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Aston Martin Rapide

The sedan with sex appeal.

Concept cars typically lose a large portion of their sex appeal as they move from the auto show floor to the dealer showroom. That wasn’t the case for the Rapide, which is every bit as visually arresting as the original concept. Aston Martin’s svelte four-door makes its most obvious competitor, the Porsche Panamera, look bloated and fat. The trade-of for that sensual sheetmetal is that rear-seat passengers have to limbo under the low roofline, squeeze through a small door opening, and fold themselves into a cramped back seat. The Rapide is powered by the same 470-hp, 5.9-liter V-12 found in the DB9. The engine doesn’t sound especially melodic from inside the car, but it’s loud enough outside to startle pedestrians with a prod of the throttle, and it’s capable of launching the Rapide to 60 mph in 5.0 seconds. A genuine sports car, the Rapide pummels roads with ferocious speeds and can reach 184 mph. Like other Astons, the cockpit is ergonomically challenged, but the gauges themselves, like much of the Rapide’s cabin, are works of art. For an even richer experience, check out the Luxury model, which adds glass switchgear, a six-piece luggage set, ventilated front and rear seats, and a dual-screen rear entertainment system — not that many people would be comfortable spending more than an hour or two in the back seat of a Rapide.

COMPETITORS

Ferrari FF

Maserati Quattroporte

Porsche Panamera

new for 2013

The Rapide arrived for 2010 looking as beautiful as the 2006 concept car that introduced the idea of a modern four-door Aston Martin. Three years into its life cycle, the sedan is about ready for a face-lift and minor mechanical update, but Aston isn’t quite ready to spill the details. More power is a given, but it’s the interior — namely, the ergonomics — that are most in need of attention.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

ABS, front and side air bags, stability and traction control, as well as a tire-pressure monitoring system are standard.

MPG

CITY 13

HWY 19

PRO

A four-door with sex appeal

V-12 thrust

Excellent steering

CON

Cramped rear seats

Slower and more expensive than a Porsche Panamera Turbo

Base Price Range: $212,110–$231,065

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Rear-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: Rapide, Rapide Luxury

BODY STYLE: Sedan, 4-passenger

ENGINE: 5.9L V-12, 470 hp, 443 lb-ft

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic

PASSENGER VOLUME: 83.0 cu ft

CARGO SPACE: 14.0 cu ft

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