Aston Martin Rapide S Review
So you need 4 proper seats but still want a GT/Supercar¦ What do you do?
Well, the choice available is relatively limited.
You have the Porsche Panamera which we reviewed here. Whilst it is accomplished it does look like an obese 911 and as such is not a pretty car.
Then there is the Maserati Quattroporte. This is something altogether different from the Panamera, with more soul, but some would argue it too misses out on the looks front.
What about the Ferrari FF? Well, whilst you can squeeze two adults in the back, it only having 2 doors does reduce practicality somewhat and it is certainly not something you would like to shoehorn a client into.
This brings us nicely on to the Aston Martin Rapide S.
Taking the same concept as Porsche by taking a popular shape and turning it into a 4 seat 4 door super saloon Aston Martin managed to get right what Porsche could not. By merely extending the lines of the GT that is the DB9, Aston Martin produced the least 4 door super saloon looking 4 door super saloon imaginable. A mouthful I know but lining the DB9 up with the Rapide a connoisseur will notice some differences but to the untrained eye there is little difference between them from the outside other than an extension in the wheelbase and slight increase in rear overhang as well as the addition of two doors. These, rather crude, line drawings illustrate just how similar and different these two cars are, yet as mentioned before whilst Porsche could not pull off this trick with their first attempt in the Panamera, Aston Martin has hit the mark first time round.
Line drawings aside, to look at, the Rapide is beautifully elegant in its lines and stance. From every angle it looks like it has been designed to look like this rather than cobbled together from an extension of a smaller car. It truly is a naturally evolved DB9.
The big differences are inside. Everything feels a little more upmarket compared to the DB9.
the Switchgear is occasionally stainless steel rather than the plastic found in its smaller sibling and there are a few clever touches which add a little extra class to it such as the rear grab handles (brushed steel) which are magnetically attracted to the B-Pillar when not being used by the rear passenger.Comfort wise, you could easily step out of the Rapide after a long drive feeling relaxed not feeling like you have driven as far as you have. For rear passengers it is snug but not tight. There is space for 2 adults in the rear and relatively comfortably so. The deep bucket seats are supportive and keep you in place should your driver feel a little more enthusiastic when tackling winding roads. The example on test also included Aston Martins Rear Seat Entertainment option providing screens mounted at a suitable height in the back of the front seats, although they are a little on the small side.
Another clever touch from the boffins at Aston Martin was the rear luggage compartment which is not exactly the most generous, however this has been addressed with the ability for the top half of the rear seats being able to fold forward providing you with a considerably larger flat load space in the back for luggage, sports gear or whatever takes your fancy. This is a practical super saloon which has not compromised on the super side of things and delivered on the saloon side of things.
Okay, so we have established that the Rapide is an extended DB9 and that there has been no compromise on looks, styling or practicality. But what about perhaps the most important element? The handling and performance of the Rapide. Well if you were worried, you neednt be. Employing the same iconic naturally aspirated 6.0l V12 power plant found across much of the Aston Martin range, the Rapide S is no slouch. Producing a hefty 550hp enabling this super saloon to propel its passengers from 0-62 in just 4.7s and on to 190mph. The silky smooth Touchtronic III gearbox takes care of sending the power to the rear wheels and whilst it is not quite as quick off the mark as the top of the range Panamera Turbo, you can rest assured it is a nicer place to be. Performance has clearly been taken care of, so what about handling. Well, it handles rather well. There is no perceptible boatyness exhibited by the Rapide when comparing it to the DB9 with the rear end kept nicely in check and the handling is positive with the extra weight not causing any issues at all. Fully laden with 4 up I am sure you will notice a bit more weight in the rear when pushed hard but in normal and even enthusiastic driving conditions this is most certainly not an issue.Overall therefore, the Rapide S is an evolutionary success. Aston Martin clearly spent time executing this transformation of a DB9 into a super saloon and they have done a rather good job.
The latest iteration of the Rapide S, which we have recently test driven, has had a power boost to 552hp and some minor fettling in terms of styling, adopting their One77 style single grille grille at the front with new wheels as well to distinguish it as a facelift. This further evolutionary step in the life of the Rapide S has just made things that little bit better with a top speed increase from 190mph to 203mph and a cool 1/2 second taken from the 0-62mph time, plus believe it or not a minor increase in fuel economy.
Facts & Figures (Aston Martin Rapide S :
Engine: 5.9l Naturally Aspirated V12
Transmission: 7 Speed Automatic
Top Speed: 203mph
Fuel Economy (Combined): 21mpg
CO2 Emissions: 300g/km
If you would like to find out more about the Aston Martin Rapide S, or any other super saloons, please contact our prestige specialist Chris Jackson-Kew on 01223 911 761 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.