2017 Aston Martin Rapide S – A Grand Tourer with Soul
Here we are, living in one of the most exciting times. Intertwined from electro-mechanical to electric and then a total shift towards the digital trends. An ideal place where everything is charged up yet the environment remains sterile. Just last week at CES2017 a new company Faraday Future revealed electrifying news on its new and upcoming car/SUV/MPV as “First Of The Species” called FF91. Faraday is promising that it would be the fastest zero emission car ever built and they are starting ahead of where Tesla is now!
I guess, a fitting environment for the inspired generation of Issac Asimov, who may also like to live in the laboratory. However, for a guy like me who often indulge in the beatnik’s scribbles and daydream about the nostalgia and love the sound of a three chords jam from the Fender and the burble from the oiled filled mechanical V12 engine.
This time to invigorate my senses from the still left over organic sights and sounds, Aston Martin provided it’s largest and the luxurious Rapide S to review over a weekend. A daydream turns into a motoring wet dream!
Arresting Design – 9.0/ 10
It’s hard to describe or elaborate with words the quintessential beauty of Aston Martin fluidic design. The Rapide S design is captivating from every angle, even though it’s a full-size sedan rather than a stunning DB9 coupe this AM is based on. Design Director Marek Reichman adopting the “Golden Ratio” to give it an in-motion look even when the car is at standstill. You don’t have to look closely to notice the large signature grill on a blank sculpted bumper. There’s no secondary air vents or even the fog lights. From floating wing mirrors to the character line from the fender vent and the haunches on the rear evokes the strength. A rakish coupe-like roofline completes an elegant flowing stance.
Then again the exquisitely crafted aristocratic cabin is glowing with the leather in Sahara Tan color contrasting with the obsidian black instrument binnacle. The cabin is like a custom-made suit. It’s comfortable enough yet not vast. Conforming with the exterior’s minimal design theme, the Rapid S has touch sensitive buttons on the waterfall inspired center console. In a day and age where the touch screen has grown into a cinemascope size, a smallish 6.5″ hideaway screen which sits on top of the dashboard once the engine is fired up. Conventional gearstick is replaced with four buttons with PRND letters depicting the gear engaging function placed under the air-vents. And that’s AM’s electric dream!
The two individual seats in the rear are separated by the center bridge which is more akin to a personalized capsule. At first, I thought the seats were only good enough for the kids, but then I tried to fit myself and found it’s just adequate. There are however few vexatious elements other than the slim-fit cabin. First is to master the art of getting inside low slung AM. Next then, buckling up the seat belt anchor that requires a bit of a practice as it is placed deep down. Once all is done, you’ll notice the hissing sound of aircon air either from the seats or from the rear cabin in otherwise quite and cozy cabin.
Superlative Drive – 9.0/ 10
At My RVM/ Rearview Mirror, we receive all types of cars, pickups and all sorts of SUVs. Interestingly most of the cars we’ve reviewed are premium and luxury brands. However, they get confused with their intend-purpose (our key judgment criteria). Sometimes the manufacturer refers a car as sporty or more boldly as the sports model, yet the particular car lacks that “Sports” factor even after adding a high-tension suspension across all 4 corners.
Rapide S was a contradiction from the get go. In the normal driving mode, it was a joyous ride, wafting like a real luxury car while ignoring the imperfections on the road. The direct steering light weight around the town and the gets serious when I was blasting through the switchback roads of Maliha. A great “Grand Tourer” attribute. That plush ride is to take you to cross continents tirelessly. If it wasn’t for the matter of reviewing the car I would never have to switch the car in the sports mode.
But switching the car into sports mode means engaging all the 12 cylinders to fire and roar loudly. This massive handbuilt quad cam 48 valve 6.0 liter AM29 V12 that sans turbo produces 552 bhp and 465 lb-ft of torque at 5500 rpm. Mated to a rear mid-mounted, ‘Touchtronic III’, ZF 8-speed gearbox with an electronic shift-by-wire control system. The result is phenomenal! You can achieve a 0-60 time in a mere 4.2 seconds and if the time and space permit that Rapide S can be stretched for a max 203mph speed!!
Press the Play button and listen to the awesome exhaust note sound clip – A Rearview Mirror Exclusive
Reaching the max velocity is half the story. AM Rapide S maintains its composure due to unique suspension geometry and advanced tech: The front and rear independent double wishbones with Gen4 Adaptive Damping System Rapide S quickly adopts the road condition and dive into the corners providing the confidence to the driver. Thanks to the huge 20” Multi-spoke wheels that are shod with Bridgestone Potenza 245/40 R20 up front and rear are done with wider 295/35 R20 tires that provides the traction like AWD cars.
Safe Enough – 7.0/ 10.
Our tester packs a host of safety features which thankfully does not displeasure the driver and the ride. Dual-stage driver and front passenger frontal airbags with occupant side airbags. Head protection airbags for front and rear occupants. 3-stage Dynamic Stability Control (DSC). Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) and Positive Torque Control (PTC). Reverse camera to sum up safety features.
Buyer’s Guide to the Galaxy – 9.0/ 10
There’s no denying that beside the delighting driving experience. Owning AM Rapide S would be a jubilant experience thanks to its British racing heritage, yet with a pinch of salt. Our tester arrived in Morning Frost White color with a dizzying price tag of AED 825000. You can order the car in any way you like. The bespoke options are endless. The beautifully embossed sports seats are done in the Middle Eastern desert tone, though known as Sahara Tan. You can wake up the whole neighborhood with 1000 watts Bang & Olufsen Beosound Audio with black B&O speaker grilles and lists continue…
Aston Martin Rapid S is not alone in this stratosphere. There are highly competitive players in this tight exotic segment: Audi RS 7, BMW M6 Gran Coupe, Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG, Porsche Panamera, and the one with the Ferrari’s engine, Maserati Quattroporte. Rapide S is not a perfect car for an everyday home to office destination ride. And every day is not even an occasion but for the occasion to be a memorable and joyous episode in the life, there is only Aston Martin Rapide S.