Aston Martin Rapide
“It’s not about performance, it’s about where you come from,” proclaims Dr. Ulrich Bez, Aston Martin’s outspoken CEO at the global launch of the Rapide. “It’s about authenticity. The Rapide is the only four-door sports car in the world — the only one that comes from a sports car. Others are made from limousines.” Strong words, and whether or not you believe them, they’re a clarion call to battle. Though Aston Martin is fashionably late to the four-door party, the Rapide is aimed squarely at the likes of the Porsche Panamera, Maserati Quattroporte, and Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG. Just look at the dimensions: While not not quite as long as the 200.7-inch Maserati, Rapide is four inches longer than a CLS. In the Panamera, the Rapide has its closest rival-the Porsche is shorter by 2.8 inches in wheelbase and two inches overall. Yet they couldn’t be farther apart aesthetically. While the nicest thing you might say about the ugly-duckling Panamera is that it has a look all its own (like a 928 in a funhouse mirror), the Rapide needs no euphemisms. It’s an absolute stunner, instantly recognizable as an Aston Martin, yet utterly distinct in the lineup because of its exaggerated length and four doors.