Aston Martin Rapide review: coming to a Surrey street near you
PUBLISHED: 12:59 04 August 2011 | UPDATED: 19:10 20 February 2013
A symbol of pedigree and power, would Aston Martin's first venture into the world of four-doors mean sacrificing any of the speed and style connoisseurs have come to expect? Ade Holder takes the £140,000 Rapide for a spin on Surrey's roads
A symbol of pedigree and power, would Aston Martins first venture into the world of four-doors mean sacrificing any of the speed and style connoisseurs have come to expect? Ade Holdertakes the 140,000 Rapide for a spin on Surreys roads
The Gearbox: at a glance
Car: Aston Martin Rapide
Engine: hand-built 6.0-litre V12 engine producing 0-60mph in five seconds
Top speed: 188mph
Power: 470bhp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 443lbft torque at 5,000rpm
Transmission: a specifically tuned six speed Touchtronic automatic gearbox, allowing the driver to change gear automatically or to manually select via the steering column-mounted paddles.
Who to see: HWM Aston Martin, New Zealand Avenue, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey KT12 1AT: 01932 240611 / www.hwmastonmartin.co.uk
REVIEW: Aston Martin has always been a name to stir the soul. As a child, the sheer fact you rarely ever got to see one was enough to gather a crowd in a car park, or to cause much shouting and pointing as one drove past.
It is so very British: a name that means pedigree, power and a level of craftsmanship rarely seen in any other vehicles.
Given all this, you can imagine the grin that appeared on my face when the good people at HWM Aston Martin, in Walton-on-Thames, offered me the new 140,000 Rapide to test drive for the weekend.
Astons first four-door
This car is a slight departure for Aston, as it is the first true four-door they have ever produced it is in good company, coming at a time when both Porsche and Maserati have both launched their own.
The first thing that grabs you is the size; it is a big car, make no mistake. Don't for one second think Aston have just crammed in a couple of extra doors, though. The Rapide is as beautiful as any of David Browns other creations and that is a bold statement.
Aston is, of course, famed for some of the most sumptuous interiors on the planet but the Rapide is really quite amazing. The hand stitched cream leather is soft, the seats hold without crushing, and you dont have to be Bill Gates to make sense of the control console.
Performance on the road
When I first heard that Aston were making a four-door car, I did wonder whether they were making a similar commercial sacrifice to a certain other British motoring institutions forays into diesel. Thankfully, I was wrong.
The car reaches 60mph in just five seconds, has a top speed of 188mph and a six-litre, 48-valve V12 offering the driver 470bhp to play with. On their own, these are good figures but by no means earth shattering and you can buy any number of cars for under a third of the price that will get to 60mph faster.
However, this car needs to be taken in context and you certainly get all that performance without sacrificing any of the things you would in lesser cars.
In standard auto the gear box is smooth, so it can be driven rather sedately - if for some reason you happen to want to. But when you want power, when you actually want to drive, the Rapide could not be more aptly named.
The ride of your life
Just pop it into sport mode, however, touch the left paddle to shift down, plant your foot and you are in for the ride of your life.
From nowhere, this quiet luxury car roars into action. The power is relentless, the delivery is sharp but not brash, the Rapide will flood your world with seemingly bottomless well of horse power.
You would be forgiven for thinking this car is powered by a jet of molten lava and honey.
Hitting Surreys roads: a day in an Aston Martin Rapide
To find out what life would be like to live with a car like this, I embarked on some very strenuous experiments:
The first port of call... a round of golf. There was plenty of room for my clubs even without the seats folded down - yes, the rear seats fold down in an Aston Martin. A rather common touch you might think, but this is not the spit and saw dust method most of us are used to, this is a one touch button and a wonderful party piece!
The Rapide got some rather loving looks in the car park but not so many that you felt you were showing off by simply sitting there. Smiling faces and knowing nods were the order of the day, not crowds, or staring and pointing.
The next rigorous test was a wonderful trip to the British Wildlife Centre in Lingfield.It was rather tricky getting into the space I had chosen but thanks to parking sensors front and rear I deposited the car unscathed and we were able to enjoy a few hours with many of the characters of British wildlife.
The centre is a must visit, you will be amazed at the variety of mammals and birds we have in this country and if nothing else, it will change how you view foxes forever - about time too!
After much fawning and chatter about our feathered and furred friends we returned to the car. Every time you come back to the Rapide, you cant understand why you got out in the first place; it just gets better!
Once again, my foot fell and the car roared off to The Wiremill Inn just down the road for an amazing meal.With white stilton cheese cake to start, homemade burgers and sweet potato with salsa and brie for our main courses, the Wiremill makes for an unbeatable place to eat.
It also signalled it was time to head home, I would normally have been sad, but all I could think of was how pleased I was to go for another drive.