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Aston Martin Rapide is exotic, but practical

May 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Millions of people around the world watched the royal nuptials take place. Just after exchanging vows, Prince William took his new bride, Kate Middleton, for a quick spin in his father's vintage Aston Martin.

Aston goes way back as a builder of handcrafted English cars, like the ones used in James Bond movies.

The Rapide follows in Aston tradition: exclusivity, power and a sumptuous interior that's quite British in style and materials.

Unlike other Astons that came before it, the Rapide has a distinct trait: four doors.

That may sound like blasphemy to those who covet sleek two-door Astons, but the Rapide is meant to expand the carmaker's appeal as something more practical.

The proof that it can work lies in the Porsche Panamera. Many scratched their heads when a four-door Porsche debuted, but so far sales have exceeded expectations. Now it's Aston's turn to show that a four-door can be as exciting and attractive as a two-door.

Gas mileage is pretty bad, but if you can afford a $200,000 car, you're probably not sweating the price of a gallon of premium unleaded.

For those fortunate enough to own an Aston in the past, chances are it was only used for pleasure driving on weekends. But the Rapide, according to the folks at Aston Martin, is practical enough to be used as an everyday car. An expensive and exotic everyday car, that is.

It's a family car, of sorts. It would seem that the Rapide could fit the bill perfectly for Prince William and Middleton: a fancy British car with room in the back for heirs to the throne.