2011 Aston Martin Rapide
short: An elegant alternative to the usual six-figure sport sedans.
Aston Martin Rapide Review
Aston Martin's last four-door was the astronomically priced Lagonda, and it punctuated the heady landscape of 1980s excess with ruler-sharp lines and a silhouette that had more in common with a door stop than a sedan.
What a difference two decades make.
The new Rapide is to complex curves as the Lagonda was to linearity, and this sweeping sedan's taut muscularity lends it a road presence that makes the Maserati Quattroporte and Porsche Panamera look practically passé.
Under the Aston's vented hood is a 6.0 liter V-12 sourced from the DB9, and the mill is mated to a six-speed automatic that can also be paddle-shifted manually, propelling the two-ton sedan forward with effortless insistence. Thanks to the rearward-mounted powerplant and forward-positioned gearbox, the Rapide handled switchbacks and passes in the mountainous area outside of Valencia, Spain, with sports car-like precision. The adaptive suspension relents around town, allowing the optional 20 inch wheels to soak up potholes with ease, automatically stiffening when the road meanders.
The Rapide's interior cossets occupants with buttery leather, Alcantara, and available finishes including mahogany, piano black, and bamboo. The 1,000 watt Bang & Olufsen sound system is nothing short of sublime; other options include cooled seats, a twin screen rear entertainment system with six-disc DVD player, and personalized details like an engraved sill and color-keyed accents.
Is the Rapide perfect? Not quite; its rear seating isn't nearly as capacious as the Porsche Panamera's, some of the A/C and stereo controls are woefully counterintuitive, and those elegant interior surfaces seem a bit too precious for daily use. But if you're looking for a high-end sedan that brings a sense of occasion to your daily drive, Aston Martin's Rapide delivers a stirring combination of soothing interior and the potent punch of coupé-like performance.
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Warranty/Service: 3-year/unlimited-mile basic warranty; 3-year/unlimited-mile
Base Price: $207,895/ As Tested: $220,040
type: front mid-mounted engine, rear wheel-drive 4-passenger, 4-door coupe
Engine: 6.0-liter V12
Horsepower: 470 bhp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 443 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm
Transmission: rear mid-mounted Touchtronic 2 6-speed automatic
Curb weight: 4,299 lbs
Wheelbase: 117.7 in
Length/Width/Height: 197.6/84.3/53.5 in
Turning circle: N/A
Brakes: dual-cast, six-piston front and four-piston rear with anti-lock (ABS) and electronic brake distribution (EBD)
Suspension: independent front and rear double-wishbone with adaptive damping
Traction: traction control, stability control, electronic brake assist
Safety: standard front, dual front side, and front and rear head airbags
mph: 5.0 seconds
Top Speed: 184 mph
EPA City: 13 mpg
EPA Highway: 19 mpg
Likes: rakishly beautiful lines, sumptuous interior finishes, piercing performance contradicts airy aesthetics
Dislikes: Rear seating area is snug, stereo/climate control interfaces are illogical, vulnerable interior textures discourage use of practical features like fold-down rear storage area
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Text: Basem Wasef
Photography: AlphaMedia and Aston Martin