Aston Martin's Rapide E will be a luxurious EV rocketship
Aston has been teasing us with details of the Rapide E for years now, but it's finally tipping its hat on the most important details: power and range.
Tim StevensFormer editor at large for CNET Cars
Tim Stevens got his start writing professionally while still in school in the mid '90s, and since then has covered topics ranging from business process management to video game development to automotive technology.
The EV wars are heating up in a delightful way, with Mercedes-Benz taking the wraps off its EQC just last week and Audi less than a week from showing off its E-Tron. On Wednesday, Aston Martin is getting in on the fun by releasing a suite of details about the upcoming Rapide E, an all-electric variation of the company's Rapide S.
The Rapide S is Aston Martin's most practical car, with four doors and four seats, but it's long been designated as the tip of the spear of the company's electrification efforts. First announced as part of a since-aborted partnership with China's LeEco, the former funding source for Faraday Future, the Rapide E is now in development with Williams Advanced Engineering, the consulting offshoot of the Williams F1 racing team.
In electric guise, the Rapide E will offer 602 horsepower and 700 pound-feet of torque. That's a full 50 more horses than the V12-powered Rapide S, and a whopping 235 more pound-feet of torque. Of course, the 65 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack will likely have added some weight, but the acceleration stays strong, with 60 mph arriving in less than 4 seconds, and a top speed of 155 mph.
More important is sustained performance, however, and here Aston Martin promises a full lap of the Nurburgring without the car throttling back due to heat. And total range? Aston indicates 200 miles on the WLTP standard, which would likely put it at somewhere around 175 miles on the harder EPA test here in the US. That's significantly less than today's 240-mile Jaguar I-Pace or the 310-mile Tesla Model 3 Performance.
The Rapide E will use a pair of motors, like the competition mentioned above, but interestingly mounts both at the rear, providing only rear-wheel drive. And, rather than having one motor per rear wheel, their combined power will be routed through an Xtrac transmission and a traditional limited-slip differential. That's vastly different than the standard, transmission-free setup found in most EVs, a layout that should create a unique driving experience.
So that's all the good news. The bad? Only 155 of these will be built, with deliveries not coming until the end of 2019. Why so few? The company says this car will be something of a rolling test bed, with customers providing feedback that will "help shape and improve future Aston Martin EVs." And as to the exact shape of this Aston Martin EV, it seems we're going to have to wait a little bit longer to feast our eyes on anything more than the teaser image above.