Driven: 2011 Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible

Around The Block: Aston Martin Rapide and Rolls-Royce Ghost

The arrival of any six-figure, twelve-cylinder British luxury car would be something of an occasion. But two in one week? That's enough to make editors start dressing better around the office.

Of course, the Aston Martin Rapide and the Rolls-Royce Ghost are hardly comparable vehicles. Beyond the fact that Rolls asks $305,750 compared with the Aston's measly $211,335 tag, there's a clear difference in purpose here. The Rapide is a howling, curvaceous sports car that happens to have back seats and two extra doors. Both the slim opening to the back seats and the narrow buckets themselves would seem to discourage giving rides to anyone bigger than a size six. That's probably for the best, as we wouldn't want any overweight (or average weight) passengers upsetting the Rapide's excellent handling balance.

The Ghost, on the other hand, is a rolling luxury suite that happens to have 563 hp and some BMW 7-series parts. Oh, it'll move -- there's enough low-end torque here to give the Rapide problems at a stoplight despite the Aston's 1000-pound weight advantage. But the Ghost is at its best gliding lazily down a two-lane road, requiring only slight, one-finger inputs to the thin-rimmed steering wheel as you devote the rest of your attention to more important things, like the plush pile of the carpeting and the solidity of the piano-stop air-conditioning vents.

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