1 Jun 2010
BASED on the DB9 coupe and built to customer order on behalf of Aston Martin by Magna Steyr in Austria, the four-door Rapide limo was the legendary British marque’s response to the likes of Maserati’s Quattroporte, the Mercedes-Benz CLS and Porsche Panamera.
The Rapide shared the DB9’s 6.0-litre V12 producing an identical 350kW (at 6000rpm) and 600Nm (at 5000rpm), driving the rear wheels through a retuned rear/mid-mounted Touchtronic 2 six-speed automatic transmission.
The 1950kg kerb weight was just 190kg more than the smaller DB9 and the Rapide lived up to its name – delivering 0-100km/h in 5.3 seconds on the way to a maximum speed of 303km/h.
No panels other than the front doors and bonnet were taken from other Aston Martin models. The front wings were composite, the doors and roof were made from pressed aluminium and the rear-quarter panels were steel.
Contact to the road is made via 20-inch wheels shod with Bridgestone Potenza S001 tyres – 245/40 R20 at the front, 295/35 R20 behind – and feature a taller sidewall for reduced vibration and maximum cabin refinement.
As on other Aston models, the Rapide suspension comprised double wishbones, anti-rollbars and monotube adaptive dampers all-round, plus an Adaptive Damping System (ADS) with ‘Sport’ mode.
In a first for the British brand, the Rapide featured a dual-cast brake system, with the front and rear discs – measuring 390mm diameter and using six-piston callipers at the front, 360mm with four-piston grippers at the rear – made from cast iron and aluminium. This was claimed to reduce corrosion, wear and brake weight per cent, the latter benefiting a reduction to unsprung mass thereby improving handling.
Dual-stage twin front airbags, front side airbags and front and rear head airbags were standard-fit, as were bi-Xenon headlights with integrated LED side lights and direction indicators. LEDs were also used for the tail-lights and side repeaters.
A 1000-watt Bang & Olufsen BeoSound unit with ‘ICEpower’ technology and a full gamut of connectors and input sockets for media files was standard kit while a rear entertainment unit, including LCD screens and a boot-mounted six-DVD multi-changer, was optional.
The Rapide’s boot could hold 301 litres and be accessed from the cabin via a removable bulkhead. The rear seats also folded at the touch of a button to create a flat loading space, increasing the luggage volume to 750 litres.