Aston Martin Rapide S: Pilots Put James Bond Car to the Test

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P1120112Aston Martin’s brand ambassador Terence Jenkins, stepped from the car, looking every inch the picture of James Bond. This was the movie spy’s car after all. The car was beautiful, too. Jenkins handed me the key and off we went to Danbury.

As I sped along the highway, I was certain this event would be illuminating. I hoped it would be fun. But if anybody smashed the car, it would be very, very expensive. So with a heartfelt plea that all my carefully selected pilots drive carefully, the test drives began.

Though their experiences differed, there were some consistent themes among the 6 men and two women who drove that day. Most said the sports car provided the same thrills as flying and praised it for its handling, acceleration, seat-feel and use of aerodynamics to keep the car firmly on the ground. In their comments to me, several used the word “flying” rather than “driving” in talking about the experience. Freudian slip or car manufacturer’s dream-come-true, you be the judge. But don’t think the Aston Martin wings logo flew past these drivers without being noticed.

Sally Pezza – Corporate pilot, flight instructor
What she drives: A 2008 Subaru Outback Station wagon for everyday and a Honda S2000 convertible.
What she flies: a 1965 S model Bonanza for fun and a Cessna Citation Sovereign for work.
Her review: Performance that is both fantastic and forgiving.

“My 1965 S model Bonanza is a real sweet machine.  She goes fast but she’s a slippery little devil and she’ll kill you. Flying the Aston Martin is like flying the jet because the Citation Sovereign is a really easy jet to fly and flying the Aston Martin is a really easy car to drive. It will forgive you. It has performance to get you out of your own mistakes and it’s a fantastic machine.”

Mike Bowers – airline pilot, former military fighter jet pilot
What he drives: A Lexus SUV, a Hyundai Sonata, a 1967 GT 2+2 Mustang and a CRX 9 Mazda.
What he flies: Boeing 757/767/777.
His review:  Fighter jet-like acceleration.

“When I first started driving, I was handling it very gingerly. In some ways I was afraid it would get ahead of me so I wasn’t driving very aggressively. But then once I started getting comfortable with it, I pushed the throttle to the floor, the only thing I ever felt that had faster acceleration was a catapult shot off an aircraft carrier. ”

“The feeling of the seat and the tightness of the cockpit reminded me so much of flying the F14 Tomcat. ”

“Planes like airliners, I sit in those. But when I flew military planes I felt like I strapped those on.  They were part of me. I haven’t had that feeling since I gave up flying military jets. In the car, I felt I strapped on the car; that the car was an extension of me that it would do whatever I wanted it to do.”

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