2015 Aston Martin Rapide S Quick Take
An Aston Martin is a great car for the charming, well-to-do scoundrel, but even scoundrels need to go to the office once in a while. That's where the Aston Martin Rapide S comes in. This is a sedan -- more like a 4-door coupe, really -- with the attitude and attractive looks of other Aston Martins, with the added benefit that passengers with long legs can sit behind the driver. This is a car that can comfortably carry you and three others to a company meeting. And unless Aston Martin decides to bring the Lagonda to the United States, this is the only car in its lineup making that claim.
The Rapide has been on the market since 2010, but there have been some significant changes for the 2015 model year. The most notable is a new transmission: a ZF 8-speed automatic replaces the previous 6-speed. This move makes a huge difference in a few ways. On the practical side, it helps improve fuel economy, bringing it up from 13 mpg in the city and 19 on the highway to 14 city/22 highway for 2015. At the same time, the Rapide S is more powerful than it was last year, thanks to internal engine improvements. Output is now 552 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque, up two and eight respectively. Pricing for the 2015 Rapide S starts at $207,820, including destination and gas guzzler tax.
Sharp handling, compliant ride
This is a car that handles like a sports car, but its suspension feels slightly softer. The Rapide is quick -- Aston Martin estimates the car's 0-to-60 time is about 4.2 seconds, about a half second quicker than the 2014 model. In regular day-to-day driving, that isn't all that important, but the Rapide isn't a typical day-to-day car. It gets up to speed very quickly, in a refined, polished manner.
The Rapide's cabin is warm and elegant, but far from stuffy. It seats four, with luxury touches throughout. There's an extended center console that runs from the front row to the rear (which is why the Rapide S only seats four). Its supportive seats are a pleasant compromise between bolstered sides and comfort, and the contrast stitching is a welcome touch. Another nicety: this is the only Aston Martin with an electronic parking brake. That may not seem like a big deal, but the floating parking brake handle you find in the rest of the Aston line takes some getting used to: it looks just like a regular brake lever positioned to the left of the drive, but it's always slack, until you press the button.
The end result of all of this work on Aston Martin's part is a sedan that'll give you the response and thrills of one of the company's coupes, in a much more buttoned-down, businesslike package. You can get all of your work duties taken care of, with a trunk that isn't as big as the one in an S-Class, but it'll still carry some gear. There aren't many cars like this on the market -- the Porsche Panamera is probably the closest competitor. The Rapide S isn't a rational, highly practical sedan. It isn't supposed to be. It stands out thanks to its stunning looks, refinement, power and exclusivity, and gives drivers the sports car fun during the week that's typically reserved for the weekend.
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