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Aston Martin rips out the gauges, flaunts touchscreen-laden Autolink Rapide S at CES

When its vehicles are stylishly ferrying James Bond away from baddies on the big screen, it’s easy to forget that Aston Martin is a relatively small company. In terms of total employee numbers, the automaker from Gaydon, Warwickshire, England has roughly a third of the personnel that Ford has working at a single production facility, which means the manufacturer has a far smaller resource pool to draw from.

We’ve discussed Aston Martin’s partnership with Mercedes-AMG in the past — the German brand will supply Aston with engines for the next several years — and the company’s pairing with VC firm ChinaEquity on the RapideE concept has been well documented. At CES 2016, the automaker revealed the Autolink Rapide S, a new concept born from a collaboration between Aston and a firm dubbed “the Netflix of China.”


The Autolink Rapide S is an infotainment showcase featuring Chinese entertainment company Letv’s Internet of the Vehicle (IOV) system. The sports car’s center console has been ripped out in favor of a 13.3-inch HD touchscreen, and the instrument panel has been similarly replaced with a 12.2-inch screen that displays digital instrumentation and gauges. The IOV suite has also upgraded the Aston’s electronics by adding Letv’s latest speech-recognition technology and a remote monitoring system.

Related: Faraday Future’s FFZERO1 isn’t a car, it’s a template for the future of transport

“After a few months of effort, we finished the integration of an Aston Martin vehicle and the Letv IOV system,” said Ding Lei, co-founder of Letv’s car division. “We have successfully equipped this supercar brand with over 100 years of history with an ‘Internet brain.’”

“Aston Martin is renowned for the beauty and quality of its hand-crafted cars,” explained Dr. Andrew Palmer, Aston Martin CEO. “The integration of Letv advanced connected technologies into this bespoke environment is a natural progression as we look to the future demands of our customers.”

Letv also happens to be the financial backer for the cutting edge Faraday Future FFZERO1, which was also revealed at CES 2016. Read more about the car and its slick modular platform here.