What the road testers said at the time

VANTAGE - - Buying Guide | Rapide -

‘“IT’S STILL A SPORTS CAR.” Of all the things I was told yes­ter­day when I col­lected the Rapide from As­ton’s Gay­don HQ, that was the one that struck me most, the state­ment that snagged in my mind like a bur on a woollen jumper. Mostly, I guess, be­cause I wanted it to be true…

Mooching around town, the Rapide feels a lit­tle lazy, the re­sponses of its torque-con­verter auto soft, its 5.9-litre V12 sur­pris­ingly sub­dued af­ter the flour­ish of revs and throaty roar that an­nounced its fir­ing up. There’s a ‘Sport’ but­ton that sharp­ens throt­tle and gear­box re­sponse, and prod­ding it and us­ing the wheel-mounted pad­dles puts the car on higher alert and puts you more in charge, which bol­sters your con­fi­dence.

The view from be­hind the wheel is pure DB9, but you’re aware that there’s more mass along for the ride. That said, the but­ton to se­lect a firmer damper set­ting goes un­pushed be­cause the big As­ton is quite firmly sprung, nicely taut, and feels re­ward­ingly pre­cise as it is. In places you can read a cou­ple of hun­dred yards of this road’s curves and plot where you’d like to apex, and the As­ton de­liv­ers. Its front end is faith­ful and ac­cu­rate and al­though there’s oc­ca­sional mild kick­back through the rim, the ide­ally weighted steer­ing feels more nat­u­ral than that of any other re­cent As­ton. It has a faster rack rate than the DB9 in or­der to give it the same feel­ing of agility, and it does that and more.

Grip from the be­spoke Bridge­stone Potenza S001s is strong and there’s hardly a flicker from the sta­bil­ity con­trol light as the 470bhp V12 digs deep. Au­rally, the V12 comes alive from 3000rpm, as if a dozen trum­pet mutes are doffed in uni­son, the sound be­com­ing heavy, grav­elly, glo­ri­ous.

There’s an easy, nat­u­ral feel to its dy­nam­ics and, when you ask, it de­liv­ers. Its steer­ing re­lays more in­for­ma­tion [than its ri­vals], and its chas­sis is es­pe­cially good in the tran­sient moves, flick­ing left, right, left. The up­shot is that the Rapide isn’t ‘still’ a sports car; it’s a more im­pres­sive steer than the DB9 or DBS.’ – evo magazine, March 2010

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