007’s shop­ping trol­ley

In As­ton Martin terms, the Rapide is fright­fully sen­si­ble

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

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.

TECH­NOL­OGY

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.

DE­SIGN

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

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