The West

New Aston Martin speeds ahead
A 6.0-litre V12 propels this latest Aston Martin from zero to 100km/h in 4.9 seconds, with a top speed of 306km/h.

_ELITE _ British car maker Aston Martin has revealed its fastest four-door vehicle to date and it'll be in Australia in a matter of months.

The new Rapide S is a far different beast from its predecessor, both in terms of appearance and performance.

Powered by a new AM11 naturally aspirated 6.0-litre V12, the Rapide S possesses 410kw of power - up 17 per cent on the current model - while maximum torque jumps from 600Nm to 620Nm.

The end result is a vehicle with 0.3 seconds taken off its 0-100km/h time, with the needle hitting the century mark after just 4.9 seconds, and a top speed of 306km/h.

Suspension can change automatically depending on road surfaces and driving conditions due to the latest version of Aston Martin's adaptive damping system, with three modes for drivers to choose from.

It'll still guzzle down fuel at a pricey 14.2L/100km, though it's greener than the current version in terms of exhaust emissions.

Stylistically, the Rapide S is a relatively bold move for the usually conservative British marque, with a striking full front grille providing some extra attitude while the body aerodynamics have been improved to battle lift at high speeds.

Designers have gone for handcrafted and bespoke finishes, with buyers now able to choose sports or luxury-oriented flourishes.

Sporty options include a liberal use of carbon fibre on elements such as the rear diffuser and mirror caps, while a dark interior pack adds a deep, rich feel.

The Rapide S is expected to go on sale in Australia in late March or early April.

Local Aston Martin sales dropped nearly 7 per cent in 2012 despite the top-end sports car market rising 19.2 per cent.

Prices for the Rapide S are as yet unknown but, considering the current Rapide and Rapide Luxe are listed at more than $371,000 and $403,000 respectively, prospective owners may want to start putting their pennies aside sooner rather than later.

The West Australian

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