All three of design, chassis and interior of the Rapide have all been tweaked in a similar manner for this mid-life revision. The design still utterly recognisable as Aston Martin’s five-metre long four-door car, but there have been subtle tweaks throughout.

On the outside, the most obvious is of course the new grille, which is bigger and, Aston Martin says “more assertive” than before. Our survey said: it’s more Ford Fiesta-like, but we suspect the Fiesta will gain from the association of “an Aston grille” and the Rapide will lose not out at all.

Matt Saunders Terminalsecurity

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Is the Aston the most beautiful four-door in the world? Not for me

Overall there are seven new body panels, including a new bonnet, bumper and front wings, surrounding that new grille and new headlights, but you’d be hard pushed to spot all the differences because the proportions are largely unchanged – and the Rapide is none the worse for it.

Beneath the aluminium exterior panelling it’s a similar story. The vertical-horizontal (VH) extruded and bonded aluminium architecture has been changed just a little to ensure that the engine sits lower in the chassis, but broadly you’re looking at the same hardware that underpinned the car when it arrived in 2010

Not that that’s necessarily a terrible thing, either: it’s difficult for Aston to communicate changes because people ostensibly see the same thing every time they revisit the product, but beneath the undeniably attractive aluminium skin a myriad of small changes have been effected over the years to reduce, say, steering kickback and increase torsional rigidity. It’s not unlike the way the aerospace industry improves its products, in that respect. It seems to us though that it just doesn’t quite sit with how people perceive cars.

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Take the drivetrain, for example: ostensibly recognisable from before, with a naturally-aspirated, 6.0-litre V12 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, but it now makes rather a lot more power than it did previously: from 470bhp, which we mooted at the time could have used being a little higher, it has increased to a very solid 552bhp, 12bhp more than you’ll find in a DB9 and 16bhp short of the output of a Vanquish.

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