007’s shopping trolley
In Aston Martin terms, the Rapide is frightfully sensible
Owners can customise the Rapide almost endlessly. All Australian vehicles have a separate rear-seat entertainment system and our test model’s on-road price was $420,000.
Qwould be impressed by the technology and gadgetry in the Rapide. There are no rocket launchers or ejector seats but the Aston still abounds with hi-tech chicanery such as an optional switch in the centre console that opens up the exhaust for a Bond-worthy soundtrack.
It is powered by a hand-built 6.0-litre V12 with 350kW/ 600Nm. But if 007 is being pursued by the faster Porsche Panamera Turbo, he will need the DBS or DB9.
Aptly, the lightweight Rapide is made from ‘‘ bonded’’, rather than welded, aluminium and weighs 1990kg. This is just 230kg heavier than the two-seater DB9.
Other kit includes four separate heated and cooled seats and a 1000-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system that automatically adjusts for the number of passengers and has 15 speakers including tweeters that rise from the dashboard, as in the Audi A8.
Even the swan-wing doors are hi-tech. They will not swing back when opened but stop at any angle, even uphill, and cannot be slammed.
Yet the Rapide lacks a proximity key, braked or adaptive cruise control and Bluetooth audio streaming.
In contrast with the Panamera, the Rapide is surely the most elegant four-door ‘‘ coupe’’ ever conceived. The coming Ferrari and Lambo are also no threat to the Rapide in the beauty stakes.
Even though it still looks like a coupe, it is a big vehicle at 5m. My prospective passengers were fooled by its coupe styling and didn’t realise it was a fourdoor until they went to get in the back seats through the front doors.
It’s a bit tight in those narrow sports seats but there is plenty of head and legroom, even in the rear with the front