Aston Martin considers the Rapide to be the perfect car to enter our market with its four doors, four full seats and a decent boot coupled with sports car performance, which is why it has decided to bring it to India by the end of this year.
The Rapide is coming flanked by the DBS, the DB9 and the Vantage on its sides through dealers in Delhi and Mumbai. The Rapide is probably the most successful attempt by any manufacturer to blur the lines between a saloon and a sports car. The two extra doors and the rear bucket seats do not feel out of place on the Rapide.
Sports car performance and looks complemented by saloon specifications make the Rs 2-crore Rapide the ideal car for Aston to introduce in India. The car is powered by a 6-litre V12 producing 469bhp at 6000rpm. This and the 61.24kgm of torque will launch the sports saloon to 100kph in 4.9sec on its way to a top whack of 296kph.
The car is built on an aluminium VH (vertical horizontal) body structure like for the DB9. This platform is very adaptable and strong, hence can be used easily for different body styles like convertible versions.
Aluminium, magnesium alloy and composite body panels help keep the weight of the massive Rapide a little short of two tonnes. The only problem with aluminium is that if it gets damaged, repairing it requires high levels of skill and experience since aluminium distorts more than steel. Costs of repair will skyrocket here and so will the time taken to get it done.
Massive 20-inch alloys give the car an imposing stance. The grain leather interior with walnut finish on top of the centre console looks stunning but some on the dashboard is carried over from other Astons. Since materials and upholstery schemes can be chosen from several options AM provides, the chance of anyone in India finding a similar-looking Aston are remote.
Adding to the four-seater Rapide is the 2+2 seater two-door DB9 that sports the same engine and chassis but accelerates faster to 100kph by 0.4 of a second due to its lighter weight. The DB9 though is by no means a four-seater – the cramped seats at the back are good for kids only. On-road the DB9 will cost Rs 1.7 crore approximately.
The DBS and the Vantage complete the line up. The Vantage is the only car to get a smaller V8 too. The 4.8-litre alloy engine produces 420bhp and 48kgm of torque and reaches a top speed of 290kph. The V8 costs Rs 1.28 crore and the V12 costs a princely Rs 1.94 crore. Our roads aren’t exactly ideal to unleash such sports car performance; hence the cheaper V8 could be attractive to Indian customers, some of whom are more concerned with looks than outright performance.
The luxury sports car maker wants a share of the double-digit sports car pie currently dominated by the Germans. If its understated elegant British styling and massive V8 and V12 engines don’t tempt you, the painstakingly handcrafted interiors will surely drag you in.
A year-end arrival just seems too far. A lot will depend on how well the cars are supported in India.