By Joe Santos
The 2012 Aston Martin Rapide is the company's 4-door sports car, which adds much-needed breadth to the company's existing corral of sports coupes. After all, wealthy families need a sensible form of transportation too. That's not to say that the Rapide is more of a sedan than a sports car – in fact, it houses the same V12 as the DB9 and can sprint to 60 mph in about 5.0 seconds. That's not exactly enough keep up with the Porsche Panamera Turbo – the Rapide's main rival – but when a sports sedan looks this good, do the numbers really matter?
The Aston Martin Rapide has all the style, grace, power, and now, practicality that anyone looking for a luxury sports sedan would need. If James Bond had a family, this is car he would be driving.
Those whose care about 0-60 times and other statistics on paper will probably find the Porsche Panamera more enticing.
Nothing has really changed for the 2012 model year except for an easier-to-use interface for the navigation system.
Driving Impressions If the Aston Martin Rapide were a dessert, it would be a peanut butter cup adorned with gold leaf shavings. The sedan seamlessly blends sweet racecar-like performance with salty, stately...sedan cruising, and tops it all off with an elegant look sure to impress any onlooker. The Rapide handles and drives just as well as its DB9 sibling (the cockpit controls are the same, too) but cruises along as comfortably as its two extra doors would imply. Due to the design of the car, outward visibility is lacking and although the rear seats can fit normal-sized adults, some might find them somewhat snug thanks to the center console in between.
Aston Martin teamed up with Swiss Jaeger-LeCoultre to give Rapide owners a true James Bond experience by programming the key fob duties into a wristwatch.
6.0-LITER V12 ENGINE
While other cars are casting away cylinders in favor of power-adders like turbochargers in the name of fuel economy, we commend the Rapide for forgoing this route and sticking with a tried-and-true V12. It also sounds amazing.
Stepping inside the Aston Martin Rapide can be described as otherworldly, that is, if you're used to driving lower-end cars and/or live in an apartment. Every surface is either covered in sumptuous leather, rich wood, real metal, or a combination of any of them, which would surely impress anyone who steps inside. However, if you're used to this kind of luxury and are seriously comparing the differences of the Rapide's cabin to that of the Panamera's, we would say that the Rapide's cocoon-like seating and sharp design is a love-it-or-hate-it affair. Front seat room is generous, but the narrow rear seats can feel a little cramped, which makes the Porsche Panamera feel limo-like by comparison.Exterior
It's rare for us to call a car "seductive," but that's about the best term we can come up with when describing the Aston Martin Rapide. The sleek curves and subtle body lines are aggressive, but not offensive, and imposing to the viewer's eye, but not impeding. Case in point: The Porsche Panamera's awkward body could stand lose a few pounds in its Southern region. The Rapide, on the other hand, is sculpted bliss.
The most notable standard features on the 2012 Aston Martin Rapide's roster include a 6.0-liter V12 engine, a limited-slip differential, 20-inch wheels, and bi-xenon headlights. Other necessary luxuries in this sporty luxo-cruiser include heated front and rear seats, front and rear automatic climate control, a new Garmin-based navigation system, and a 1,000-watt Bang and Olufsen sound system. And as anyone could imagine, leather is also standard.
The 2012 Rapide has an up-level trim called the "Rapide Luxe" which adds onto the already impressive list of features offered on the base trim. Some of these add-ons include different style wheels, ventilated front and rear seats, a rear-seat entertainment system, and a 6-piece luggage set that matches your chosen interior color.
The Aston Martin Rapide is powered by a 6.0-liter, V12 engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, the same running gear that's found in the DB9. While having a V12 might seem like an old-time approach compared to others using supplemental power additions or other tricks, Aston Martin has kept with the 12-cylinder configuration, which is scoots the car to 60 mph in five seconds flat and on up to a top speed of 183 mph.
477 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
443 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19 mpg
The 2012 Aston Martin Rapide has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of around $212,000, while opting of the Luxe trim level will bring that tag up to around $231,000. Be sure to check out KBB's Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for their Rapides. By comparison, the Porsche Panamera Turbo Gran Turismo has a starting price of around $138,000, while the Turbo S can top out around $200,000 depending on which boxes are marked.