By Robert Cumberford
Of all the exotic four-door sedans proposed in the recent past, Aston Martin's Rapide comes the closest to its marque's stylistic traditions, and it is also the most graceful and by far the best-looking of the bunch. The concept car was brilliant but tight inside. The production car is a bit thicker, with surface and detail changes galore, but the excitement and the charm are still present and accounted for. The biggest single surface change is the rib on the doors derived from the front-fender air vent. The glass roof is gone, but the essence of the concept remains. Aston Martin design director Marek Reichman has done a great job.
1 The roof has been raised a little to accommodate rear-seat passengers but without Porsche Panamera awkwardness.
2 There's no longer a transparent roof, but Aston promises that it will become available later if you really, really want to be uncomfortable in the sun.
3 This rib carries through the doors, stiffening the panels and adding visual interest to the side view.
4 Eliminating side inlets cleaned up the entire front end.
5 The traditional black steering wheel is much more appropriate and practical than that in the concept.
6 The central console has been completely revised for production and is now simpler, easier to build, and very elegant.
7 The deck-lid lip is higher than before, but the straight line from the taillights across the back end is much cleaner and better organized.
8 Not exactly a racing diffuser, this detail is simple, straightforward, and helps reduce the visual height of the rear.
2010 ASTON MARTIN RAPIDE
price (base/AS TESTED) $201,300/$206,290
engine: 48-valve DOHC V-12
displacement: 5.9 liters (362 cu in)
horsepower: 470 hp @ 6000 rpm
torque: 443 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm
transmission type: 6-speed automatic
steering: Power-assisted rack-and-pinion
suspension, front: Control arms, coil springs
Suspension, rear: Control arms, coil springs
brakes: Vented discs, ABS
tires: Bridgestone Potenza S001
tire size f, r: 245/40YR-20, 295/35YR-20
L x W x H: 197.6 x 76.0 x 53.5 in
wheelbase: 117.7 in
track f/r: 62.6/63.5 in
weight: 4387 lb
FUEL mileage: 12/18 mpg (est.)
0-60 mph: 5.1 sec*
TOP SPEED: 188 mph*