Aston Martin Rapide |

28 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Aston Martin Rapide |
Aston Martin Rapide

Aston Martin Rapide

by Chris Jackson #8211;

Aston Martins have always been deceptive exotics. The word #8220;exotic car#8221; conjures images of svelte Italian sports cars wailing sonorously along the high banks of race tracks and burbling through high-dollar neighborhoods. Aston Martins have traditionally been burlier, bulkier vehicles#8211;no less refined or sharp-edged in terms of performance, but perhaps not quite so delicate.

Like Bentley, Aston Martin#8217;s history as a #8220;gentlemen#8217;s car#8221; injects a hint of manly-man grunt into the high-dollar, high performance chassis.

Interestingly, the new Aston Martin Rapide bucks that trend, cleaving much closer to the dream-car aesthetic and feel of a proper exotic.

This is perhaps somewhat ironic, since the Rapide is also a step away from traditional exotic cars thanks to its four doors. The Rapide is, after all, the first four-door Aston Martin since 1989. With Maserati, Porsche, Bentley and even Rolls-Royce all getting into the ultra-luxury sports sedan game, it#8217;s not such a surprise to see that Aston Martin has joined the club.

The Rapide offers transport for four passengers, in ridiculous comfort and at ridiculous speeds, should one be so inclined.

Envisioned in 2006, the Rapide kept most of its show-car looks during the transition from sketch to reality. The long nose and grille are unmistakably Aston pieces, but the smoothly wrapped body is more delicate-looking than the muscular Vantage.

The powerful Aston lines are there, but there#8217;s a watch-like precision to the familiar grille and shoulder lines that suggests a more genteel vehicle than the typical Aston Martin#8211;which is saying something, as your typical Aston Martin all but defines #8220;genteel#8221; these days. The frameless doors split the difference between standard doors and the #8220;scissor#8221; doors favored by exoticars, rising at a gentle angle to the body.

Aston calls them #8220;swan wing#8221; doors, and they#8217;re designed to avoid parking lot scuffing, as well as looking cool. The body and structure are mostly aluminum and other lightweight metals and composites, keeping this big car#8217;s weight to just over two tons.

Step inside this car, and you#8217;ll know the difference between a four-door coupe and a sedan. You sit low in the Rapide, and it feels almost like that of a hand-built concept car. That#8217;s got a lot to do with Aston Martin#8217;s attention to detail.

The doors are finely sculpted, and the dash is slathered in a choice of eight rich materials in a way similar to what you#8217;ll find on a concept car.

The leather upholstery is hand-stitched. A broad strip of your chosen material#8211;mahogany, piano-black, bamboo or other trims#8211;and a tallish console separate the driver and passenger. Handsome ambient lighting keeps the mood elegant at night. Rear-seat passengers also get individual seating and a wide console.

The rear seats also fold flat, allowing the Rapide to carry over thirty cubic feet of cargo. The Rapide takes some introduction; from the sapphire-crystal smartkey to the heated and cooled seats, this is one of those cars that does everything a little bit differently. The pushbuttons for gear selection are mounted in a row across the middle of the dash, making it difficult to quickly select a gear and go.

In addition to physical comfort, the Rapide also provides emotional luxury in the form of a 1000-watt Bang Olufsen sound system. A navigation system, satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity are standard; a rear-seat entertainment system is optional.

There#8217;s no excuse for an exotic car to lack performance, and the Rapide does not need to make excuses. It#8217;s powered by a hand-built 6.0 liter V12. The powerplant uses quad overhead cams and a four-valve layout for traditionally smooth V12 power delivery, and it#8217;s mounted far back in the chassis for tighter handling. With 470 horsepower on tap, the Rapide has the capability to be quite rapid, indeed.

Zero to sixty comes up in about five seconds, and Aston reports a 188-mph top speed. The power gets to the road via a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual mode that#8217;s activated by steering wheel paddles.

The structure underneath is no stranger to sporting intent#8211;it#8217;s shared with the DB9 coupe. The Rapide is light-footed when the road begins to bend, thanks to double wishbones at all four corners. It#8217;s responsive, thanks to an engine layout that keeps most of the heavy components close to the center of the body.

Anti-squat and anti-dive geometry is included, and active shocks are part of the package as well. Traction and stability control are standard, of course, and the Rapide is stopped by big six-piston calipers at all four corners.

This is more like a piece of jewelry than an automobile; Aston Martin may have a performance pedigree similar to Bentley#8217;s, but the car doesn#8217;t feel like it would be happy being driven at ten-tenths. In fact, the Rapide feels more like a concept car than a real, live, roadgoing vehicle, even on the road. Perhaps that#8217;s the point.

Aston Martin Rapide

All specs are for the 2010 Aston Martin Rapide.

Length: 197.6 in.

Width: 84.3 in.

Height: 53.5 in.


Curb weight: 4387 lb.

Cargo space: 31.3 cu.ft.

Aston Martin Rapide
Aston Martin Rapide
Aston Martin Rapide
Aston Martin Rapide

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