Walk into any Aston Martin showroom and the festival of automotive candy is enough to send the average petrol head into a sugary coma.
If you had your cheque book to hand, every one of the Aston Martins on display could easily sit on your drive they look so good. The showstopper at the moment is the Vanquish - look out for that on the roads, especially in yellow or a convertible.
Auto Trader’s test drive for the weekend was Aston Martin’s family hatchback, the Rapide S. Modestly face-lifted and boosted up the S is today’s take on the Rapide that was launched in 2012.
The Rapide is a proper 2+2 and easily sits two adults in the rear. A mix of leather and alcantara will impress your passengers while the Bang and Olufsen sound system will, with perfect operatic sound, boom over any conversation you don’t want to take part in.
So will the exhaust, the sonorous emissions from the rear end have to be right up there with the best in the automotive world. Inserting the glass-like key and pressing start is a sign for the noise to begin and the heart to pound. Keep the car in sports mode and the engine notes will keep your windows down even in the middle of a Dubai summer.
Unfortunately that’s where the sporty side of the Rapide S ends. Yes, it looks sporty, sounds sporty and handles incredibly well, but it isn’t sporty. If anything it is very disappointing. The figures are not bad 0-100-kph in 4.7 secs and 550 HP but Aston Martin have put a 6.0-litre V12 engine under the hood and the figures coming from it should be so much better. If Aston Martin want to hark back to heritage and their badge, they need to fulfill the desires of the owner - and that is to compete with a Ferrari at the traffic lights.
I don’t drive cars too hard, there are many journalists out there who want to test the limits of physics but I drive the cars as a cherished owner would. If I owned a Rapide S though, I would have to tone down my driving. From the moment I pressed the accelerator I felt as though I was going to break this car. The build quality could be a little less fragile: I don’t understand how this Aston Martin can fling itself perfectly around the bends yet feel brittle in my hands.
I liked the Rapide S a lot but Aston Martin have to improve this car - if they can put the sporty figures right and do something with the build then they have a car that can put them at the top of buyers lists.