Aston Martin Rapide: All things to all men

In all honesty i don’t think I need to say too much about this car. It’s an Aston Martin with a 6 litre V12 and room for four. I think this just might be a car which is all things to all men.

We will start with the show stopping looks. The front end is essentially that from the DB9 and is therefore very pretty.

Stunning; just one word to describe the new saloon

The grills are slightly larger with the bottom being more prominent giving it its own look of sorts. The new LED lights which run along the inside of the headlights give it a slightly more menacing look than its smaller sister, the DB9. Working back down the body it is clear to see that Aston have not fallen into a similar trap that the Porsche Panamera fell into. On the Porsche, incidentally one of Aston’s main rivals, was that it looked too much like a stretch 911, the rear doors seemed a bit out of place. On the Rapide the doors fit sleekly into the body line without losing the trademark Aston bodyline. The back end is lifted if the rear of the Vantage which in certainly my opinion anyway is better looking than the DB9’s. So certainly in terms of looks the new Rapide is a blend of everything Aston has done so well in recent years.

The interior is the usual blend of exquisite leather, shiny surfaces and brushed aluminium. As with any Aston Martin the interior is very simple. There are two crystal clear dials, as well as a digital speedo in the centre for extra clarity. The centre console looks considerably more appealing that the Porsche’s given that there is half the number of buttons yet boasts most of the same functionality. But of course with this car it is all about what is happening in the back. The rear leg room does leave a little bit to be desired. Also head room is a bit restricted. This comes at a cost of the Rapide’s body line which conceals those rear doors so well. Whilst the Porsche’s doors stick out a little more the rear head room and leg room is better as a result. There is no shortage of entertainment for rear passengers though. Rear screens are fitted as standard with simple controls on the console separating the two seats.

The 6.3 litre heart that beats beneath the bonnet

Of course the main party piece of the Aston is the glorious 6 litre V12 engine lurking under the surface. The ford derived engine boasts an impressive 470 bhp, although it is not quite the 510 you get from the DBS it is still enough to shake up the passengers in the back a little bit. The gear box is a six speed ‘touchtronic’ paddle shift. By now Aston has worked out the bugs that plagued the gear box when it first featured in the Vanquish and early DB9 models. A lot of effort has gone into making the Rapide not just powerful but good in the corners as well. It features the same under pinned chassis that the DB9 and DBS run on as well as sport suspension and a limited slip differential. Then there is the addition of a sport mode which sharpens up the suspension, throttle response and gear changes. All this makes it handle like a proper Aston.

The Rapide is certainly a terrific car. Sensational looks boosted by impressive performance and crisp handling put it above the Porsche Panamera. The danger is with this car is that it might be compared to the Rolls Royce Phantom or the new Ghost. Both these cars sport similar engines to the Aston but have twice the leg room and luxury. The difference is the Rolls Royce is a car to be driven in on your way to your private jet or luxury yacht. The Aston Martin Rapide is a car to drive, one to get behind the wheel and properly enjoy.

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