Aston Martin has been canny with the way it has designed the Rapide’s suspension system to seemingly be all things to all men, depending on what sort of mood you’re in or what sort of journey you’re on.
For on the one hand the Rapide plays the role of supremely refined, smooth-riding luxury car as well as anything in the class if left in its standard set-up. Press the Sport button, however, alongside another button that stiffens the suspension dramatically, and the Rapide suddenly becomes a quite different kind of car – one that feels very close to a full-blown sporting GT.
Inevitably the ride quality suffers if you use these two buttons and there’s more road noise and less comfort generally, but the point is the choice is entirely up to you. And the transformation between calm, fine-riding, impressively quiet luxury cruiser and sharper, more alert sporting car is as successful as we’ve experienced in any car of this ilk. A Panamera neither rides nor wafts along a motorway with anywhere near as much refinement, and although it feels more controlled ultimately than the Aston when going quickly, the Aston is far from disgraced.
And it has better steering than the Porsche to boot, with lots of proper feel through the rim yet no unwanted kickback over rough surfaces. Aston Martin really does know how to do great steering nowadays, and the Rapide’s could well be the best of a very good bunch.
The only aspect that stands between the Rapide and top marks in this category is its occasional tyre roar, but even this only appears on certain surfaces and is the inevitable result of using such wide, 295-section rear tyres.