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Aston Martin Rapide review

Aston Martin Rapide review 2009

A Sports Car For All The Family

Sales Start In Spring Of 2010
It Had Better Be Good, It’s 50 Per Cent More Than A Panamera

“the Rapide won’t stir arguments about its looks. It is simply beautiful; no ifs, no buts, no talk about beauty being in the eye of the beholder”

Fictional British spy James Bond might raise his eyebrows, but traditional luxury sports car manufacturer Aston Martin is building its first four-seat, family car.

The Aston Martin Rapide will cost upwards of £150,000 (€165,000) when it goes on sale in Europe and the U.S. in March, so it will have to be a very rich family indeed. But unlike the other models in the Aston Martin Range – the DBS, DB9 and Vantage – this new car will do more than just thrill two people, travelling light.

“There is now an Aston Martin for every taste and for every use. With Rapide, the entire family can enjoy their Aston Martin together in unison, in an invigorating yet comfortable environment with new levels of comfort, refinement and entertainment,” said Aston Martin Chief Executive Ulrich Bez.

Aston Martin Rapide review 2009That’s probably code for saying that there’s only room in the back for smallish children, because entry and exit is marred by high sills and narrow doors. But what doors! The so-called four “swan wing” doors rise upwards and outwards as they swing open to 12 degrees, to stop damage from high kerbs.

Once the family has strapped themselves into the Rapide, the 6.0 litre, V12, 470 bhp motor will thrust them from rest to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds (0-100 km/h 5.3 seconds). Top-speed is 188 mph (303 km/h). No word yet on fuel consumption. The six-speed Touchtronic automatic gearbox can be switched to manual Formula One mode, when you can change gears using paddles on the steering wheel.

Other family cars you might wish to consider include the Porsche Panamera, Mercedes CLS, Audi A7, Bentley Continental, and Maserati Quattroporte. Unlike the Panamera, which costs from about £75,000, the Rapide won’t stir up arguments about its looks. The Rapide is simply beautiful; no ifs, no buts, no talk about beauty being in the eye of the beholder.

Aston Martin Rapide review 2009Aston Martin is proud of its weight-saving technology, which uses techniques borrowed from the aerospace industry. Rapide engineers bond or glue the aluminium body together rather than using welds, to create a lightweight and ultra-stiff chassis. At 1,950 kg (4,300 lbs), this big four-seater is only 190 kg (420 lbs) kg heavier than its little DB9 sibling. The gearbox is mounted to the rear of the car, producing a near perfect weight balance of 51:49. Computerised suspension control automatically alters settings to ensure maximum safety and lightening responses to changing road conditions and speeds. According to Aston Martin, this provides an engaging drive on twisty roads, and a refined, relaxed and effortless drive on motorways and main roads. The luxurious interior includes hand-trimmed individual seats, personal face-level heating and air conditioning, and internet access in the back for when the kids get bored.

Aston Martin Rapide review 2009

Aston Martin was sold by the Ford Motor Company in 2007 to Dave Richards and a group of Kuwaiti investors. It was profitable in 2008, when it sold 5,800 cars. In this year of economic weakness, sales are expected to slip to about 4,000. The future of luxury sports car makers is threatened by European Union CO2 rules, although Aston Martin says it has agreed with the E.U. to cut emissions by about 25 per cent.

One development that James Bond definitely wouldn’t approve of; this most traditional of “British” manufacturers has contracted the construction of the Rapide out to an Austrian-based company, Magna Steyr. An Aston Martin, but made in Austria.

Aston Martin Rapide review 2009

Neil Winton – December 5, 2009

 Aston Martin Rapide
Engine:6.0 litre petrol V-12 cylinder
470 bhp @ 6,000
600 Nm @ 5,000
6-speed automatic
Acceleration:0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds (0-100 km/h 5.3 seconds)
Top Speed:188 mph (303 km/h)
Fuel Consumption:
claimed combined – not available
CO2:not available
Length:Length – 5,019 mm-197 feet 6inches
1,950 kg-4,300 lbs
independent double wishbone/independent double wishbone
Boot capacity:
301 litres/750
Competition:Porsche Panamera, Mercedes CLS, Audi A7, Bentley Continental, Maserati Quattroporte

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