Aston Martin Rapide

While design and luxury are important parts of every Aston Martin, it really starts with the engine. The Rapide has a front-mounted 6.0L V12 capable of 477 hp and 443 pound-feet of torque, mated to a Touchtronic 6-speed shift-by-wire automatic with paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. It's capable of a top speed of 188 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 5.0 seconds.

Aston Martin did have to change a few things in its design language to accommodate the addition of two more doors. The swan wing doors open at 12 degrees to avoid scuffing their bottoms on curbs and the swing of the doors has been increased to 70 degrees to make it easier to get in and out.

All the same, the Rapide is, in every way, an Aston Martin. The chassis is bonded aluminum, while the body is aluminum, magnesium and composite. The wheels on which it rides are 20-inches tall and the suspension is a perfectly tuned double-wishbone setup that incorporates anti-squat, anti-dive and active damping for a smooth ride even during high performance driving.

The Rapide has all the latest in safety and performance technology, such as anti-lock brakes, stability control, traction control, electronic brake force distribution, emergency brake assist and positive torque control.

The interior is where the Rapide sets itself apart from its 2-seat family members. The front seats are standard-issue Aston Martin with hand-stitched leather and memory seats, Bluetooth, satellite radio, navigation system and automatic temperature control.

The surprise is that the rear seats are fully Aston Martin as well-- no skimping on quality or comfort. Two individual sport seats are situated to give rear passengers views to the side and front. The center console continues from the front compartment through to the rear, with storage for all four passengers. Optional LCD screens can be mounted in the back of the front seats. The two rear seats can fold flat, which more than doubles the cargo space of the trunk.

Bang & Olufson tailored the sound system for the car, creating the 1000W BeoSound Rapide with 15 speakers and Acoustic Lens Technology. "ALT," as it's known, senses how many people are in the car and adjusts the sound for the number and location of the passengers.

The new for 2012 Aston Martin Luxe further enhances the car with several functional and aesthetic additions. The Luxe comes equipped with a 6-piece set of leather fitted luggage, unique leather seating surfaces, ventilated front and rear seats, beautiful looking glass switchgear, standard LCD screens for rear seat occupants, unique 20-inch polished alloy wheels, a garage door opener and a rearview camera.

Options are mostly aesthetic in nature, providing a choice of wood trim, color-keyed steering wheel, personalized sill plaques, wheel finish and brake caliper colors.

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