Concept cars typically lose a large portion of their sex appeal as they move from the auto show floor to the dealer showroom. That was not the case for the Rapide, which is every bit as visually arresting as the original concept. Aston Martin's svelte four-door makes its most obvious competitor, the Porsche Panamera, look bloated and fat. The trade-off for that sensual sheetmetal is that rear-seat passengers have to limbo under the low roofline, squeeze through a small door opening, and fold themselves into a cramped back seat. The Rapide is powered by the same 470-hp, 5.9-liter V-12 found in the DB9. The engine doesn't sound especially melodic from inside the car, but it's loud enough outside to startle pedestrians with a prod of the throttle, and it's capable of launching the Rapide to 60 mph in just 5.0 seconds. A genuine sports car, the Rapide pummels roads with ferocious speeds and can reach 184 mph. Like other Astons, the cockpit is ergonomically challenged, but the gauges themselves, like much of the Rapide's cabin, are works of art. For an even richer experience, check out the Luxury model, which adds glass switchgear, a six-piece luggage set, ventilated front and rear seats, and a dual-screen rear entertainment system -- not that many people would be comfortable spending more than an hour or two in the back seat of a Rapide.
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