Motoring in Kent
PUBLISHED: 19:07 05 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:18 20 February 2013
Kent Life reviews Aston Martin's new Rapide
Kent Life reviews Aston Martins new Rapide
Ok, Ill admit it. When I walked out of the house carrying the glass keyfob, unlocked the Aston, slid behind the wheel and fired up the V12, I felt a bit like James Bond. It seemed natural, normal even. Id had the Aston a few days; it was part of my life now. No baddie was safe.
I was deluded. As elating as it is to be invited to borrow beautiful machinery for the weekend, its almost more punishing to have to give it back. I know, I know. Poor me.
The sleek, shark-nosed super saloon you see in these pictures is Aston Martins Rapide; its the first four-door car the company has produced since the 1970s and, with Porsches cheaper Panamera hunting the sector for performance-hungry families, its got its work cut out.
The styling is an immediate headstart. The Panamera is really very ugly theres no other way of putting it but the Rapides bloodline is immediately obvious. Its exactly how youd imagine a stretched DB9 would look; stunning.
Pretty it might be, but at five metres long the extra length is crucial to provide room for those rear seats. The grace with which you enter and exit them, though, is directly proportional to your athleticism; the Rapide is never going to decant you onto the pavement in style.
It hardly matters. There is plenty of room for a couple of adults on a reasonably swift journey. You wouldnt want to spend all day in the back (even with the individual DVD screens), but then Aston didnt set out to create a limo think of it as a DB9 with carrying capacity for four and a good-sized boot, too.
Thumb the backlit starter button and a ferocious bark from the exhausts is followed by a low growling sound. Click the paddle into first, bury your foot into the plush carpet and the resulting event is extraordinary. Astons 6.0 litre 470bhp V12 slingshots the car forward, the exhaust valves open and youre treated to a vicious metallic roar; the pipes crackle as you click up another gear and by now youre well on your way to a fine, a ban and a lot of explaining. The pace and soundtrack are an intoxicating combination.
For a five-metre car it doesnt half handle, too. A stiff bodyshell and magnetically controlled dampers give it fluidity and grip most cars this size could only dream of. Dont let the four doors and extra seats fool you the Rapide is a serious sports car and yet, drop the slick six-speed gearbox into automatic, turn up the 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo and motorway miles just melt by.
Inside, the detailing is exquisite. Luxury is interpreted differently at Aston; its not about more features, its about quality. The finish, feel and attention to detail are second to none, the gadgetry is unobtrusive and while the Volvo sat-nav is fiddly and tyre roar a little intrusive, theres precious little it does wrong. I sadly havent the space to explain everything the Rapide does perfectly, but I can tell you this; if youre after a four-seater that makes every journey special, youve just found it.
Aston Martin Rapide
Price: from 139,950
Performance: 0-62mph: 5.3 sec
Economy: 19mpg (combined)
Engine: 6.0 litre V12
Gearbox: Six-speed auto
Contact details: 0844 668 0140