Paul Maric road tests reviews the Aston Martin Rapide S.
I have friends that have told me they would become amputees for a ride in an Aston Martin. Up until a few years ago, that would be the only way one could sit in the rear seat of a modern Aston Martin due to the lack of leg room.
Thankfully, Aston Martin has a graceful solution to the problem of no leg room — a four-door Aston Martin with four usable seats. It’s called the Rapide S.
The latest iteration of the Aston Martin Rapide S has received minor styling changes in addition to a healthy power boost — up 60kW and 20Nm over the outgoing Rapide.
The sleek design retains the powerful and aggressive stance of the coupe, but integrates two extra doors within the rear quarter-panel. The limousine-like Rapide S stretches out to a staggering 5.02m in length and just under 2.0m in width.
Just like the DB9, the Rapide S doors are opened by pushing in the door handle to expose the lever and then pulling it to open the door. The door opens slightly upward so as to ensure your passengers don’t accidentally catch their door on the curb.
The advantage of extra length and width is two usable rear seats with cup holders, individual audio controls and the added flexibility of fold-flat seats. With the rear seats folded flat, drivers can stow luggage, golf clubs or even furniture — just in case the Range Rover is being used by your better half.
If for some reason the blissful engine note isn’t enough, the Rapide S is equipped with a gobsmacking 16-speaker 1000W Bang & Olufsen sound system. The crystal clear sound system offers high-frequency clarity with body shaking low-frequency bass. You can also connect your iPod, iPhone or MP3 player via USB or Bluetooth for instant audio streaming.
Rear seat passengers can also take advantage of the sound system with an optional twin-screen rear entertainment system. Fitted to the rear of the driver and front passenger seat, the entertainment system is equipped with a six-disc DVD player, wireless headphones and a remote controller.
As with all Aston Martins, the interior is lavish, luxurious and lush. Fit and finish is excellent, while the seats are comfortable and equipped for long distance cruising.
Under the bonnet you will find Aston Martin’s renowned 5.9-litre V12 petrol engine that produces a mammoth 410kW and 620Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox and is good for a lightning fast 0-100km/h dash of 4.9-seconds.
With the Emotional Control Unit (ECU) in hand (that’s Aston speak for the glass key), all you have to do is insert the sleek key into the dashboard and hold until the fiery V12 bursts into life. An initial roar is followed by an idle grumble that hints at the performance potential on hand.
Gears are selected using glass buttons on the dashboard. Once in drive, the driver has the option of leaving gear shifts up to the car or intervening at any point using the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
There are also two driving modes that help transform the Rapide S into a fire-breathing supercar. The sport button engages baffles in the exhaust that make the V12 at least ten times louder and three times more responsive. The best way to sample sport mode is with a tunnel, it’s truly tantalising.
The second driving mode is track mode. This mode increases damper firmness to the point where even small pebbles on the road are felt throughout the chassis. It’s this type of engineering that gives owners the opportunity to attend track days in their Rapide S without having to extensively modify the car to prepare for fun driving.
With 620Nm of torque available, the Rapide S feels agile and eager in any gear. Aston Martin manages these impressive power and torque figures without the intervention of forced induction. Brake pedal feel and steering feel is superb and unmatched in this segment. The Rapide S is a wholehearted driver’s car that can morph between cruiser and racer within a heartbeat.
Despite some competitors in this segment offering faster Grant Tourers (GT’s), the Aston Martin Rapide S is unrivalled in terms of design, elegance and pure luxury. At $370,800, it’s also one of the most affordable V12 Aston Martins on the market.
I’ll have mine in Quantum Silver, please.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 5.9 litre V12 producing 410kW and 620Nm
Transmission: Six-speed Automatic
Safety: Not tested
Origin: United Kingdom
Price: From $370,800