This sultry new saloon won’t go to the dogs
They say there’s a first time for everything, that those of us who live right will always have room for a surprise now and then. But could it be that I just saw a dog jump out of the backseat of Aston Martin’s new luxury saloon, the Rapide Concept? Sure enough, it happened, and while “Torch” is a beautiful pure-bred it’s a good bet that his four-legged presence is one visual memory Aston Martin execs don’t want resonating with their beautiful, sleek car. But back to the dog. It’s safe to assume that Torch will never again appreciate sitting inside another car. Not a chance -- now that the large, hairy and pampered pooch enjoyed a ride in the backseat of Aston Martin’s Rapide dream during the 2006 North American International Auto Show. Based on the architecture of the DB9, the Rapide is the icing on the cake for Aston Martin, a sedan missing from its vehicle offerings and one that heritage dictates should be in place. Now that the automaker is on the offensive, having made a profit last year with three simmering vehicles, the time sure seems right for the Rapide. Interested buyers can expect to pay around $200,000 for the Rapide, which is a little more than 9 inches longer than the DB9 and gets a horsepower bump up to 480 from the DB9’s 6.0-liter V12. That power is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic ZF transmission, with special gear ratios that help make up some of the weight difference. But not to worry – this is no slob. The Rapide is reported to be able to get to 60 mph in about 4.6 seconds, and reach a top speed of 186 mph. Simply put, the Rapide will be the Aston Martin for older gentlemen -- and their dogs -- who still like the thrill of power and conquest, but prefer doing it in more subtle and comfortable ways.
Photos by Brian Chee