screen rear seat entertainment system with wireless headphones.

The Rapide S will be available to order through Aston martin's dealerships in February, although prices have yet to be released.

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