Aston Martin’s mission to bring us the most beautiful four-door in the world hit second gear with this, the Aston Martin Rapide S.

2013 marked the arrival of what you might call a mid-cycle refreshed version of the intriguing hybrid coupe-cum-saloon, launched in 2010 - except that the Aston Martin Rapide S is a much more altered animal compared to the original model than those terms would imply.

There’s a whole new front-end structure here, a revised engine, a reinforced body, a reappraised chassis, a freshened-up cabin – as well as that thrusting new grille.

Here, then, is a chance for Gaydon to hit the reset button; to cast memories of the first Rapide’s troubled early years – of outsourced production, slow initial sales and punishing early residual values – to the dustbin of history. This car may not quite be all new, but rest assured, it’s much newer than it looks. Perhaps even more important, it’s a clean slate.

Aston’s claims for it are many. This car, they say, pushes the company’s four-door model through two specific performance watersheds: it takes less than 5.0sec to hit 60mph, and is capable of 190mph flat out.

It has 17 per cent more power than its predecessor, and 10 per cent more torque at 2500rpm. It has a heavily revised chassis too, and offers as big a gain in refinement as it does on speed. 

Is all that to be believed? You’re about to read the only verdict that matters.

Top 5 Super luxury

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • BMW M240i
    First Drive
    26 October 2016
    More power, more speed, more noise: BMW's revamped and renamed performance coupé is sweeter than ever
  • Volkswagen Up High 1.0 TSI
    First Drive
    26 October 2016
    A new turbocharged three-pot injects some fun into VW's slick city car and makes it a more rounded package
  • 2017 Vauxhall Insignia prototype first drive
    First Drive
    25 October 2016
    We review the next-generation Vauxhall Insignia and find that, while still disguised and giving little away about its appearance, it's encouragingly good to drive
  • 2016 Ford Kuga ST-Line 1.5 Ecoboost 182
    First Drive
    25 October 2016
    The Kuga ST-Line is enjoyable to drive, but this version of the 1.5-litre Ecoboost engine doesn't suit Ford's SUV
  • Car review
    21 October 2016
    Can Seat’s first SUV impress, even with the heavy burden of expectation?