If you were wondering whether the world needs a four-door Aston Martin, the 2011 ASTON MARTIN RAPIDE
is the answer to a question no one asked. But if you're wondering whether people might want a four-door Aston, that's another question altogether. You see, the ASTON MARTIN RAPIDE
is not just cash-the-401k, rob-a-bank, sell-a-kidney gorgeous. It's the ultimate car guy's riposte to all those tiny, whiny voices in your head that suggest it's time you grew up and got rid of the sports car. What it is not, though, is a proper sedan.
Livewire Aston Martin
boss Ulrich Bez likes to say the ASTON MARTIN RAPIDE
is perfect for the couple wanting to take their friends to the theater or a restaurant in style. The uncomfortable reality is most of the friends of ASTON MARTIN RAPIDE
owners will be too old and inflexible to contort themselves into the rear seat. The problem isn't the leg- or headroom; both are tight, but not impossibly so. The problem is the combination of the high sills, a legacy of the Rapide's innovative aluminum space frame construction, and the deep footwells needed to allow the rear passengers' feet to slide under the front seats. You need to simultaneously twist your ankle almost 90 degrees and lift your knees almost to your chest to get out of the back Seat
of the Rapide. It ain't easy, and it ain't elegant - ladies in skimpy cocktail dresses, beware.
So let's not call the Aston Martin Rapide
a sedan. Let's call it a 2+2 with four doors. And there's nothing wrong with that, because the ASTON MARTIN RAPIDE
does a very nice job of being a sports car that can carry a couple of passengers in the rear.
Under that long, low hood is a 470-hp version of Aston's German-built 6.0-liter V-12. Like all V-12s, this is an engine that loves to rev - peak torque of 443 lb.-ft. is not developed until 5000 rpm - which, combined with a slightly lazily calibrated six-speed automatic transmission with a giant hole between second and third gear ratios, conspires to give the ASTON MARTIN RAPIDE
an oddly lethargic feel around town, unless you select sport mode or use the paddle shifters. It's only a feeling, though. Pay attention and the ASTON MARTIN RAPIDE
will hit 60 mph in a sporty 4.7 sec., and cover the standing quarter-mile in 13.2 sec. at 108.1 mph. Claimed top speed is 188 mph, which certainly puts the ASTON MARTIN RAPIDE
at the faster end of the four-door set.