A few years ago, my wife made me a very generous offer. I think she was joking but I have witnesses that she said that if, in later life, I started to think about getting a mistress she’d buy me an Aston Martin instead. The bad news is that I’ve never been sure how I’d broach the subject without getting both my legs broken in several places. The good news is that there is now the Aston Martin Rapide – a four door car with four seats so that, should the situation arise, I won’t have to wait until the kids have left home to have my mid-life crisis.
A beautiful car
It has the same 6 litre V12 in the front that the DB9 does, the same aluminium structure and the same ability to look utterly, utterly beautiful from any angle. Normally I wouldn’t labour the point of a car’s looks, as they are obviously entirely subjective and so irrelevant to my high-minded engineering-led reviews, but for heaven’s sake, man, just look at the Rapide. It is stunning – so beautiful that I found myself opening the curtains and putting on the external lights just so that I could look at it the first night I had it at home.
The sheer beauty of the Aston Martin Rapide is one of its biggest assets.
Get in and there is a real sense of occasion in the cabin. All four of you sit very low in racing style bucket seats, trimmed beautifully and even back seat passengers are faced with banks of exciting looking switches. The company’s designers have cleverly combined wood, leather, aluminium and glass in a luxurious, unmistakably British yet contemporary way, although the exquisite but nigh on illegible dials are more like the face of an expensive Swiss watch.
On the road with the Aston Martin Rapide
Fire it up and the V12 revs noisily enough through the exhaust’s bypass valves to make old ladies jump and small boys point. Set off with the gearbox in D and it’s a piece of cake to drive at normal speeds, with a proper automatic gearbox rather than one of those daft flappy paddle robotized manuals. Start to drive it like you’ve stolen it and it shrinks about you, really belying its size and weight. It feels like the four door supercar that it actually is.
So is there anything that you could criticise it for? Well, if you’re built like Jonah Lomu, you wouldn’t want to try to get out of the back wearing a short skirt. The Volvo-sourced satnav is only marginally more modern than a sextant and is probably slightly trickier to use, but then it’s about to be replaced anyway. I suppose its lighter weight means that it doesn’t have the feeling of hewn from solid quality that a Bentley does – but I’m quibbling to try to avoid coming over all gushing.
The Aston Martin Rapide could have been built for me. I love the way it looks, I really love the way it drives and my kids adored riding in the back of it. It’s just a shame that I wouldn’t be able to drive it with two broken legs…
Specifications for the Aston Martin Rapide
6.0 V12 Rapide Touchtronic 11
Top speed: 188mph
0-60mph: 5.1 seconds
Ben Samuelson is the managing director of PR and events agency Samuelson Wylie Associates. Follow him on Twitter at: twitter.com/bensamuelson