Rapide eye movement
bumps and the quiet interior allowing full appreciation of the 1000W audio.
Loved the heated sports seats, front and rear parking sensors, auto wipers and lights. What happened to the radar cruise with auto brake function, lane keeping, 360 degree camera, fatigue monitoring and all the other stuff you get on competitor cars? And the options are too expensive They nailed this one in the style department. Park it and watch the parade.
Needs a technology upgrade to stay with the competition.
IT’S said the Aston Martin name has the strongest “cut through’’ among car brands. In other words, it’s held in the highest regard by the greatest number of people.
And running an eye over the striking new Rapide S Coupe we can understand why.
The best looking four-door sports coupe bar none, the Rapide S has new front styling, new engine and new features — and prices that start from $378,000.
Does that price make the Rapide S irrelevant? Possibly, but plenty of people buy dream cars and the others can ... well, dream about them.
We realised the dream last week with a 500km spin in the gorgeous big Aston that’s handbuilt in Britain.
Competitors are the Maserati Quattroporte and the Porsche Panamera with perhaps the Benz CLS AMG thrown in.
The biggest change in the second-generation Rapide S is the fitment of a 6.0-litre V12 (411kW/630Nm) and the addition of an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. Sundry interior upgrades nearly bring it up to the level of the Germans.
The engine is physically huge but fits mostly behind the front axle for a favourable foreaft weight distribution.
Aluminium and composites make up the bodywork and most of the suspension components are cast or forged aluminium.
Inside is a study in British leather that smells just right plus chrome highlights.
The dash is not the most intuitive but there are plenty of drive options available via pushbuttons or the multi-mode controller. Paddle-shifters flank the manually adjustable steering wheel.
A small secondary readout screen is somewhat annoying as are the various menus to be navigated to set up the car the way you want.
It’s strictly a four-seater, each occupant cosseted in luxury with individual controls for many features.
The rear doors are small but adults, once ensconced, have ample room in the back.
A clever folding divider and luggage space floor gives the Aston adequate capacity through the wide opening tailgate. The doors themselves open out and up which not only looks cool but is also practical.
Premium accessories are fitted throughout and the B&O audio is monumental.
The Rapide S is set up in grand tourer mode rather than as a point-and-squirt sports car. It feels better and better the faster you go — problematic in this country, great for Europe.
The V12 shifts the weighty (1990kg) Aston with real purpose when you push the accelerator hard. It can clock 0-100kmh in 4.2 seconds. If you can find a suitable runway, top speed is 327kmh.
But we are not fans of V12 exhaust notes — they sound OK but a V10 or V8 sounds better — and a V12 seems anachronistic these days. Other makes use smaller capacity turbo V8s for similar or better results with lower emissions and fuel use. In the Rapide S, the V12 runs smooth as silk and when cruising doesn’t use excessive amounts of fuel.
Drive modes range from Comfort to Track, altering the adaptive suspension, throttle response, steering and other dynamics.
We had a real crack on a favourite road and found the Rapide surprisingly agile for such a big car but there are limits, dictated by its weight.
Big grippy tyres help immeasurably as does a form of torque vectoring.
Out on the freeway it’s beautiful wafting along with supple suspension absorbing