Just couple of days ago, I was very privileged to be part of a selected group of media to witness the special preview of the new Aston Martin Rapide S. The event took place at the only Aston Martin showroom in the country located in Petaling Jaya, which is really an automotive showroom heaven. Name the brand and you will find the showroom for it over here. The Aston Martin showroom is placed between a Mazda and Land Rover showroom, and even the largest Ferrari showroom outside of Italy is only a few minutes drive away. Talk about close competition.
You can read all about the Rapide S in one of my previous post when it was announced by Aston Martin just 5 months ago. Here is a quick recap: Compared to the previous Rapide, the Rapide S is now 80 hp more powerful, have more torque, a higher top speed, better handling, and yet more fuel-efficient, emits less CO² than before and will cost roughly the same as the old Rapide. Very impressive update for a car which has only been around for 2 years.
Now back to the media preview event. As soon as I arrived at the showroom, I was greeted by not one, not two, but four models from the Aston lineup. V8 Vantage, DBS, new DB9, and of course, the stunning flagship Vanquish. The whole interior of the showroom was specially set up for the preview event and was occupied by the Rapide S which was still under cover then. Of course I already knew how the car would look like from the official photos online, but anticipating the moment where I will be seeing it soon in the metal for the very first time made me very excited…
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After a brief explanation of the car from Executive Director, Nazrul Mohtar and Operations Manager Asia, Shoichi Terashima who came all the way from Japan for the event, the media are finally free to check out the new Rapide S inside out. Attended by selected media of less 20 people in total means that every single one of us can take our time and properly get a feel of its interior. And what an interior this is!
As you’d expect, the front seats are extremely comfortable and yet with enough side bolsters to hold you in place during tight cornering. What’s interesting to try out must be the Rapide S’ rear seats. As this is Aston Martin’s very first production model with four-doors, rear seat accommodation might not be their best forte. However, for a first attempt, I must say that Aston did a very impressive job.
The rear seats are surprisingly deep and extremely supportive. The seats may not have much cushioning and feels stiff but they are actually more comfortable than its sporty looks suggest. Comfortable its rear seats may be, I’m afraid I could not say the same about the rear leg room. I’m over six-foot tall and I have just enough leg room for myself, there is also no room for you to extend your legs underneath the front seats which means someone taller than me will need to fold their legs more than they prefer.
To be fair though, the rear leg room is still way better than most third-row-seats of many SUVs and MPVs which are much bigger, heavier and designed to carry more people. Aston Martin wants everyone to see the Rapide S as a sports car which just happens to have an extra two doors. And for that, I am very impressed.
I believe customers of the Rapide S are those who drives along with another passenger most of the time just like in any two door sports car. However, throughout their ownership there will be times where they will have to carry another person or two, where only then those extra two seats really shine. Just like how an owner of a SUV or MPV will not have to ferry seven people all the time. But when the occasion arise, the owner will be so grateful for the two extra seats.
As you’re making yourself accustomed with the rear seat, you will notice an unusually tall center console cum armrest with integrated cup holders and air vents. As high they may be, they are actually just the perfect height to rest your arm. Rest your arm at this height and armrests from other cars will never feel right anymore. Of course, the reason it can be made so tall is simply because the Rapide S is a strict four-seater and there is no center rear seat.
To get a proper feel inside the car, I closed the rear door and the first thing I notice was the huge amounts of resistance. That is due to the hydraulic system of the doors which prevents those slightly tilted doors from slamming shut due to gravity. The same applies as you open those tilted doors which are tilted to not only look cool, but to prevent the doors from being scraped when parked right next to a high kerb.
As you push open those doors (which are not easy as they are tilted upwards remember), the hydraulics keeps the door where you pushed it, which removes the need of pushing the doors with one mighty push in order to fully extend the doors. This also means you don’t have to hold the tilted doors open if you parked close to another car and cannot fully extend the door. It’s a simple yet very effective method of dealing with gravity when using such unique doors.
The materials used throughout the cabin is top-notch like you would expect from an Aston Martin. Metals are metals, and leathers are leathers. You will also struggle to find any hard plastic surfaces throughout the Rapide S’ interior. The dashboard is completely wrapped in leather and soft-touch materials. Plus, the red stitching on the black leather seats gives that extra dose of sportiness, and all that is nicely balanced out with white color stitching for the center console which stretches all the way to the back. Very tasteful.
Another interesting point are the magnets used for closing the center console storage compartments and the rear grab handles. Instead of using the common latch majority of cars uses for shutting storage compartments, the Rapide S uses powerful magnets to keep the compartments shut in place. The same applies for the beautiful but awkward-to-hold rear grab handles which are made of genuine leather and metal. The hidden magnets prevent those handles from flapping around inside the car.
At the end of the day, I am really liking the new Rapide S very much even before I get to drive it. The Rapide S is the most well-rounded Aston Martin model in the range simply because of those extra seats and larger cargo space. Even so, it manages to look just as attractive as any two-door Aston Martin sports car and I’m sure it will drive just as great. Prices starts from RM1.9 million for a base Rapide S without options. If I am spending my own money on an Aston Martin (if that happens at all), the Rapide S will be my model of choice.
I want to sincerely thank Aston Martin Kuala Lumpur for the kind invitation to the great event, and I look forward to attending more of these automotive events in the future!
Please check out the short video I’ve recorded and put together on the preview event below. This is my very first time filming “professionally” so it’s not perfect, but rest assured my filming skills will improve over time with experience!