2012 Aston Martin Rapide Review

Rapide

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2012 Aston Martin Rapide Overview

2012 Aston Martin Rapide

When the Aston Martin Rapide sailed onto the streets for 2010, few expected the unabashedly 4-door touring car to so much as fill the shoes of its DB9 bloodline. Just 2 years later and so much has changed. Already its maker's pet, the 2012 Rapide aims to set the bar by filling in that last cavity of a navigation system while moving manufacture from Australia back home to England. Next year, Aston Martin raises that bar with the very possible additions of a slick-looking Rapide S and sexy, but 2-door, Rapide V12 Zagato.

Over the course of its venerable 2-year history, the Rapide has established itself as the lone entrant in a desirable new segment: the practical luxury touring vehicle. Since the Autobahn can't even handle burying the needle in the likes of a Porsche Panamera, Aston Martin instead fine-tunes its Rapide for unsurpassed cornering confidence, agility, precise dynamics, comfort, useful style and unforgettable appeal. Rapide owners know the journey is often more rewarding than the destination, especially with the unique song of a naturally aspirated 470 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque from a V12 rising and swaying with the landscape and plenty of things to enjoy in and about the cabin.

A new Garmin-based navigation system tops off a relatively low-tech standard offering for 2012, joining a long list of amenities like front and rear automatic climate control, power front seats with memory functions, heated seats all around, full supple leather interior, auto-dimming rear-view and a custom 15-speaker top-shelf sound system with CD player, USB/iPod connectivity, auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio.

Front and rear parking sensors compensate for limited outward visibility to keep this precious machine unscathed, and adjustable adaptive suspension dampers ensure a crisp and comfortable ride, but won't do much to keep the Rapide from bottoming out like any other sports car, despite its 20-inch standard set of wheels. Bred to tackle even the thinnest of hairpin turns in less-than-ideal conditions, this entirely rear-wheel-drive line also comes equipped with bi-xenon headlights, limited-slip differential, stability and traction control, front side airbags, 4 side curtain airbags and brake assist working together with a precision-tuned engine and 6-speed auto-manual transmission to deliver a zip-to-60 time of 5 seconds and a 60-to-zip stopping distance of just 107 feet.

The Rapide Luxury edition doubles down with different wheels, ventilated front and rear seats, backup glass-trimmed key fob, glass switchgear, rear entertainment system, special paint and leather treatments with a 6-piece custom leather set to match your chosen interior. There's just 14 cubic feet in that hatch-style trunk until you fold down the seats for an extra 7 cubes, so the custom luggage is a lot more than just a gorgeous accessory.

All but the switchgear are available as options for the base model, as are a rear-view camera, any paint color Aston Martin has ever used, and even a wristwatch transponder to replace the key fob functionality. The catch? Well, the rear seats are a touch small for average-size companions, and fetching just 13 mpg city/19 highway on premium fuel doesn't exactly endear the Rapide to solo daily driving, either—but it would be such a waste of beauty not to share.

Updated

Your prototypical "Tom Girl" Patricia got her start digging into Ford engines before she aged into double digits. Gifted with a mechanical mind, her favorite pass-time in the summer is picking up a fixer-up'r at the local public auction and massaging its every ailment until it's primed for a new lover. From dirt bikes to land yachts, every partner offers something truly special in her love affair with the road - just don't tell her husband.

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Rapide
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