2010 Aston Martin Rapide – Click above for high-res image gallery The world's best-looking four-door sedan beckoned us from Miami. Enticed, we boarded a jet and paid the 2010 Aston Martin Rapide a visit. Our task was to shuttle Aston Martin's first four-sedan up the coast to Palm Beach – someone had to do it. Of course, we took the circuitous route and spent the day blissfully putting her through the paces as we leisurely motored our way north. Why did the British automaker design a sedan – and what is hiding under its skin? What is it like to drive? How are those rear-seat accommodations? Most importantly, how does the Rapide measure up to the Porsche Panamera and Maserati Quattroporte? The answers and more after the jump... %Gallery-88445% Photos by Michael Harley / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc. The Aston Martin Rapide is a sports car first, a sedan second. Those exact words may have never been spoken or alleged while the Rapide was under development. Nevertheless, that mantra subconsciously repeated itself countless times during our day with the British manufacturer's first four-door vehicle since the angular William Towns-designed Lagonda left the world stage. Even to the uninitiated openly-gazing public, the Rapide is purely an Aston Martin. The family resemblance – to the DB9, DBS and Vantage – is unquestioned thanks to Aston's world-renowned and incredibly sexy, sleek silhouette. The designers have done such a noble job hiding the extra 12 inches of length and two inches of height that only on second glance do most realize that this isn't another coupe. Regardless, in a compliment to the designer, most will still believe the Rapide is a stretched variant of the DB9. In truth, all of the body panels on the sedan are new – none of the sheetmetal is shared. With that in mind, it is no surprise to find that under the skin, Aston Martin has utilized its V/H platform – shared with the DB9, DBS and Vantage – to construct the Rapide. Using technology borrowed from the aerospace industry, the British automaker employs adhesives to bond – not weld – aluminum components together. The front quarter panels are composite, while the doors and roof are aluminum. The rear quarter panels are steel. The end result is a chassis that is very light and extraordinarily stiff. The curb weight of the Rapide is 4,387 pounds – about 500 pounds heavier than the DB9 coupe. Thanks to the engine being set low and back in the front of the platform and a rear-mounted transaxle, the Rapide's weight balance is a nicely proportioned 49 percent front, 51 percent rear. Under the long hood of the Rapide is a hand-assembled all-alloy 48-valve V12. Displacing 6.0-liters, the normally-aspirated engine is rated at 470 horsepower (at 6,000 rpm) and 443 lb-ft of torque (at 5,000 rpm). Power is sent rearward through a carbon-fiber propeller shaft within an alloy tube to the mid-mounted gearbox. The transmission is Aston Martin's "Touchtronic 2" with electronic …
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|MPG||13 City / 19 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||470 @ 6000 rpm|
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