With so much going on at Aston Martin at the moment, it could be very easy to forget about the Rapide. Since its
- which brought the introduction of the eight-speed automatic - look at what's happened: all the Vantage run-out models before the new one, a Vanquish S, the Zagato Vanquishes, the whole DB11 range and whatever else is happening behind the scenes. Less than four years is a long time for 'Second Century' Aston.
The 'AMR' range of cars has also been announced since 2014 - indeed it was at Geneva last year - and these are the first pictures of a Rapide AMR. Those who remember the AMR news from 2017 however will recall that this car will be an 'AMR Line', Aston's second tier of performance derivative, rather than the AMR Pro that saw the Vantage become a track-only monster limited to just seven units.
So what can we expect? Well, as the pictures show, a more aggressive vehicle than we've come to know the Rapide as thus far. See the huge intakes in the bonnet, the completely new front bumper, the extra lip on the rear spoiler and the fresh alloy wheel design. Ah yes, and the signature AMR green accents. It's recognisably still a Rapide then, but seemingly a rather more potent one.
That should extend to the drivetrain, too; of course the Rapide uses the old V12 rather than the new twin-turbo unit, producing 560hp. Now that same engine makes 600hp in the Vanquish S, so you would have to hope that the Rapide AMR Line is making at least that when its time comes. Anything more than 612hp would surpass both BMW M5 and Mercedes-AMG E63 - and while neither are conventional rivals, it's always nice to have some bragging rights.
We don't know anything else for now, although there's more than enough already to be very excited by. When Aston Martin will find the time to launch the Rapide AMR Line is anyone's guess, though we'd bank on a reveal somewhere suitably lavish towards the end of 2018. Let's hope they make more than seven...
Images: S. Baldauf/S.B. Medien