Aston Martin has delivered a handful of updates to its Rapide S and Vanquish models, tweaking technical and trim aspects of both.
The super coupe and saloon twins now feature a new eight-speed ZF transmission, replacing the six-speed unit previously found in both.
Uniquely, the Touchtronic III shifter utilises the same gearbox case that wrapped the six-gear unit, with ZF slotting another two into the same space - among other performance and efficiency-focused tweaks.
The debut of the new ZF shifter in the Aston cars also marks the first time an eight-speed unit has featured in a transaxle arrangement.
Despite the additional gears, the overhauled unit is now four kilograms lighter, and the 0-100km/h sprint times for both are now noteably quicker.
For the Vanquish, that means a run of 3.8 seconds instead of 4.1, while the Rapide S will get there in 4.4 instead of 4.7 seconds. Impressive? For an ageing platform that just refuses to quit, we reckon so.
For extra kudos, both cars are now capable of a top speed beyond 321km/h.
New engine management tunes also feature, with torque slightly increased in the process. Both now turn out 630Nm - up from 620Nm.
Those tweaks, to the ECU and with the new shifter, have also seen CO2 emissions improved by an average of 10 percent - down to 298 g/km for Vanquish and 300 g/km for Rapide S.
Uprated suspension also stars in the Vanquish, making the coupe a full 15 percent stiffer up front and 35 percent stiffer at the rear.
Styling changes are subtle “but important”, the company says, with new ten-spoke forged alloy wheel designs on offer in “a variety of finishes”.
Those changes are rounded out by new colour options on the outside, and new trim options in the cabin.
The updated Astons will hit European showrooms in the coming months, and we can likely expect an Australian debut in early 2015.
Daimler Boosts Aston Share To 5 Percent
An existing technology supply partnership between Aston Martin and Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler got a shot in the arm this week, with Daimler increasing its share in the British brand from 4 to 5 percent.
That boost comes with an expanded agreement that will see Daimler supply Aston not only with engines through its AMG performance arm, but also new electric and electronic components.
The two companies are also believed to be in talks on the development of a new Aston-badged SUV that could hit the market by 2017, another neither marque has commented on this.
Reports in recent months have suggested Daimler may eventually move to buy Aston - one of the few prestige brands not already owned by a larger carmaker - but these reports also remain unconfirmed.