When this segment of 4 doors sports car with more than 400 horse power was created few years ago, it was criticized by the car press; why to mix a sports car with a sedan? But today this segment is growing up, and it had proven that it’s a must for the market: an elegant and  comfortable car for everyday uses, a Spacious and functional family car for the weekend and a racing car on the circuit. Aston Martin and Porsche introduced the Rapide the Panamera, that we will compare and list the specifications of each one.

 

Aston Martin Rapide:


Aston Martin will unveil one of the most eagerly awaited cars at the 63rd Frankfurt Motorshow. The elegant Aston Martin Rapide, functional yet luxurious, provides space for up to four adults combined with an engaging driving experience synonymous with all Aston Martins.

As the marque’s first production four-door sports car, Aston Martin Rapide encapsulates core values of Power, Beauty and Soul; four ‘swan wing’ doors provide access to cosseting sports seats both front and rear bestowing occupants with ample accommodation. A 301 litre luggage compartment affords generous space for belongings for all four passengers whether they be sports bags or indeed, sets of skis, creating an Aston Martin which can be enjoyed on any occasion, anytime, anywhere.

Aston Martin Rapide’s rear environment has been intelligently packaged to create a space where passengers feel a part of the driving experience with clear views to the front and sides.

Comfort and support is supplied in the form of two hand trimmed individual seats and a personal face-level heating and air conditioning system. Aiding the practicalities of everyday use, the luggage compartment features a movable bulkhead to permit access from the rear cabin while the rear seats fold flat at the touch of a button to create a flat loading space increasing the luggage compartment from 301 litres to 750 litres.

At the heart of every Aston Martin lies an evocative engine providing effortless power and torque: Aston Martin Rapide features a hand-built 6.0-litre V12 engine producing 470 bhp (477 PS / 350 kW) with peak power being delivered at 6000 rpm and 600 Nm (443 lbft) peak torque at 5000 rpm. A specifically tuned six-speed Touchtronic 2 automatic transmission features as standard, allowing the driver to change gear automatically or manually via the steering column-mounted magnesium paddles.

First shown in 2006 in concept form at the Detroit Auto Show, the Aston Martin Rapide project received an immediate green light from Aston Martin’s new shareholders in mid 2007 following the sale of the marque by the Ford Motor Company. In a little over two years, Aston Martin’s design and engineering team have delivered a new car from the ground up. Aston Martin Rapide has been developed from the ‘V/H Architecture’ platform which already forms the backbone to Aston Martin’s critically acclaimed line-up: the DBS, DB9 and Vantage range.

Chief Executive, Dr. Ulrich Bez said: “Aston Martin Rapide is the culmination of the Aston Martin range of sports cars, a car that seals the revival of a truly admired marque. There is now an Aston Martin for every taste and for every use.

“With Aston Martin Rapide, the entire family can enjoy their Aston Martin together in unison, in an invigorating yet comfortable environment, sitting low, with plenty of visibility from every seat and with new levels of comfort, refinement and entertainment.”

Director of Design, Marek Reichman who led the in-house design team which penned the Aston Martin Rapide said: “Like a race horse standing still, you can see its power and elegance, the shape of Rapide’s rear haunches are muscular conveying the power that lies beneath while its low stance produces a powerful look. “There is a real sense of proportion with this car, akin to a tailored suit; the new double grill gives more presence on the road while the iconic signature side strake has been lengthened through to the rear doors to enhance its lateral proportions in a subtle, yet elegant way. The car’s purity makes it look right from every angle.”

First deliveries of the Aston Martin Rapide will commence early in 2010 and will be available globally through Aston Martin’s 125 strong dealership network. Pricing will be confirmed at the Frankfurt Show.

Aston Martin Rapide: Specification

Body

Four door body style with 4 individual seats.
Extruded bonded aluminium VH body structure
Aluminium, magnesium alloy and composite body
Extruded aluminium door side impact beams
Single bi-xenon headlamps with integrated LED side lights and direction indicators
LED rear lamps and side repeaters

Engine

All alloy quad overhead cam 48 valve 5935cc V12
Front mid-mounted engine, rear-wheel drive
Fully catalysed stainless steel exhaust system with active bypass valves
Compression ratio 10.9:1

Max Power 350 kW (470 bhp / 477 PS) at 6000 rpm
Max Torque 600 Nm (443 lb ft) at 5000 rpm
Acceleration 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds; 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 5.3 seconds
Max Speed 188 mph (303 km/h) (predicted)

Transmission

Rear mid-mounted ‘Touchtronic 2′ six-speed gearbox with electronic shift-by-wire control system
Alloy torque tube with carbon fibre propeller shaft
Limited slip differential
Final Drive Ratio 3.46:1

Steering

Rack and pinion, Servotronic speed-sensitive power-assisted steering, 3.0 turns lock-to-lock
Column tilt and reach adjustment.

Wheels & tyres

20” alloy wheels
Front Bridgestone Potenza 245/40 R20
Rear Bridgestone Potenza 295/35 R20

Suspension

Front Independent double wishbone incorporating anti-dive geometry, coil springs, anti-roll bar and monotube adaptive dampers
Rear Independent double wishbones with anti- squat and anti-lift geometry, coil springs, anti-roll bar and monotube adaptive dampers
Adaptive Damping System (ADS)

Brakes

Front Dual cast brake discs 390mm diameter with six piston calipers
Rear Dual cast brake discs 360mm diameter with four piston calipers
Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)
Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
Traction Control
Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA)
Positive Torque Control (PTC)
Electronic Park Brake (EPB)

Dimensions

Length 5019 mm (197.6”)
Width (including mirrors) 2140 mm (84.3”)
Height 1360 mm (53.5”)
Fuel Capacity 90.5 litres
Kerb Weight 1950 kg (target) (4299 lb)

Interior

Full grain leather interior
Walnut facia trim
Iridium Silver centre console outer finish and Graphite inner finish
Auto-dimming interior rear-view mirror
Auto-dimming interior rear-view mirror with garage door opener (USA and Canada only)1
Electrically operated front seats
Memory front seats and exterior mirrors (three positions)
Dual stage driver and passenger front airbags
Front occupant side airbags
Head protection airbags for front and rear occupants
Heated front and rear seats
Heated rear screen
Automatic front and rear temperature control
Organic Electroluminescent (OEL) displays
LED map lamps and ambient lighting
Trip computer
Cruise control
Hard Disk Drive (HDD) satellite navigation system1,2
Bluetooth telephone preparation1
Satellite radio system (USA only)
Powerfold exterior mirrors
Front and rear parking sensors
Tyre pressure monitoring1
Alarm and immobiliser
Remote-control central door locking and boot release
Battery conditioner
Tracking device (UK only)3
Boot mounted umbrella

In Car Entertainment

1000 W Bang & Olufsen BeoSound audio system with ICEpower® technology
Integrated Apple iPod® connector4
USB connector with Waveform Audio Format (WAF), Windows Media Player (WMA) and MPEG (MP3) audio file compatibility
3.5 mm auxiliary input socket

Options

Cooled front and rear seats
Twin screen rear seat entertainment system with 6-disc DVD player, auxiliary input, wireless headphones and remote control
Alternative facia trim finishes – Mahogany, Piano Black, Bamboo, Tamo Ash, Birds Eye Maple, Olive Ash Burl, Double Apex Alloy
Matching wood door trim
Colour-keyed steering wheel
Second glass key
Magnum silver rear lamp infills
Delete model badging
Delete protective tape
20” alloy wheels with graphite finish
20” alloy wheels with polished finish
Alternative brake calliper finish – black, red, silver
Personalised sill plaques
Auto dimming interior rear view mirror with garage door opener (Europe only)
Alarm upgrade (volumetric and tilt sensor)
Tracking device1,3
First aid kit
Ashtray and Cigar Lighter

1 Not available in all markets
2 Includes Traffic Messaging Channel (TMC) in Continental Europe
3 Complies with UK Thatcham Category 5 requirements. Excludes subscription. Standard in UK
4 iPod® is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the US and other countries

Aston Martin Rapide: Design

Instantly recognisable as an Aston Martin, the Rapide assumes its extra doors gracefully to visually remain every bit a sporting coupe as its sister models. The four ‘swan wing’ doors open up and out at 12 degrees avoiding scuffs and scratches when parked next to a raised walkway, while serving the dual purpose of allowing easier access to the front and rear cabin. The opening angle of the doors has been increased to 70 degrees to allow easy ingress and egress. Front on, the new polished alloy upper and lower grill adorn the Aston Martin Rapide to give it presence on the road while the new front lights house a single lens bi-xenon headlight with innovative light tube sidelights subtly distinguishing the Rapide to other road users.

Adding to the sense of proportion, Aston Martin Rapide’s low roof line combined with uniquely styled 20” wheels contribute to its sporting stance, and the iconic side strake, housing the side LED indicators is elongated to meet the rear doors. The pillarless side glass helps convey Rapide’s coupe lines. The front and rear window choreography has been designed to permit the absence of a visible B-pillar to unclutter the curve line of the doors from front to back creating a seamless glass to glass window frame. Contributing to Aston Martin Rapide’s interior comfort, the side glass will rise up further into the window seal when the car is driven at speed cancelling out wind noise and the glass is laminated to improve noise insulation.

Both rear passengers are treated to their own individual heating and air conditioning operated independently from the front system. Controlled by a singular rotary dial in front of a digital display, two directional air vents channel air to the upper body serving to heat or cool occupants quickly and effectively while air is also channelled separately to the foot wells. The rear heating and air conditioning can also be controlled via the rotary dial located between the front seats giving the driver full control.

Aston Martin engineers chose to integrate an electronic park brake into Aston Martin Rapide saving space to the side of the seat and creating an uncluttered centre console. A revised Bluetooth™ microphone is located above the driver’s head improving sound pick-up from the driver’s voice to give crystal clear conversations.

The long swooping front centre console continues all the way through to the rear seamlessly linking the front environment to the rear, thus creating a sense of involvement for the rear passengers. Large storage binnacles set between both the front and rear seats provide ample space to store CDs, games and keep valuables from view.

Protecting passengers in the event of an accident, a total of eight airbags are strategically located throughout the cabin giving peace of mind to all passengers in all driving conditions. Restraint sensors around the vehicle help Rapide decide not only which airbag to deploy but also how aggressively depending on the severity of impact. Seatbelt pretensioners are fitted to both front and rear seats and rear passengers are protected with individual head protection airbags ensuring that Aston Martin Rapide is one of the safest sports cars on the road.

Aston Martin Rapide: Performance

Like all Aston Martins, the Rapide has undergone the marque’s strict and rigorous testing programme to ensure the required levels of quality, durability, performance and dynamics are met. Around 50 prototypes were built all designed to be subjected to the very toughest tests. For example, hot weather testing took place in Death Valley , USA and Kuwait , Middle East exposing the car to temperatures in excess of 50 degrees Celsius, while cold weather assessments in Sweden and in a cold testing chamber saw prototypes subjected to –40 degrees Celsius. High speed testing was conducted at the famous Nardo proving ground in Italy , while dynamics were honed at the Nürburgring, Germany where prototypes were relentlessly run for 8,000 km on the Nordschleife to test all components pushing them to the very limits.

The Aston Martin Rapide is a sports car – a thoroughbred which can be enjoyed by four people in unison. Aston Martin engineers have spent thousands of hours tuning suspension, throttle maps, tyres, brakes and steering to create a car that, while practical, also provides a dynamically engaging drive. Despite the extra versatility, the low roof line, and therefore low centre of gravity, makes Aston Martin Rapide feel like an agile coupe.

“Aston Martin Rapide is about the journey, and we always intended to combine the ethos of the DB9 and package it for up to four people in comfort but preserve the excitement of driving an Aston Martin sports car.” The front mid-mounted 6.0 litre V12 engine which sits at the heart of Aston Martin Rapide produces 470 bhp (477 PS / 350 kW) with peak power being delivered at 6000 rpm and 600 Nm (443 lbft) and peak torque at 5000 rpm. The resultant 0-60 mph time is 5.1 seconds (0-100 km/h: 5.3 seconds). The engine designed and developed by Aston Martin engineers at Gaydon , England is hand built in a dedicated facility in Köln , Germany .

The use of lightweight materials has resulted in the Rapide’s projected weight gaining only 190 kg over its DB9 sibling delivering a target kerb weight of 1950 kg. This figure is achieved through the use of Aston Martin’s Vertical / Horizontal (V/H) architecture – a platform technology derived from the aerospace industry employing aluminium which is bonded rather than welded to create a lightweight and ultra-stiff chassis. Despite the Aston Martin Rapide being 290 mm longer than DB9, it was a key objective to maximise the structural rigidity accounting for the increased length in wheelbase. The Rapide’s structure would require 28,000 Nm of force to be twisted through 1 degree. This torsional rigidity is a key element in delivering the excellent dynamic feel by optimising wheel to road contact and minimising vehicle shake and vibration.

Aside from the front doors and bonnet, all of Aston Martin Rapide’s body panels are new. The front wings are formed from composite while all four doors and roof are pressed aluminium and the rear quarter panels are steel.

The standard six-speed Touchtronic 2 automatic transmission has been calibrated to ensure that the additional weight of Rapide has had a minimal impact on fuel economy, emissions and performance.

The system also includes a ‘Sport’ mode – activated by a button on the centre console – which engages a more aggressive gear shift strategy as gear changes feel sharper and more forceful, engine speed matching on downshifts is more aggressive and in full automatic mode, upshifts occur at higher speeds.

A new saddle-design fuel tank has been integrated to hold 90.5 litres enabling Aston Martin Rapide to deliver a range of over 300 miles without reducing the car’s sporting dynamics and serves the dual purpose of a flat loading space in the luggage compartment.

 

Porsche Panamera

 

First, it is a “real” Porsche, and second, it’s a real success, too. Not only has the Panamera been a critical success but also it has proven itself a sales success. We think these accolades are well founded, as we rank the 2011 Porsche Panamera very highly among luxury sedans.

Our adoration begins with the Panamera’s broad appeal, because this four-door Porsche truly can be everything to everybody. First, the Panamera can accommodate four full-sized adults with exceptional comfort, as its interior space, materials and design give passengers the feeling that they’re traveling in a private jet rather than touring the interstate.

Second, the Panamera delivers astounding levels of performance for driving enthusiasts. Acceleration from the V8-powered Panamera is impressive, while the performance of the Turbo model is downright shocking. The car’s handling limits are also surprising, as it corners like a much smaller sports car. Even the ride quality doesn’t suffer, as this athletic sedan can insulate its occupants from the travails of the outside world just like a fine luxury car.

Porsche hasn’t taken time off to enjoy the fruits of the Panamera’s success, as new models of the sedan debut for 2011. The V6-powered Panamera and Panamera 4 optimize fuel efficiency, and in fact these two cars not only increase EPA-estimated fuel economy but also are exempt from the federal gas-guzzler tax. So while these Panamera V6 models share many of the interior components of the Panamera V8 models, the savings over the V8 models on the price tag amount to more than $15,000.

Perfection is an illusion, however, and the big Porsche does have a few marks against it. The Panamera only seats four, while its competition — the BMW 750Li, Maserati Quattroporte or Mercedes-Benz S-Class — can seat five. Also, the price skyrockets as buyers add options. But these faults do little to tarnish the Panamera’s impressive shine.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Porsche Panamera is a four-passenger, four-door hatchback that is offered in five trim levels that each corresponds to a drivetrain choice. The base rear-wheel-drive Panamera is powered by a V6 and includes 18-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, rear parking sensors, a sunroof, a power rear hatch, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, eight-way power front seats, driver memory functions, a cooled glovebox, heated front seats, leather upholstery, a 60/40-split rear seatback and rear bucket seats. Also standard are a hard-drive-based navigation system and an 11-speaker CD audio system. The Panamera 4 differs only in that it has all-wheel drive.

The V8-powered Panamera S and all-wheel-drive 4S are appointed similarly to the V6 models.

The Panamera Turbo adds a turbocharged V8, 19-inch wheels, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, adaptive air suspension with load-leveling and adjustable ride height, front parking sensors, keyless ignition/entry, 14-way power front seats and adjustable lumbar support, expanded driver memory functions, a power-adjustable steering column, heated rear seats, a full leather interior, a microfiber suede headliner and a 14-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system.

In typical Porsche tradition, a very lengthy and expensive list of options allows buyers to easily customize the cars. For example, other than its engine, all of the Turbo’s extra features are available on the S and 4S.

Other options include ceramic-composite brakes, variable-assist power steering, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (adaptive antiroll bars and a limited-slip rear differential), 20-inch wheels, a rear wiper, ventilated front and rear seats, eight-way power rear seats (switches seat-folding to 40/20/40), adaptive sport front seats that include adjustable side bolsters, “ruffled” leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, four-zone climate control, rear sunshades, rear ambient lighting, a rear-seat refrigerator, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, voice control, a rear-seat entertainment system, satellite radio, an iPod interface, a six-disc CD/DVD changer and a 16-speaker Burmester surround-sound audio system.

The Sport Chrono Package Plus adds analog and digital stopwatches and adjustable engine and suspension settings. The Sport Design package dresses up the Panamera’s exterior with a special front fascia with wider intake grilles and side skirts. There are also countless ways to customize practically every interior surface with different shades of leather, wood, metal, carbon fiber and paint.

Powertrains and Performance

The Porsche Panamera and Panamera 4 are powered by a front-mounted 3.6-liter V6 that produces 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The Porsche Panamera S and 4S receive a 4.8-liter V8 good for 400 hp and 369 pound-feet of torque. The Panamera Turbo gets a twin-turbocharged version of the same V8 for a grand total of 500 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. An optional Panamera Turbo Kit adds titanium alloy turbines and engine management tweaks, boosting the Panamera Turbo’s output to 540 hp and 590 lb-ft.

Every Panamera is equipped with a ZF-engineered seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission, a device known as the Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK). The Panamera and Panamera S offer rear-wheel drive, while the Panamera 4, 4S and Turbo are equipped with all-wheel drive.

In recent testing by Edmunds, the Panamera 4S impressed us with an acceleration run from a standstill to 60 mph in only 4.6 seconds. The Panamera Turbo had us positively awestruck, as it needed only 3.7 seconds to reach the same speed. We were equally surprised by the Panamera 4S’s handling prowess at our test track, where it produced a slalom run at 68.4 mph and circled the skid pad with 0.96g of cornering grip. The Turbo turned in a 70.2 mph slalom run and registered 0.92g on the skid pad.

Fuel economy is likely not a primary concern to buyers in this market segment, but one notable item in the Panamera’s list of features is an auto start/stop feature (something normally associated only with hybrid vehicles) that reduces fuel consumption by shutting off the engine whenever the car comes to a stop and then restarting it automatically when you’re ready to go again. The EPA estimates fuel consumption at 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined for the base Panamera, while the Panamera 4 makes 18 mpg city/26 highway. The Panamera S and 4S are both rated at 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway, while the Panamera Turbo achieves only 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway.

Safety

Every 2011 Porsche Panamera comes standard with antilock brakes (with brake assist), stability and traction control, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. Ceramic-composite brakes and a rearview camera are optional. With the standard brakes, both the Panamera 4S and Turbo models stopped from 60 mph in incredibly short distances: 109 feet and 111 feet, respectively.

Interior Design and Special Features

From the driver seat, there’s no mistaking the Panamera’s interior for anything but a Porsche, because styling cues from the Porsche 911 echo throughout the cabin. The tachometer is centered in the instrument cluster and flanked by the speedometer, a multifunction display and supporting gauges.

The Panamera lacks a centralized control system like BMW’s iDrive, and as a result, there are more than 80 buttons and knobs littering the cockpit. Fortunately, these buttons are logically grouped and placed, and after time, operation becomes intuitive. Some might even find the multitude of controls preferred to shuffling through onscreen menus.

All four seats are similar in appearance and comfort. These well-formed seats provide excellent levels of support when cornering as well as plenty of comfort to enable long-distance touring. The rear quarters afford enough room for even taller adults, and the seats can be fitted with options to make them not just power-adjustable but also heated and cooled. The trunk can hold an impressive 15.7 cubic feet (15.2 cubic feet with the Turbo) and 44.6 cubes with the rear seats folded flat. The hatch opening is a bit narrow and the cargo bed is high, complicating the loading of bulkier items.

Driving Impressions

The 2011 Porsche Panamera is an accomplished, luxurious grand touring car as well as an engaging, highly capable high-performance car. Drivers can select several driving modes to fit their particular preferences. In Normal mode, the Panamera feels as soft and leisurely as any European flagship sedan. Engaging full Sport mode — depending on options and trim level — sharpens nearly every aspect of the driving dynamics, including throttle response, suspension firmness and ride height.

The V8-powered Panamera is capable of incredible performance. Steering is precise and handling is comparable to much smaller sports cars. Power can be served up with muscle-car wallops or in measured increments. The PDK transmission fires off gearchanges with urgency when pedaling the accelerator hard, or with fluid transitions when cruising leisurely down the highway. Yes, the Porsche Panamera does truly deliver the best of both worlds: sports car and sedan.

 

About The Author

Mechanical Engineer, admin of lebanonoffRoad.com . Experienced offroad and drifting driver. interested in: Rally, Rally raid (Paris-Dakar), internal combustion engines, 4x4 modifications, mechanical design.

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