2020 Aston Martin Rapide E
About the Car
2020 Aston Martin Rapide E
Aston Martin Lagonda has revealed the final production-ready iteration of its first all-electric production car, with the spectacular Aston Martin Rapide E making its world debut at China’s Auto Shanghai 2019 motor show.
Unveiled by Aston Martin Executive Vice President & Chief Creative Officer, Marek Reichman, Rapide E is a pivotal model for the luxury marque. Following the success of previous special-edition models, including Aston Martin Vulcan, the Vanquish Zagato family and DB4 GT Continuation, Rapide E continues to deliver a superior level of performance, craftmanship and exclusivity, while also propelling Aston Martin into the all-electric realm.
The first car to be built at Aston Martin’s state-of-the-art St Athan production facility – the brand’s Home of Electrification – Rapide E represents a pioneering first step towards achieving the company’s wider electrification strategy and the successful fruition of Lagonda – the world’s first zero-emission luxury brand. A special edition with a production run strictly limited to 155 units, Rapide E has been developed in collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE).
Shown for the first time here in Shanghai today, Aston Martin’s design and engineering teams have worked in partnership to extract the optimal aerodynamic performance available from the Rapide’s elegant form. Traditional metal vanes give way to a striking honeycomb front grille. With lower cooling requirements demanded of the EV powertrain, Aston Martin’s aerodynamic engineers have been given the freedom to optimize the aperture of the frontal area, minimising airflow through the car’s body, improving the car’s aerodynamic efficiency and increasing range as a result.
DBS Superleggera Volante continues the aerodynamic masterpiece of the coupe model, commanding and exploiting the surface airflow to maximum effect. At the front, the car’s splitter and airdam work in unison, accelerating airflow underneath the front of the car to deliver true downforce and assist cooling by feeding air to the front brakes. The new deeper side strake draws more air from the front wheel arch to reduce lift and aid high-speed stability.
Behind the front wheels, the ‘curlicue’ allows air to escape and flow smoothly along the car’s flanks, while the double diffuser at the rear allows air to exit cleanly and neutralise lift as efficiently as possible. A revised iteration – to accommodate the Volante’s clothed roofline – of the revolutionary Aeroblade ll system continues to deliver additional downforce at the car’s rear. At VMAX, DBS Superleggera Volante produces 177kg of downforce, just 3kg less than the coupe, an impressive feat when considering the car’s fundamental aerodynamic changes.
Each dynamic driving mode brings its own level of noise too, feeding the level of emotional character and connection. In GT mode, the engine note simmers, but select Sport or Sport Plus and the acoustics become progressively more intense. Conversely, when you wish to be discreet, ‘quiet start’ offers a low-key alternative to Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante’s otherwise rousing flare of revs on start-up.
900Nm of torque is fed via a carbon-fibre prop shaft to a new ZF 8-speed automatic transmission mounted at the back of the car. Strengthened to cope with the V12’s massive torque output, this transmission also has a shorter final drive for increased responsiveness and in-gear acceleration. Specially developed adaptive software gauges the conditions the car is operating in, along with the driver’s demands, to ensure the car is in exactly the right gear at the right time.
Volante is a name that can only be attributed to convertible cars bearing the iconic Aston Martin wings badge, and thus the defining feature of any Volante is its roof. An advanced fabric system allows for an innovative and beautiful formed flowing roof line. Incorporating eight layers of insulation materials and acoustically enhancing materials, the canopy greatly improves the comfort of the interior cabin for all occupants when up, but allows a true orchestra of sound to pour into the cabin when retracted.
The authentic soundtrack delivered by the car’s powertrain is a critical hallmark of the Volante experience and typically, the DBS Superleggera Volante has been tuned to provide incredible sound quality synonymous with an Aston Martin Super GT. Equipped with a quad exhaust system DBS Superleggera Volante delivers a pure, harmonic and authentic voice, unmatched by its rivals.
Aston Martin’s engineers have worked hard to ensure the best possible roof and rear package is achieved, while still delivering conflicting targets of styling and durability. With a class-leading stack height of 260mm for the car’s folded roof, Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante maintains a smooth seamless rear profile and maximised luggage capacity. Roof operation takes 14 seconds to open and 16 seconds to close and can be operated from inside or, for added convenience, from the remote key within a two-metre radius of the car.
Exposed to conditions as extreme as the heat of Death Valley and the extremities of the Arctic Circle during development, the roof mechanism has been put through more than 100,000 cycles. Simulating 10 years of usage into a one-month test, the functional capability of the roof mechanism has been thoroughly tested.
Continuing Aston Martin’s persistence for offering extensive levels of customisation, DBS Superleggera Volante’s hood is available in eight distinct colours including Bordeaux Red, Atlantic Blue and Titan Grey. The hood can be further personalised on the inside, with a further six Rokona headliners. For the first time on an Aston Martin Volante model, the window screen surround is available with a 2×2 twill carbon fibre finish, with the option to continue that theme to the car’s tonneau cover and rear waterfall. Large pieces of finely-woven carbon fibre pieces replace what was once swathed in leather and for the most exclusive specifications, tinted carbon fibre is also available for selection.
Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group CEO, Dr Andy Palmer, said of the DBS Superleggera Volante: “There is nothing on earth that compares to the roar of an Aston Martin V12 and I believe that the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante provides one of the greatest sensory experiences in the automotive world. This is truly a testament to the no compromise approach of our engineers and designers, to deliver the two key aspects of a convertible Super GT. Exceptional performance in an irresistible form, DBS Superleggera has justifiably won the hearts and minds of Super GT lovers the world over, and the Volante takes this concept to the next level”.
Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante is priced at £247,500 (RRP inc Tax) in the UK, €295,500 (RRP in Tax) in Germany and $329,100 (MSRP inc. Gas Guzzler Tax) in the US. Deliveries are set to begin from Q3 2019.
A re-designed underfloor streamlines airflow from the front splitter right the way through to Rapide E’s new larger rear diffuser – a feature that is now wholly dedicated to aero efficiency due to the removal of the exhaust system required before. The model’s forged aluminium aerodynamic wheels – shod with bespoke low rolling-resistance Pirelli P-Zero tyres – have also been re-designed to give greater efficiency, without compromising brake cooling capability. The sum of these changes gives Rapide E’s aerodynamic package an 8% improvement over the previous internal combustion model.
Inside and out, Rapide E is equipped with the materials and technology befitting of the marque’s first EV model. Gone are the analogue displays of the past. A 10″ digital display now sits in their place, delivering all key information to the driver while on the move, including the battery’s state of charge, current motor power levels, regenerative performance and a real-time energy consumption meter. Swathes of carbon fibre have been deployed throughout, assisting in delivering the strict weight targets set by Aston Martin’s engineering team from the outset.
Extending the experience beyond the car, a dedicated app allows key information from the car to be remotely monitored. This powerful dashboard displays remaining range, battery status, and time to charge, as well as allowing navigation destinations to be sent from the app to the car for easy route planning. The car’s parking spot can also be seen via the app, with walking directions provided to help re-locate it in busy locations. Finally, the health and status of Rapide E can also be tracked from the app, providing reminders such as when a key service is due.
Throughout the development process, the combined AML/WAE engineering team first focussed their efforts on finding packaging solutions for the battery system and motors within the Rapide’s architecture before working to achieve effective cooling of the batteries and motors.
Aston Martin Rapide E is powered by an 800V electrical architecture battery – encased in carbon fibre and Kevlar casing – with a 65kWh installed capacity using over 5600 lithium-ion 18650 format cylindrical cells. This bespoke battery pack lies where the original 6.0-litre V12, gearbox and fuel tank were located, with the 800V system allowing for more efficient charging and greatly improved thermal characteristics over existing electrical architectures. This battery system powers two rear mounted electric motors producing a combined target output of just over 610PS and a colossal 950Nm of torque.
Aston Martin Rapide E’s range is over 200 miles under the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), while the model is capable of charging at a rate of 185 miles of range per hour using a typical 400V 50kW charger. However, the car’s 800V high-voltage battery system enables faster charging of 310 miles of range per hour, using an 800V outlet delivering 100kW or higher. For destination charging, the car also features an industry-leading high-power AC on-board charger capable of recharging the battery in as little as 3 hours.
Top speed for Rapide E is 155mph, with a sub-4.0 second 0-60mph time and a 50-70mph time of just 1.5 seconds. These figures are not restricted to a narrow window of battery charge or climatic conditions, instead, thanks to the cutting-edge 800V architecture, the Rapide E will deliver its performance in a consistent and repeatable way as would be expected from a traditional Aston Martin product. This includes the ability to drive a full lap of the Nürburgring with no performance derating of the battery or the motors.
Aston Martin Rapide E also enhances the feel, character and delivery of the V12-engined recently acclaimed Rapide AMR, thanks to careful attention paid to the tuning of both the electric powertrain and the chassis across three driving modes – GT, Sport and Sport + – which are selected for both the powertrain and handling. The rear-wheel drive Rapide E’s twin electric motors drive through a Limited-Slip Differential, which combined with a revised spring and damper rates, ensures the pure handling characteristics of the petrol-powered Rapide AMR are retained.
Speaking ahead of Rapide E’s Shanghai debut, Dr Andy Palmer, President and Group CEO, Aston Martin Lagonda, commented: “Unveiling the Rapide E will be a huge moment for Aston Martin. As our first all-electric production car, it is a truly historic step. One that signals Aston Martin is prepared for the huge challenge of an environmentally responsible and sustainable future. As a car company we cannot afford to passively allow that future to come to us; we have to actively chase it. Only by doing this can we learn and prepare, but also preserve those things we love as drivers and car enthusiasts. That’s why it was so important to me that in embracing EV technology we should not let go of those unique qualities that define an Aston Martin. I believe Rapide E embodies that desire and paves the way for a hugely exciting future.”