Andy Palmer, the outspoken boss of British prestige marque Aston Martin, says the next Rapide will offer a heroic electric option - and that Tesla’s latest power upgrade, Ludicrous Mode, “is stupid”.
Speaking with industry journal Automotive News at this week’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California, Palmer promised his company is pulling out all the stops on the next generation of its sleek four-door coupe.
Conventional high-powered petrol engines will continue to be offered, thanks to the company’s supply deal with Mercedes-AMG, but Palmer believes that offering big V12 engines in today’s evolving market also means “you’ve got to do something at the opposite end of the spectrum”.
That means electric power and, for Aston Martin in particular, it means big electric power.
Exact specifications for the new Rapide are still to be locked in, but, according to Automotive News, Palmer has set some specific goals: around 800hp (597kW) in power, all-wheel drive, and a 320-kilometre driving range at least.
It’s not all about output, though. He added that buyers in the ultra-premium segment are no longer looking for power alone: “they start now looking for legacy”.
The popularity of American upstart Tesla Motors may have something to do with that evolution, with its expensive but hugely advanced Model S electric sedan proving popular with buyers and onlookers alike.
In comparison to Andy Palmer’s goals for the next Rapide, which is around two years away from market, the already available dual-motor Tesla Model S P85D boasts 193kW/375kW (front/rear) power figures and a claimed 491km driving range.
“But I think it’s hard, though not impossible, for them [Tesla] as a relatively new brand to keep pushing up and to go into that super premier area,” Palmer told Automotive News.
Aston Martin’s heritage, brand cachet and higher market position will set the next Rapide apart from the Model S, which is more of a BMW 5 Series rival.
Palmer is also no fan of Tesla’s latest upgrade, Ludicrous Mode, which, with the right package at purchase, promises an incredible 2.8-second sprint to 100km/h.
“We don’t do Ludicrous because Ludicrous speed is stupid,” Palmer said, adding that a vehicle’s ability to lap the Nurburgring Nordschleife at racing speeds is of greater interest.