- 2010 Aston Martin Rapide a far cry from original four-door attempt
- Imaginative 1980s Lagonda = wierd science
- Rapide better blend of Aston heritage with extended platform function
By Gunnar Heinrich | IMG Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd
SPEAKING of German cars in the 80s, time in its kind haze tricks us into the belief that Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW could do no wrong in that Go-Go decade.
It was a lean era of rightness and tightness, maximum attitude with just the right amount of – everything. Engineering connected driver to car in a way that technology has since displaced.
British cars did not share in that golden era. In fact, the 80s were a despicable time for marques like Jaguar (XJS-C) and Aston Martin (Lagonda).
These were the dying days of British Leyland, union strikes, dismal quality control, financial woes, and nonsensical forays into technologies too advanced to be safely implemented – touch panel shifting, anyone?
Perhaps that’s why – these two decades on – Aston Martin is now enjoying its own seminal period of perfection. Where ze Germans have taken their eye off their A-game and given into pork and brand extension, Aston has – except for the wrongful Toyota city car gamble – kept focus.
Granted, product can always be improved and the V8 Vantage on up to the One-77 are no exceptions.
But, all things being right as rain, Dr. Bez & Co. now peddle the world’s most beautiful cars; the 2010 Rapide “four door sports car” included.
The last time Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd built a low-slung, ahead-of-its time four door, it was walloped by the dual curse of poor sales and core-client backlash.
Add salt to this wound: the old Lagonda was starkly different from other Astons of its day.
Aside from being a severe 80s geometric interpretation of what the future held for cars, the Lagondas were overpriced and overstuffed with hardware that failed often and expensively. What made Aston “Aston” seemed cast aside in favor of the starkly modern.
Creative, though it was, the Lagonda belly flopped.
Fast forward and in contrast the Rapide’s entrance onto the world stage (officially) at Frankfurt and previously in concept in 2006 at Detroit has been met with almost universal praise for hitting the mark.
Credit for this initial success belongs to the Rapide’s smart inclusion of Aston heritage and a carefully weighted, but not stilted balance of future elements that will compromise the 2+2+hatch luxe coupé segment which the 2010 Rapide and the Porsche Panamera inhabit.
With first deliveries set for early next year, we’ll wait to see whether quality and performance meet early praise and truly cap Aston’s current golden era.
By Gunnar Heinrich | IMG Paul Goodman
PORSCHE makes four doors? Yes, Paul.
Paul is a good friend and a frequent ADL reader. Well, not frequent enough if we’re honest (joke!) A couple of Panameras (pictured) with “distributor plates” caught our man’s keen eye near that airport where the blue demon horse rears menacingly at travelers (Denver). They’re heeeerrre.
By Gunnar Heinrich
YOU’VE doubtless seen the pictures of the 2010 Porsche Panamera, S, 4S, and Turbo and have likely read the chatter about how the new Porsche joins a suddenly crowded niche of four door coupes. What you likely haven’t focused on is that the Panamera is filling a real niche; better, scratching an itch that’s gone un-scratched for nigh on two decades.
By Gunnar Heinrich
PORSCHE has been playing hard to get by releasing info bits at a time re: the 2010 Panamera saloon. The sports car co. has faced hot criticism for putting another wheel onto that slippery slope to vanilla valley. Some have even said that the Panamera’s exterior looks like a frog (okay that’s me) AND yet these just released interior jpegs may just hush us critics a li’l…