Some cars are loud and boxy. Some are meek and small. But so rarely are they a true work of art. The Aston Martin Rapide, rumored to be ready for release in late 2007 to go head to head with, among others, the Porsche Panamera, absolutely is a piece of art. There is no question in my mind that the Rapide is a much better looking car than the images I’ve seen of the Panamera. Long and sleek, the Rapide looks less like an aerodynamic machine and more like a piece of the wind.
Powered by a 480-bhp V12, the same engine that is in the Aston Martin D89, only upgraded to handle the extra weight, the Rapide should have a top speed of around 180 mph and a 0-60 in the low fives or so, certainly not the fastest car on the market, but it’s not trying to be. What it is trying to be is fast and practical. This is a car for the speed junkie with a family. The four doors give access to the sedan-sized backseat, and a hatchback trunk opens into a massive cargo hold. Lay the back seats down, and you’ve got a space that anyone 6 feet or under could lie down in.
Five meters long, the Aston Martin is all about functionality within the scope of beauty. The doors open up at a 12-degree angle, allowing for easier access to the interior. The rear doors extend a bit over the rear wheels, again providing a bigger opening for ease of access. Access to an interior that coddles and awes. With a mix of wood, aluminum, leather, glass and light all working together to both maximize space and enhance spaciousness, the Rapide’s hand-crafted interior leaves little question as to why Aston Martins are one of the preferred vehicles of one James Bond.
With a pricetag comparable to that of a decent house, the Rapide is certainly not a car for the everyday Joe. But it does acknowledge that even the fabulously wealthy have a need for practicality as well. Their practicality is just hand-made, that’s all.