New central touchscreen tech shown at CES 2016 previews brand’s future; upcoming DB11 sports car could benefit too

Aston Martin has revealed a Rapide S concept car in partnership with Chinese tech firm LeTV at CES 2016 – and the connected car features it shows off could make their way into production Astons.

The car can connect to LeTV’s cloud service to allow the car to talk to other connected devices and vehicles. It also gets a large central touchscreen for all the infotainment features, as well as a 12.2-inch digital display behind the steering wheel to display important information. Speech recognition software improves safety and usability, too.

Aston CEO Andy Palmer told us that while most of the tech on this concept is looking quite far into the future, some smaller aspects could make their way into the upcoming DB11.

“DB11 technology is a derived principle from Daimler – but clearly not everything that goes on our future car is necessarily Daimler predicated. We’re given the canvas but we can play with the modules within that.”

Dr Palmer told us that he’s keen to implement autonomous parking, but didn’t confirm that this will appear on the DB11. What it won’t have is an autonomous driving mode: “We will strategically sit behind in autonomous cars because we believe ourselves to be a drivers’ car company,” he told us.

Aston Martin’s DBX crossover, which was confirmed for production in spring 2015, will have an electric powertrain. Dr Palmer said: “It’s our plan to have electric power for the DBX… We have to make a decision on where the battery goes, probably at the end of this month, then continue with the development of the attributes of the car.

“The technology between doing an electric sports car like the Rapide and an SUV or crossover is different – there’s the weight of the vehicle, for example.”

Fans of the brand needn’t worry about losing the petrol-powered models, though, as the brand will continue to offer large engines in its sports cars for as long as it can.

“You can be sure our cars will be hybridised and electric in the future simply because of emissions regulations. I’m keen to go with electricity because it gives me zero emissions cars on one hand, which allows me to continue with our V12 engines on the other,” said Dr Palmer.