Aston Martin Rapide S: Four-door Aston gets 550 hp and a Hannibal Lecter grille

Aston Martin is rolling out its second special edition model in nearly as many weeks, and it should leave drivers with lead feet clamoring. Whereas the Vanquish Centenary Edition emphasized style, the Rapide S emphasizes performance.

The biggest change is a new version of Aston’s AM11 5.9-liter V12. In the Rapide S, it produces 550 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque, giving it 80 more horses and 37 more pound-feet than a standard Rapide.

The new engine may seem like a more powerful version of the V12 Aston uses in its other cars, but its character has changed along with its output. The Rapide S has more low-end torque than its predecessor; twisting force peaks at 2,500 rpm. That should make the updated car more tractable. The new engine is also mounted 19 mm lower in the chassis, lowering the center of gravity.

Aston says the Rapide S will do 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, an improvement of 0.4 second over the non-S Rapide.

To improve handling, Aston modified the standard Rapide’s dynamic stability control, and gave the Rapide S an upgraded Adaptive Damping System with an added “Track” setting. This luxurious four-door might not be our first choice for a track day, but at least Aston is giving owners the option to let it all hang out.

To keep the driver in passengers in place while all that is going on, Aston kept the standard Rapide’s four bucket seats. For the Rapide S, they’re trimmed in Duotone red and black perforated leather for a sportier look, although they also look like they were taken out of a 2002 Nissan Sentra SE-R.

The rear buckets also fold flat at the touch of a button, making the Rapide S into a somewhat practical family vehicle. Other upgrades include a rear seat entertainment system and a backup camera.

The Rapide’s styling did not need improvement, but Aston made a few changes to highlight the Rapide S’ upgraded hardware. The new front fascia looks like either a masked Hannibal Lecter or the face of a Ford Focus Electric. There’s also a bigger trunk spoiler and a new set of wheels.

The Rapide S is also available with an optional Carbon Exterior Pack. Not surprisingly, it includes some extra carbon fiber, including: a front splitter, rear diffuser, mirror caps, and taillight centers.

Aston will start taking orders for the Rapide S in February and, while the company isn’t discussing the price, expect it to cost a little more than the “base” Rapide, which already costs more than $200,000. Upgrading doesn’t come cheap.

Product Review

By adding features, tech, and all-wheel drive, Mazda puts the 3 in a class of one

Since its introduction in 2003, Mazda’s compact Mazda3 has been a mainstay of the brand’s driver-oriented strategy. Mazda now plans to move upmarket, and the all-new 2019 Mazda3 offers some clues about how that’s going to work.
Cars

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.
Product Review

The Ferrari Portofino is the super stallion you’ll want to drive every day

With the introduction of the Portofino, Ferrari addresses the California T’s stylistic shortcomings while improving comfort, convenience, and performance. There’s little “entry-level” about this super stallion.
Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?
Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.
Cars

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.
Cars

Formula 1 is putting data in the driver’s seat, and not all racers are happy

After a single weekend of racing, a Formula 1 pit crew typically pulls around 2TB of data from the car. Everything, from tire pressure to the temperature of the track, is recorded and analyzed in the name of boosting performance -- and not…
Cars

Tesla revives its referral program with chances to win a Roadster

Tesla has revived its referral program that ended in February because of cost pressures. This time around the perks aren't quite as diverse, though it does offer regular chances to win a Roadster or Model Y.
Cars

Tesla ends scheduled servicing because electric cars need less maintenance

Tesla will longer offer scheduled maintenance plans, switching to an "as needed" model. This reflects the fact that electric cars need less regular maintenance than gasoline or diesel cars.
Cars

The go kart-like Mini Cooper will soon add zero emissions to its resume

Mini is in the final stages of developing an electric version of the Cooper. The 2020 Cooper SE will receive powertrain components from the BMW i3, including a 181-horsepower electric motor and battery technology.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Cars

Tesla Model 3 vulnerability exposed at Pwn2Own; hackers take home the car

A Tesla Model 3 vulnerability was exposed at the Pwn2Own hacking competition. The hackers, who were able to display a message on the electric vehicle's internet browser, won $35,000 and took home the car.
Cars

Is this electric car startup the next Tesla, or will it go the way of Coda?

The electric car startup formerly known as EVelozcity has changed its name to Canoo. It also announced a lineup of four cars including a commuter-friendly model and a lifestyle-oriented car. Its first electric vehicles will begin to appear…
Cars

Ford’s born-again Bronco off-roader will soothe your 1990s nostalgia

Ford confirmed it will bring the Bronco back to American showrooms in 2020. We haven't seen the truck yet, but dealers who got a preview of it during a private event say it's a true off-roader aimed directly at the Jeep Wrangler.