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2011 Aston Martin Rapide Preview

2011 Aston Martin Rapide Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2010

Critical Facts:
  • All-new model
  • Aston Martin'sfirst modern 4-door sedan
  • Touchtronic 2 automatic transmission
  • Standard adaptive damping suspension
  • Standard 1000-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system

Fast Facts:
  • Hand-assembled, 6.0-liter 12-cylinder engine standard
  • Rated at 470 horsepower and 443 lb.-ft. of torque
  • Rear-wheel drive appeals to driving enthusiasts
  • Auto Adaptive Damping suspension adjusts based on road conditionsanddriver inputs
  • 20-inch wheels with 245/40R20 front tires and 295/35R20 rear

Introduction
Aston Martin has been manufacturing performance-oriented vehicles fornearly a century. Based in the United Kingdom, this low-volumemanufacturer specializes in sports cars. In all of its years, only onemodel, the Aston Martin Lagonda, was a 4-door sedan. All-new for 2011is the Aston Martin Rapide-considered to be the automaker's firstmodern 4-door sedan. The all-new Rapide will compete in the rarefiedsedan segment occupied by the MaseratiQuattroporte and PorschePanamera-although it will be priced significantly higher than both.


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Overview
The 4-passenger 2011 Aston Martin Rapide is a 5-door hatchback (therear seats fold forward to increase cargo space) that is loaded withluxury. Standard appointments include hand-stitched leather interior,which includes the headliner, as well as a full complement of poweraccessories and convenience features.

All Aston Martin Rapides-there is only one model-share the samehand-assembled, all-alloy, 48-valve V-12 engine. Displacing 6.0 liters,the normally aspirated engine is rated at 470 horsepower and 443lb.-ft. of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through acarbon-fiber propeller shaft within an alloy tube to the mid-mountedgearbox. The transmission is Aston Martin's "Touchtronic 2" automaticwith electronic shift-by-wire control. While the 4-door shares apowertrain with its sibling Aston Martin DBS, it has been customizedfor the Rapide.

The Rapide's suspension is comprised of independentdouble wishbones onall four corners. A standard Adaptive Damping System (ADS)automatically adjusts the suspension settings based on road conditionsand driver inputs. The brakes are 4-piston calipers up front and6-piston calipers in the rear. The standard wheels are 20-inch alloyswearing 245/40R20 tires in the front and 295/35R20 rubber in the rear.

Technology
Standard equipment on the 2011 Aston Martin Rapide is the "1000 WBeoSound Rapide." That's a neat way of saying it's fitted with a1000-watt, Danish-sourced, Bang & Olufsen audio system. Thecustom-designed system includes 15 speakers throughout thecabin-including two "acoustic lenses" (speakers) that riseautomatically from the dashboard when the system is initialized.Electronics in the seat belts are connected to the audio system todetermine whether or not the seat is occupied so the audio system canactively tailor the sound to the precise number and location ofpassengers in the cabin.


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