Aston Martin Rapide S

The one weak spot in Aston Martin's range, if you exclude the little Cygnet shoved into a dark corner here at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, is the Rapide. It should have been the car to lure in shoppers who really want an Aston but need more versatility than a sedan offers.

That's why it has evolved from the Rapide to the all-new Rapide S. The new vehicle has a more prominent look, some cool engineering touches and a chunk of extra mojo to give it the firepower it needs to make a statement.

That great new grille dominates, of course, but it's the combination of attention to detail and the tasteful scale of this stretched 4-door that makes it special. The Rapide S has more than enough presence about it to pass muster as a desirable Aston — something it couldn't manage before now.

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Aston Martin Rapide S

Click to enlarge picture2014 Aston Martin Rapide S (© Aston Martin)

Aston Martin Rapide S

Click to enlarge pictureAston Martin Rapide S (© Headline Auto)

Aston Martin Rapide S

What is it? The Aston Martin Rapide 4-door sports car was a great concept that never quite hit the mark. It wasn't really the genuine Porsche Panamera rival the automaker hoped it would be.

It is now, says Aston. The new Rapide S, which replaces the standard Rapide in all worldwide markets, gets a big power boost and a sharp new look, in an effort to turn it into the car it always should have been.

What's hot? Aston Martin has installed the heavily revised 6.0-liter V12 engine from the Vanquish in the Rapide S. Producing 550 horsepower, it is a full 17 percent more powerful than before and turns the Rapide S into a 190-mph 4-door.

What's not? That huge grille at the front won't be to everyone's liking. Also, we can't help wondering why Aston Martin didn't get the Rapide right in the first place.

How much and when? The Aston Martin Rapide S is now on sale through every one of Aston's 146 dealers worldwide and costs about $225,000. Expect deliveries to start in the summer.

MSN Autos' verdict? The Rapide S is markedly improved. The 6.0-liter V12 engine has 80 more horses than before, and that's always a good thing. A bonus: Despite the bigger engine, it gets better gas mileage than the Rapide, and is also relatively "greener," now averaging about 19 mpg.

Read Blog:  Aston Martin Rapide S: 550 horsepower