Aston Martin Rapide | All Revved Up with Aaron Borrill

22 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Aston Martin Rapide | All Revved Up with Aaron Borrill
Aston Martin Rapide

Aston Martin Rapide

As a motoring journalist, you often tend to take the opportunity of driving really awesome cars for granted, but every so often, a car comes along that reminds you to appreciate what it is that you do for a living. The Aston Martin Rapide is Gaydon#8217;s finest vehicle, their flagship model and a car so refined and composed it makes the likes of Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Porsche look rather mundane in comparison.

They say nothing beats the sound emitted by a V12 engine at full tilt and I#8217;m going to have to agree. After spending the better part of three days behind the wheel of the Rapide, I think I have to swallow my pride and take back every defamatory remark I#8217;ve ever made about British cars.

The whole experience is a magical one – the cockpit is strewn in high-end trim and space-age gadgets; things like the ignition bezel glows red when you push the key to start the engine and the Bang Olufsen sound system is highlighted by speaker turrets that ceremoniously rise up from the leather-clad dashboard.

Contrary to what people think, the Rapide is Aston Martin’s second attempt at a four-door saloon after the terribly styled and largely unsuccessful Lagonda of the ’70s and ’80s. The Rapide is essentially a DB9 with two extra doors and although it#8217;s 30cm longer and 140kg heavier, it handles itself with composure and grace – even at its limit.

Like its rivals, the Rapide#8217;s wrap-around body-clutching seats can comfortably seat four adults and the rear cabin area is sprinkled with appointments like DVD screens, climate control buttons, auxiliary points, a couple of remote controls and earphones.

Unlike a conventional automatic gear selector, the Rapide boasts an uncommon gear switch arrangement. Four buttons marked P, N, R and D inhabit the dashboard fascia with two buttons lining up on each side of the ignition bezel.

As much as the Rapide is a luxurious vehicle, it#8217;s also deceptively quick and shouldn#8217;t be messed with. It#8217;s powered by a hand-built 6-litre V12 engine that generates 350kW and 600Nm.

Even though it tips the scales at 1900kg, its gearbox, sport suspension and sport mode ensure a frighteningly fast 0-100km/h sprint of just 5.2 seconds and if you keep your foot to the floor, you#8217;ll reach a top speed just shy of 300km/h (296km/h).

Once the rev needle sweeps over 3000rpm, a set of valves in the exhaust system unlock to free the loudest and most mesmerising sound imaginable – a sound I wish my wife knew how to make, but if the noise gets a little too much, driving under 3000rpm will ensure a peaceful trip.

Those affluent enough to afford the Rapide won#8217;t be interested with its performance abilities. It#8217;s a vehicle geared toward those who have acquired life-long success and don#8217;t want to drive themselves home in traffic anymore; they#8217;d rather have someone else do that for them – a job I#8217;d gladly apply for.

Aston Martin Rapide

As far as perfection goes, the Rapide is at the top of the pile – It#8217;s motoring nirvana. It#8217;s not just the most complete car I#8217;ve ever driven, it#8217;s the prettiest by a mile. Make that a hundred miles.

Price: R2 800 000

Engine: 6-litre V12

Power: 350kW/600Nm

0-100km/h: 5.2 seconds

Top speed: 296km/h

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

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