Leaving Las Vegas in an Aston Rapide S
Another classic feature from the last 20 years of TG mag: the ultimate test of Aston’s four-door...
Posted: 22 Oct 2013
Power is up from the 470bhp at 6,000rpm of the old car to 550 at 6,750, and peak torque is up a marginal 14lb ft to 457lb ft at a relatively lofty 5,500rpm, though there are small improvements in muscularity throughout the rev-range. It's more efficient too, dropping emissions from 355g/km CO2 to 332, but it still hasn't breached 20mpg on the combined cycle - the official figures reporting 19.9mpg. But that's not all that surprising; the Rapide S is still mighty fast, more so now than ever, and clocks 62mph in under five seconds (4.9), with Aston reckoning it will run out to 190-ish mph. That's probably enough, four-up with a kitbag for each. It's certainly more than enough for this slice of America. This close to Vegas, there are plenty of tourists, and the howl of an Aston V12 travels a mighty distance. We start to attract a bit too much attention, so it's back on the freeway to our next destination.
A clear-for-miles slip road allows for a satisfying lunge through four of the six gears of the Touchtronic 2 auto. It's not the fastest, most reactive or most sophisticated transmission, but it does the job in the Rapide, a car that requires regularity over reaction, subtle over absolute sparkle. And you never get bored of allowing that V12 to sing out, valves loosening above 3,500rpm, roaring defiance at Newton's theories. It's not devastatingly quick, but it feels strong, vigorous and deep-chested. Plenty fast enough. And we have it filled with bags and kit. More than that, when it settles back into a cruise, the Rapide is fine company for the longer haul. Aston may have recalibrated the dynamic stability control in line with the power hike, and sorted out the adaptive damping system to give the appropriate responses in Normal, Sport and Track modes, but it doesn't feel that much different to the old car when settled into a sub-2,000rpm cruise. So it's comfortable for a car with so much potential, but still has a slightly fizzy edge on bad roads: the big stuff is squished and separated easily, but small vibrations can still make the car tingle.