Test Drives - Aston Martin Rapide

Aston Martin's first four-door reviewed by Steve Walker

Rear seat backs that fold flat at the touch of a button, child seat mountings, a 750-litre boot capacity - we’re talking about a family car, right? Wrong. This has a 6.0-litre V12 engine and a �140,000 price tag.

Being an Aston Martin, the Rapide was going to have to go like stink, handle like no other four-door car and sound to its drivers like they’re trapped in a mahogany wardrobe during a thunderstorm.

The Rapide is rear-wheel-drive in the best traditions of the brand and the basic suspension is also that of a sports car. It sticks very much to the established design themes and the key challenge of adapting it for use as a four-door, four-seater has been gracefully overcome.

All four doors open upwards as well as outwards to protect the nine coats of paint. The boot is accessed through the rear hatch and measures 301 litres with the back seats in use, 750 when down.

There’s a figure-hugging sports seat for each occupant and most adults will fit comfortably. The detailing is exquisite with hand-stitched leather, walnut and silver detailing. Each rear-seat passenger has an individual air-conditioning system.

You’d expect quite a bit of standard equipment for �140,000 and the   Rapide supplies it. Electric heated seats, a hard disc satellite navigation system and a stunning Bang & Olufsen BeoSound stereo are the highlights. There’s even an Aston Martin umbrella in the boot.

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Running costs almost become an irrelevance at this aristocratic end of the market. The V12 can have a thirst which few equal. The 90.5-litre tank provides a theoretical 300-mile range.

Aston Martin didn’t try to be too clever when creating its first four-door car. The Rapide turns out to be basically how you imagine it might be - thunderous V12, hand crafted cabin, elegant but sporting looks. It’s a sports car with space for the family.

Facts at a glance

Car: Aston Martin RapidePrice: �139,950 - on the roadInsurance group: 20CO2 emissions: 400g/km [est]Performance: 0-60mph 5.1s / top speed 188mphFuel consumption: (combined) 15mpg [est]Standard safety features: eight airbags, ABS with EBD, HBA, DSC, Traction Control.Will it fit in your garage?: length/width/height mm 5019/2140/1360

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