2011 Rapide New Car Test Drive
Aston Martin has always been known for producing some of the most beautiful sports cars in the world. It shares its exclusivity in the upper realm of the market with relative newcomers Porsche and Ferrari. Yes, Aston Martin has been around for almost 100 years, making the iconic British company much older than many of its competitors.
A few years ago when Aston Martin announced it would be introducing a four-door sedan, many enthusiasts greeted the news with concern. However, those in the know are aware Aston Martin has produced four-door sedans in its past. Okay, they were mostly sold under the Lagonda badge, which became part of the Aston Martin company way back in 1947. Indeed, the company's full name is Aston Martin Lagonda Limited.
The last time the Rapide name adorned a car was between 1961 and 1964 when just 55 Lagonda Rapides were produced. It was based off the Aston Martin DB4.
Aston Martin is a far better known name than Lagonda so it was only natural that the company chose to call its all-new 2011 sedan the Aston Martin Rapide. This time it is based off the DB9 sports car.
And what a car it is. The Rapide is powered by the same 470-horsepower 5.9-liter V12 engine found in the DB9 and Volante models. And, as one has come to expect from Aston Martin, the Rapide has beautiful lines and a super luxurious interior.
Despite its high performance capabilities, the Rapide is docile at low speeds and is quite capable of being used around town as a family car or for carrying four average-size adults on a longer trip. With all four seats in use there is room for some luggage but if it's just the driver and passenger the rear seats can be folded down to provide a respectable amount of space on par with the trunk space in a midsize station wagon, albeit with the seats up.
Although the EPA fuel economy rating of 13 mpg city/19 mpg highway is not bad considering the car's performance and prestige it still gets hit with a compulsory gas guzzler tax of $2,100 which ups its official sticker price to just $50 shy of the magical $200K mark.
The 2011 Aston Martin Rapide ($197,850) comes as just one model with a long list of options. The four-door sedan, strictly speaking it's a hatchback since it has an opening tailgate, is powered by a 470-horsepower 5.9-liter V12 with a 6-speed Touchtronic 2 automatic transmission driving the rear wheels.
Interior appointments include Bridge of Weir leather, Bang and Olufsen BeoSound Audio system, Hard Disk Drive Satellite navigation system, Bluetooth telephone connection, Satellite Radio and an umbrella. Options include special customer specified paint schemes ($750 to $3,785) and different colors of leather.
Safety equipment includes a full complement of airbags plus front and rear parking sensors, ABS, electronic stability control and traction control plus emergency brake assist.