A “pinnacle of Aston Martin’s design ethos” and Porsche’s “bloated look”

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Hard to believe that the same company now producing this:

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“Our cars must look beautiful from all angles” —Dr. Ulrich Bez, Aston CEO

“Our cars must look beautiful from all angles” —Dr. Ulrich Bez, Aston CEO

has also produced the blimp at the right. We slammed the Lagonda’s appearance last month, but the new Aston Martin Rapide is about the most beautiful 4-door yrs trly has seen in his car-fancying lifetime. Beyond its looks, the Rapide is designed as “a real sports car but with four doors,” a 6-liter 500-bhp V12 engine (from the DB9, as is the platform), and the company’s VH architecture.

The latter’s “chemically-bonded structure (using glues derived from aircraft manufacture) is mated with bodywork that mixes aluminium and composite materials,” according to the company’s lengthy press release.

The Rapide brings to life a 2006 concept vehicle that already has inspired much comment and anticipation.

Now, we shouldn’t be too hard on the Panamera, but the phrase “bloated look” came from Dan Edmunds, who was a “test passenger” in the car at Weissach. Porsche’s goal panamera21was to accommodate four full-size adults and their luggage in a V8 tourer that does the standing kilometer in 5.6, 5.0, or 4.2 seconds, depending on the engine configuration (three are offered).

It isn’t nearly as attractive a vehicle as Maserati’s Quattroporte or the Rapide. But it’s not as costly, either. Available in October, the rear-wheel-drive Panamera’s price will start at $89,800, the 4WD version will add another four grand, and the 4WD turbo will set you back $132,600.

Those prices make it a veritable steal, compared to the Rapide, whose pricetag is a reported £250,000, or about $170,000. Thanks, I’ll take one of each.

When you’re paying these kinds of bucks, how important is the styling factor?

—jgoods

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