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Friday, August 29, 2014

Hauling the family in an Aston Martin Rapide S? It can be done


Aston Martin Rapide S
                         Aston Martin Rapide S
Our family daily routine is very much like many other households with young children. During the week the schedule consists of school, office, homework, dinner and bedtime.

 On weekends the agenda is not much different: sleeping in, sports, dinner and maybe a movie. The regular tasks that we do require a sensible car that can shuttle us around with minimal fuss.

But once in awhile, something unusual, like a long-planned exotic vacation, adds some more spice in our lives. That’s why we decided to play James Bond for a few days and carried on with our normal weekend activities in the Aston Martin Rapide S. Sounds crazy, right?
No matter how much you can tout a car’s long list of good or bad attributes, at the end of the day it all still comes down to the emotional attachment to the look and feel of an automobile.

When my wife Elise and our two boys first see the Rapide S sitting on our driveway, an immediate enthusiastic thumbs-up is given without needing to utter a single word about the car. Elise notes: “It is easy to fall in love at first sight of the Aston Martin.”

 And both boys echoed the same sentiment with excitement. Even standing still, the 4-door Aston Martin already looks sleek and fast.
First item on the Saturday agenda is to take our oldest 11-year-old son to his soccer game.

We pile his soccer backpack into the trunk. There isn’t too much room, but the hatchback does offer enough space leftover to squeeze in a folding chair and a bag of snacks.

 Sitting in the back, both boys like the snug and comfortable seats, though our 8-year old complains the “the space is really small for your feet.” And he’s legs don’t even quite touch the floor.

From one soccer game to the next, the beautiful roar from the Aston’s V-12 engine gets everyone’s attention on the street.

Mated to a 6-speed paddle-shift automatic gearbox, the Rapide S accelerates with authority thanks to its available 550 hp and 457 lb.-ft. of torque.

 Everyone in the family enjoys the powerful acceleration with the factory claimed time of 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds.

After morning soccer games, we want to get into the British spirit and have a spot of tea. On the way, the boys are excited about the rear-seat entertainment system and the possibility to see a movie.

However, they are frustrated with the remote control, and confused about how to correctly operate the two separate TV monitors on the back of the front seat headrests.

 With most modern cars now with in-dash openings for CD/DVD players, I had problems figuring out where to insert the discs. In fact, it didn’t occur to me right away to check the rear trunk until after we returned from visiting the teahouse.

Spending time in the Aston Martin Rapide S, surrounded by the rich feel and smell of leather, we can’t help but want act a bit more sophisticated.

 So on Sunday we dressed up (in our family that could be anything but jeans) and traveled to a Sunday brunch in Newport Beach, Calif. overlooking the marina.

We ordered Mimosas and orange juice for the kids, and had delicious eggs benedict and omelets. Good times, but not as much fun as the chance to put the Rapide S through the paces driving back through winding roads—luckily no one got sick.

The 4-door Aston Martin’s front and rear double wishbone suspension maximizes the grip provided by the all-around 20-inch Bridgestone Potenza S001 tires.

 The rack-and-pinion steering points the car into corners with precision, and the rear follows suit with confidence. Overall, the ride—even in normal—is firmer than your average sports sedan. But then again, the Aston Martin is not your typical car either.

As our weekend winds down, we conclude that the Aston Martin Rapide S is definitely a beautiful and great driving car, but not practical enough to meet our needs.

Sure it would be nice to have an Aston Martin Rapide S, but like a finely tailored suit, we would not be using it often. But we sure look good in it!

2014 Aston Martin Rapide S
4-Passenger car
5.9-liter V-12
TRANSMISSION6-speed automatic
POWER550 hp
TORQUE457 lb.-ft.
WEIGHT4,387 lbs.
13 City / 19 Highway
Sexy styling, powerful engine, great handling
Tight rear seats, small trunk space, fuel economy