An all-new model from British automaker Aston Martin, the Rapide joins a growing class of four-door ultraluxury sedans that are typically priced higher than the most expensive models from mass-market luxury brands like Mercedes and BMW. At nearly $200,000, the Rapide costs more than the Bentley Continental Flying Spur and Porsche Panamera.
The Rapide is based on the same platform as Aston Martin's other cars, and it's an unmistakable family member. Almost 198 inches in length, it's roughly a foot longer than the DB9 and more than 2 feet longer than the V8 Vantage. It's also a few inches wider than both.
Aston Martin keeps the Rapide lightweight through the extensive use of aluminum, magnesium alloy and composite along with the more traditional steel. Twenty-inch silver alloy wheels are standard, and graphite-colored ones are optional.
The Rapide seats four, though the backseat is snug, especially when compared with the Flying Spur and Panamera. It is best for children and smaller adults. Heated front and rear seats are standard. A cooling feature is optional for all. An optional backseat DVD entertainment system provides screens in each of the front seats' head restraints, along with wireless headsets.
Full-grain leather upholstery is standard, as is walnut trim. Many other finishes are optional, including mahogany, maple, ash, bamboo, piano black and alloy.
A liftgate covers the cargo area; though the area seems small, a partition drops down, expanding the space. Each of the rear seats also folds flat at the touch of a button, expanding the cargo volume from 11.2 to 31.3 cubic feet. A supplied umbrella in the cargo area is a decidedly British touch.
Under the Hood
A 470-horsepower, 6.0-liter V-12 engine drives the Rapide's rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. A Sport mode makes the transmission more responsive, and it can also be operated manually using magnesium shift paddles on the steering column. Aston estimates the zero-to-60 mph time at 5 seconds and the top speed at 188 mph.
Other features include an adaptive suspension that varies firmness based on conditions. The four-wheel-disc brakes have large six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers.
The Rapide's airbag complement includes two frontal, two seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags that protect front and rear occupants. Antilock brakes and an electronic stability system with traction control are also standard. A mechanical limited-slip differential enhances traction in low-grip situations.