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

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Les Abend (right)

Tom Casey and Les Abend

Pete Frey – airline pilot
What he drives:  A 2012 Chevy Avalanche.
What he flies: A Boeing 777.
His review:  Great ratio of thrust to weight.

“It is certainly a nice car to drive. I like how it handled. I like how it turned. It sticks to the road. The funny thing about the car, it will hold 1 and a quarter Gs or something similar to that at 60 miles per hour. So to do that you have to have down force, aerodynamic down force, so you’re using that to actually get greater than natural gravity. In an airplane you use your wings to create acceleration up. This car uses aerodynamics to create acceleration down so you get better control. So it is similar to flying because it utilizes aerodynamics to make it handle better.”

“I think pilots appreciate power. They understand the ratio of power and how important it is to acceleration and thrust and so they can appreciate when you’ve got that much leftover thrust compared to the weight of the car. Airliners? Not so much.”

Andrew Mall – private pilot
What he drives: 2012 Jeep Wrangler.
What he flies: Cessna 172.
His review: In all ways better than his airplane.

“There was nothing wrong with that car. I think the car is smoother than my airplane. Sometimes in the airplane it is a little bumpy and jerky, but that car was really smooth. It had suspension you could adjust. It was very comfortable.  My airplane is tight inside but the Aston Martin seats are much nicer than [in] my airplane. But you have that tight kind of feel to it so you feel you are in a cockpit.

My Jeep is not very fast and my plane is not very fast. The thing I liked the best about the car was the gas pedal. You know that car, it has 550 horsepower. It is nice to get on that.”

Rory Kay – airline pilot
What he drives:  A 2013 Audi Q5.
What he flies: Boeing 757/767.
His review:  Exciting predictability.

“The car has a tightness about it that I have likened to flying a jet. You feel  the seat and that particularly makes you feel like you are part of the car and that is what a decent jet will do as well – you strap on to it like you are part of the machine. The handling of this car is exciting and it is predictable.”

“It is always a lot of fun when you open the throttles at the end of the runway. It is very thrilling to just go hammering down the runway. I like jets that are well-designed and well thought out and I would liken this car to a well-designed jet.

I’ve flown all my life and for all the irritations that go with being an airline pilot, I still like actually flying the plane, once you get into the cockpit and close the door.  Getting in and closing the door on that Aston Martin was like saying ‘This is my little world and I’m excited to be in it.’”

Read a behind-the-scenes look at the Aston Martin Rapide S drive.

(Photos: Ellie Kay and Christine Negroni)

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