Aston Martin Rapide

Long before the Porsche Panamera shaped up to the outside world, spy shots of a four-door Aston Martin conquered the world. Today the Aston Martin Rapide has been officially released, but will it live up to our expectations?

Unlike some or maybe even unlike many others I have always been a fan of the four-door Aston Martin idea. Unlike Porsche, Lamborghini or even Ferrari; Aston Martin’s have always been especially great cars for long journeys GT-style, their use only limited by the number of seats. Hence the idea that a sporty four door sportscar would be a great addition to their line-up.

After years of testing and development the final version of the Aston Martin Rapide has been released and from February 2010 orders will be taken and the first customers can expect their Rapides in April 2010. Aston Martin hopes to build 2.000 Rapides a year and they will go on sale around 180.000 euro.

It comes equipped with a 6.0 liter V12 which develops 477hp. The engine is matched with a six-speed automatic touchtronic 2 gearbox with shift-by-wire paddle controls. The interior comes fully equipped with among the standard features a Bang & Olufsen sound system.

All this sounds very promising but the question remains does it live up to our expectations? Sadly the answer is no, the Aston Martin should win the battle in this segment by setting an industry standard with their build quality, design and usability for long journeys. The exterior looks stunning from about ten meters away but the closer you get the more you get the feeling this car has to much unpolished edges. Inside you will notice that the buttons have a cheap look and feel, the rear seat feels cramped and regardless of the four proper seats I doubt the two seats in the back will be used much in any future Rapide.

What does this mean? If you really want the best in this segment available today have a look at the new Panamera Turbo. If you don’t really need the additional space or two extra seats but do feel Aston Martin is your cup of tea go for the AM V12 Vantage RS or the ‘slightly’ more expensive Aston Martin DBS.

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