similarly updated Vanquish.
Driving the MY15 Rapide S is an occasion in itself. Like most of the cars in this price range, the cockpit inspires an emotional response, for better or for worse. Surely, you'd have to be made of Scottish granite to ignore the melodious bark of 12cylinders firing up.
Eight times better
From the insertion of the pretentiously titled Emotional Control Unit - otherwise known as a 'key' - the stark roar and urgent fast idle from cold are not for the shy and retiring, though it soon drops to a typically smooth V12 tickover. The novelty of such a theatrical procedure may not always be welcome but such are the necessities of the emissions regulated warm-up.
When attention shifts from inside the Rapide to outside, and you've successfully navigated the frankly bewildering center console to enable sport mode and sport damping, then it all gets quite exciting.
Pushing this massive car through lanes and around hairpins is a lot easier than you'd ever think. Darting changes of direction, confident levels of grip from entry to exit. And that massive, top-end chorus of philharmonic V12 surge standing ready to push the rear tyres to their limits on every exit.
That this experience can be shared with three full-size adults, with only the slightest trade-off in performance versus a two-seater, is impressive.
With significant objective faults eliminated, the Rapide S might have reached a pinnacle right now. It's relatively safe to assume that this could be the last naturally-aspirated Rapide S ever. Over the horizon lurks AMG power, and behind that the global might of Mercedes Benz. Will it just be AMG engines that get shared with AML, or will the CLS-building Germans want a bigger slice of the pie?
ASTON MARTIN RAPIDE S
Engine: 5,935cc, V12
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 560@6,650rpm
Torque (lb ft): 465@5,500rpm
0-62mph: 4.4 sec
Top speed: 203mph (electronically limited)
MPG: 21.9mpg (claimed)