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Week at the Wheel: Aston Martin Rapide. Image by Jonathan Bushell.

Week at the Wheel: Aston Martin Rapide
Aston's beautiful four-door Rapide mixes real GT credentials with sports car poise.

   



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| Week at the Wheel | Aston Martin Rapide |

Inside & Out: star star star star star

Is there a better looking four-door car on sale today? We don't think so; the Aston Martin Rapide stretches the DB9's proportions and adds a pair of doors. The extra length suits it, the lithe shape tapering out beautifully at the rear, though the rear doors are small and access tight. It's similarly cosy inside, in the back at least, the Rapide's rear seats being more suitable for short hops than long luxurious loafing.

As you might expect the dashboard is much the same as the DB9's. Hand finished leather, wood and metal abound, but for all its fine craftwork the flashes of parts sharing jar. The Volvo-sourced satnav looks old-school and operates with little finesse, while the borrowed stalks and switches slightly disappoint in a car costing north of 144,000. You'll forgive it a lot though when you start the engine.

Engine & Transmission: star star star star star

The 6.0-litre V12 powering the Rapide is an epic engine. Not only does it sound wonderful, but it's mated to a slick-shifting six-speed automatic. With 470bhp the Rapide lives up to its name, 443lb.ft of torque allowing it to pull off that enjoyable trick of being able to offer easy natured, effortless cruising, or manic redline troubling supercar pace - with a glorious soundtrack to match. Use all its performance and it'll reach 62mph in 5.3 seconds and 188mph flat out.

Ride & Handling: star star star star star

Necessarily taut, but not overly uncompromising, the Rapide's suspension mixes the role of sports car and saloon very well. Like its DB9 relative there's some road noise from the tyres, but the control is impressive, and the Rapide hides its extra length well and feels wieldy and exploitable on the road. The steering is crisp and quick and there's even some information at the wheel's rim. It feels more sports car than saloon, which, two rear seats and small doors aside, is exactly what it is.

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: star star star star star

There's no denying that, smart as the Rapide's interior is, it lacks the sort of beautifully integrated in-car infotainment systems as its luxury and premium rivals. Here it betrays its small volume, hand-built status, which conversely is part of its enormous appeal. You can forget about radar controlled cruise control, lane departure systems, night vision, head-up displays and all the other gimmicks and 'driver aids' offered on most luxury saloons. And the Aston is all the better for it. The Rapide's appeal is simple: a lovely V12 wrapped in beautiful bodywork and a hand finished interior that can carry four.

Overall: star star star star star

By most of the conventional measures the Aston Martin Rapide is outclassed as a four-seat saloon - not least in its ability to seat four for any length of time in real comfort. Think of it not as a Mercedes-Benz S-Class or BMW 7 Series rival, but instead a more practical sports car. Not that Rapide buyers are likely to be concerned by practicalities; the Rapide simply isn't the sort of car that people will feel they need to rationalise as a purchase. They'll buy it because they want one, and having lived with it for a few days we can completely understand why you would.

Kyle Fortune - 18 Aug 2010



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2010 Aston Martin Rapide specifications:
Price: 144,950 on-the-road
0-62mph: 5.3 seconds
Top speed: 188mph
Combined economy: 19.0mpg
Emissions: 355g/km
Kerb weight: 1950kg

2010 Aston Martin Rapide. Image by Nick Dimbleby.2010 Aston Martin Rapide. Image by Nick Dimbleby.2010 Aston Martin Rapide. Image by Nick Dimbleby.2010 Aston Martin Rapide. Image by Nick Dimbleby.2010 Aston Martin Rapide. Image by Nick Dimbleby.

2010 Aston Martin Rapide. Image by Nick Dimbleby.2010 Aston Martin Rapide. Image by Nick Dimbleby.2010 Aston Martin Rapide. Image by Nick Dimbleby.2010 Aston Martin Rapide. Image by Nick Dimbleby.2010 Aston Martin Rapide. Image by Nick Dimbleby.



2010 Aston Martin Rapide. Image by Jonathan Bushell.
 

2010 Aston Martin Rapide. Image by Jonathan Bushell.
 

2010 Aston Martin Rapide. Image by Jonathan Bushell.
 

2010 Aston Martin Rapide. Image by Jonathan Bushell.
 

2010 Aston Martin Rapide. Image by Jonathan Bushell.
 

2010 Aston Martin Rapide. Image by Jonathan Bushell.
 






 

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