A decade ago, if you wanted the sporty number that would turn heads and a model that could run the brood back and forth, you needed a garage that was big enough for two cars. We are, however, looking at a brand new world. A world of genuine four-seater sports cars with posing power to rival the best, and still enough room for the usual suspects.
Introducing the Aston Martin Rapide S. Cue the genuflecting.
I tend to affirm my own handle on new models by asking as many people as humanly possible what they think of a car. That is twice as hard when the model in question is an Aston Martin.
“What do you think of it David?”
“It’s an Aston Martin, what is there to say?”
David did make a good point. Aston Martin have been on the top of their game for a number of years now, and there appears to be no stopping them. Once upon a time, you couldn’t walk five minutes in central London without spotting a Bentley or a Porsche. These days Aston Martin has pride of place in the London luxury car market. Aspirations have changed and the ethereal Aston Martin range has become more obtainable. But unlike most brands or products that lose their edge and appeal the minute they become available to the higher echelons of the mass market, Aston Martin is twice as cool as it once was. This year we have driven everything from Aston Martin we could get our ink-stained hands on, and our motoring editor decided it was the turn of the Rapide S.
This is the second Aston Martin I have driven, the first being the V8 Vantage, which has a country mile of differences from the Rapide S. For starters, her sleek lines are just over five meters long. That is a lot of car to wield, especially when lumbered with three additional passengers. I say lumbered, I always manage to leave passengers wobbly and shell shocked during reviews. Perhaps I should wear a sign around my neck that says “I am here to test a car and experience it, not drive to the shops at an idle pace”.
Irrespective of whether you are driving solo or with an entourage, the Rapide S is a pretty SOB. It resembles an angry dagger flying through the air, as thrown by a sharp-suited Yakuza. I often wondered what the drivers of cars up ahead of me were thinking when it availed itself behind them. Possibly jealousy, perhaps fear; either way, everyone gave it the respect it demands and moved.
The price tag as tested was £154,155, which considering the Pandora’s box of upgrades is serious value for money. Under the bonnet, you’ll find the large, hadron collider of engines, a 6.0 litre V12. If size matters, then the Rapide S is the personification of the metaphor. Whilst the engine is the size of a bison, it fits mostly the front axle, so the weight distribution is on point. As it generates 550bhp, your guests will wonder whether there’s still time to update their insurance policies. ‘Quick’ doesn’t just do it justice.
The interior is sublime and resembles a leather-clad study. Each occupant is cocooned in leather with mirror finish piano black detailing. If you are considering a four-seater sports car, opt for the carbon exterior pack. It comes with a front splitter, rear diffusor, mirror caps and rear lamp infills, all in carbon fibre.
The Rapide S cranks out the power, pushing the weighty Aston with real purpose when you give it the fully-fledged beans. It is a V12, so the engine notes won’t be akin to that of a V8 Vantage or DB9, but you’re here for the occupancy and the thrill. The concern is that it feels more and more comfortable the faster you push it. Perhaps put aside this year’s bonus for the inevitable fines.
I don’t know what power animal you would have the Rapide S saddled up next to, but in my opinion, it’s a shark, pure and simple. I challenge you to find something in the market with as much punch and as pleasing on the eye. It can’t be done.