Drive Thru: Aston Martin Rapide

Aston Martin Rapide

Back when I tested the BMW M5 another car joined us on the test. As you’ve clearly guessed by now that car was an Aston Martin Rapide. And while I didn’t get a lot of time behind the wheel it would be rude not to share the experience with you.

Prior to hitting the road we met for a bite to eat and while walking back to the cars the Aston had to drive past us to join our small convoy. Right away it was clear that Aston Martins enjoy much public adoration. People stopped to look as the V12 Rapide drove by, one person clearly heard saying, “Wow, did you see the Aston Martin!”

And with good reason, too, because the Rapide is a beautiful looking car. Long, lithe and beautfully proportioned.

Even during our test, where the road is shared with weekend warriors of all persuasions—cars, motorbikes and cyclists—we enjoyed a chat with a few like minded souls. Nobody seemed to care about the M5, they just smiled at the Aston and wanted to ask all about it.

Inside the Rapide it’s just as beautiful as out. The materials are first class and its assembly was difficult to fault. It has a few ideosynchrasies, like the gear selector buttons beneath the central air conditioning vents, but you really could spend all day snuggled inside this cabin where all your senses are spoilt.

Although, not so much if you had to ride in the back seat. Curiously, for a car designed as a dedicated four-seater the back seats are a very snug fit. Indeed, if anyone in the front row is tall then the rear seat is not much good for anyone other than a small adult or child.

Okay, so we know the Aston is special enough to make the experience an event even before the 6.0 litre V12 is fired up, what happens when you press the start button?

Aston Martin Rapide

Straight away you get a tingle down your spine as the engine roars into life. At all engine speeds the V12 sounds magnificent. It turns heads, creates smiles and the note gives a symphony that is hard to top. Of course, the V12 sounds its best as the revs are climbing.

Settling into the car for my single downhill run on our mountain pass I was nervous with anticipation. Off the line I gave a decent squirt to make sure the V12 sounded its best for our new friends we’d been chatting to moments before.

Alas, in the tight sections which followed it was very quickly apparent that the Rapide and tight twisty roads are not a great match. Its steering was surprisingly light and while accurate enough the feel wasn’t outstanding. Perhaps due to its long wheelbase the Rapide felt slow to react and had a looseness to it that was disappointing

Aston Martin Rapide

Aston Martin Rapide

On the positive side the gearbox reacted really well to manual gear changes made with the flappy paddles. The test route has a few longer radius sweeping turns and here the Rapide really stood out. All of sudden its composure increased, it was settled and ate those corners up with ease. Where quick and direct steering inputs weren’t required the Rapide came alive.

You could just imagine how much fun it would be to drive this car across the top of Australia on the Snowy Mountains Highway, between Tumut and Cooma, where the experience would be as spectacular as the scenery.

Make no mistake, the Aston Martin Rapide is a very capable GT cruiser, where it can lope its way through sweeping corners with confidence. It was for that reason the owner bought the car, he didn’t want a point to point weapon, rather a place where he could relax with his young family and when appropriate put a very broad smile on his face.

And that’s exactly what I had after sampling the Rapide for myself.

Aston Martin Rapide

Aston Martin Rapide

Thank you to Alan and Chris for their assistance.