Aston Martin celebrated a century of automotive achievement at the 83rd Geneva International Motor Show.
The luxury British sports car maker – which is marking its centenary in 2013 – took centre stage in Switzerland with cars both from its illustrious past and its exciting future.
Pride of place is reserved for the latest luxurious addition to the now fully-replaced or refreshed sports car range – the forthcoming Rapide S.
The luxury four-door GT has been sympathetically redesigned and painstakingly re-engineered to reassert its position as the world’s most beautiful, and beautifully balanced, four-seat sports car.
Extensive design and engineering improvements make the new Rapide S even more desirable and refined. It replaces the outgoing Rapide in markets worldwide.
The Rapide S now boasts an even more assertive ‘face’ created by virtue of the striking new full grille.
The new front end design is matched at the back by a new rear deck profile which consists of a more pronounced boot lid ‘flip’. The improved aerodynamic and aesthetic upgrades both reinforce the sporting nature of new Rapide S.
Changes under the car’s sinuous skin are comprehensive, with the new AM11 naturally-aspirated 6.0-litre V12 powerplant delivering unprecedented power and improved in-gear acceleration.
Output jumps significantly versus the previous V12: power is up by 17%, or 81 PS, from 477 PS at 6,000 rpm to an unprecedented 558 PS at 6,750 rpm.
Peak torque increases, too, up from 600 Nm to 620 Nm at 5,500 rpm. Meanwhile an even more marked improvement in torque occurs lower down the rev range, as pulling power rises by more than 40 Nm between idle and 4,000 rpm with an additional 50 Nm available at 2,500 rpm.
New Rapide S shaves 0.3 seconds off its 0-62 mph time, which drops from the 5.2 seconds to just 4.9 seconds. Top speed climbs to more than 190 mph.
Fully CNC machined combustion chambers; lighter, hollow, cam shafts; dual variable camshaft timing; knock sensing – these important advances all help reinforce the V12 engine’s position as a mainstay of the Aston Martin range.
More efficient, as well as more potent, the new Rapide S cuts its CO2 emissions by seven per cent – from 355 g/km to 332 g/km – while fuel economy now stands at 19.9 mpg on the official EU combined cycle.
A product of the latest generation of Aston Martin’s world-renowned VH engineering philosophy, which debuted in 2003, the car is based on the new Gen4 VH architecture.
New dynamic stability control (DSC) and the latest Gen4 iteration of Aston Martin’s hi-tech Adaptive Damping System (ADS) sharpen already crisp dynamics. The ADS system now offers three distinct settings: ‘Normal’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Track’, with the character of each being tailored to the nature of Rapide S.
The different damping modes help to significantly broaden the character of the Rapide S, adapting its set-up to suit the driver’s precise requirements. Thus it can be a luxurious GT car in Normal mode with the capacity to morph into a more assertive sports car in Sport and Track modes.
Meanwhile, as with the new DB9, the new Rapide S achieves compliance with the latest European pedestrian protection regulations courtesy of its innovative new front grille design.
Elsewhere on the Geneva stand Aston Martin’s ultimate Super GT – the new Vanquish – showcases a painstakingly created Centenary Edition specification that is available worldwide on just 100 examples of each of the car maker’s model lines: Vantage, DB9, Vanquish and Rapide S.
Featuring a unique graduated paint finish, solid sterling silver Aston Martin wings badges with tailored ‘trans flux’ enamel inlay and a special Aston Martin hallmark, the show car’s exterior represents an exclusive celebration of the company’s 100-year history.
Aston Martin CEO, Dr Ulrich Bez, played a key role in the creation of the unique paint treatment, tasking Design Director Marek Reichman and his team with the development of a suitably exclusive and desirable dual tone specification.
Dr Bez explained: “The chance to own and enjoy such a stunning piece of Aston Martin’s heritage is made all the more rare by the fact that we are limiting numbers to just 100 of each model line. Even before a single customer car is built we are seeing supporters and enthusiasts of the brand worldwide quickly securing their chosen model.”
Inside, as out, a Centenary Edition Aston Martin is identified by its exclusive and luxurious treatment. Deep Soft black leather – previously featuring only in the One-77 hypercar – with contrasting silver stitching, a special silver thread embroidery of the Aston Martin wings in the head restraints and solid sterling silver sill plaques individually numbered with an Aston Martin hallmark are among the features unique to the car.
Each Centenary Edition model will also be supplied with a unique presentation box containing a number of exclusive gifts to mark the first 100 years of the company. These include two glass keys, two bespoke key pouches made from leather matching the car’s interior trim, solid silver cufflinks featuring the Aston Martin script, solid silver Rollerball pen and high quality Bang & Olufsen headphones.
The gift box will also include a silver polishing cloth to help owners ensure the silver centenary wings badges and sill plaques on their car keep their lustre.
Some specification details will vary market by market around the world but all cars will, as ever, be painstakingly handcrafted at Aston Martin’s global headquarters and state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Gaydon, in Warwickshire.
‘Q by Aston Martin’ is a bespoke personalisation service – it can even be seen as a Brand of its own – and goes far beyond even Aston Martin’s extensive options list.
Q by Aston Martin allows customers to enhance and personalise their cars with meticulous attention to detail.
The service can be extended to interior and exterior styling, offering almost endless opportunity for expression. Thanks to Aston Martin’s unique VH (Vertical Horizontal) architecture, the philosophy that forms the backbone of its sports cars, the company has evolved a fast, flexible and modular approach to engineering. With Q by Aston Martin, the ability to commission the design and manufacture of a unique car is now within reach.
Several examples of the service are displayed at Geneva with, for instance, a Vanquish presented in striking Morning Frost metallic white with a contrasting Spectral Blue interior and Pearl White welting. Satin finish carbon fibre exterior features, blue tinted diamond-turned alloy wheels, a blue-tinted glass fibre centre console and embossed ‘Q’ logos are just some of the sports car’s highlights.
Beyond cars, Q by Aston Martin can even help to design and procure almost any manner of luxury item. Colour-matching a Brompton bicycle to an Aston Martin, supporting a customer’s architect to design their house, or creating colour themes and materials for the interior specification of a yacht – these bespoke services are all within the gift of this remarkable department.
In 2013, 100 years after it was first incorporated, Aston Martin offers customers its most modern, attractive and compelling line-up to date.
The luxurious new Rapide S joins sporty V8 and V12 Vantage, in either coupe or roadster form, timeless new DB9 – as coupe or Volante – and ultimate Super GT, the Vanquish coupe, in a centenary sports car portfolio that continues to make Aston Martin one of the most desirable automotive brand’s in the world. The Cygnet ‘tailor-fit’ city car, meanwhile, underscores the brand’s determination to challenge convention, think differently and surprise and delight its customers worldwide.
Ahead of the show in Switzerland Dr Ulrich Bez, CEO of Aston Martin, said: “2013 is a celebration of the Aston Martin Brand and its achievement as being seen as ‘best of British’.
“From the triumphs on the track at Le Mans and Nürburgring in 1959 – represented at Geneva by the showing of a precious 1959 DBR1 – to the on-going on-screen ‘love affair’ with James Bond, Aston Martin has a richly-textured history that we can look back on with pride.
“Today, with many exciting new projects in the pipeline and new shareholders helping to drive us forward, we can also look ahead to what I am sure will be a vibrant, dynamic and successful future.”
He added: “Aston Martin is, today, truly a global business. A growing network that now stands at 145 dealers in 41 countries worldwide illustrates how far this still modestly-proportioned British company has come in recent times, and I know our determination to continue reaching into new markets and territories around the world will see Aston Martin’s unique appeal spread further still.”