By Mike Espindle
I supposed the old Southern phrase “hotter than Georgia asphalt and slicker than owl s***” was particularly apt for my hot and rainy test drive this weekend of Aston Martin’s latest Rapide four-door tourer at the challenging Atlanta Motorsports Park in bootlegger country near Dawsonville, Georgia.
But despite some potentially adverse conditions, the newly tagged Rapide S, took to the track better than any four-door road car I’ve even tried out. The track at AMP sports an endless, long, looping curve at the tail end and I was fully expected to have the Rapide S rear shimmy a bit on me, especially since I am a middling track driver at best. But this amazing car stayed on point and rock solid as I increased by speed on each circuit of the track. A new bolder nose design and larger rear flip may contribute to the car’s handling at high speed. But the real news for this iteration of the Rapide is a new engine: The AM11, a 5.9-liter V12 powerplant with a hp jump from 470 in the previous Rapide to 550 in the Rapide S. New active shock dampening is included as well, and, like the engine, is thanks to developments from Aston Martin’s latest Vanquish flagship auto.
After a full day on the track, doing things most four-doors can only dream of, the Rapide S solidifies its position as the world’s most beautiful, and most race worthy, four door sports car in the world. Look for a full review in an upcoming issue of Elite Traveler.