Used Aston Martin Rapide
A history lesson…
You could be forgiven for thinking that those lucky enough to be able to own an Aston Martin could want for nothing more when it comes to luxury motoring. But you'd be wrong. One thing they could definitely want more of is doors. Not every Aston owner is foot loose and fancy free and some even have those little fellows called children. Back in the seventies, Aston Martin solved this problem with the Lagonda. Now they solve it a whole lot more successfully with their first four door car since then, the Rapide. The Rapide combines all of those things you expect from an Aston Martin, such as performance, luxury and beauty, with a couple of things you don't: room for four adults and a serviceable boot. Now who could ask for more?
Bang for your buck
The Rapide is first and foremost a sports car with Aston's familiar 6 litre V12 power unit under the bonnet. Climbing into the cockpit, it is all pure DB9, from the competition style instruments to the glorious little aluminium block which passes for a key. Being a sports car rather than a stodgy luxury saloon, the 470 bhp engine will take you from start to sixty in five seconds and on to 100mph five seconds after that. The top speed, should you ever be anywhere it is legal or even possible, is 188 mph. The Rapide has all of the usual Aston Martin refinements, including hand-stitched British leather, walnut panelling and Iridium Silver detailing. There is individual air conditioning for each of four passengers, who are ensconced in their own cockpit with sports seating and a very Aston Martin environment.
What you'll pay
A 2010 model with 20,000 miles on the clock can be had for around £80,000 rising to £105,000 for a 2012 example which has barely turned a wheel.
What to check
The Aston Martin Rapide was released in the UK in 2010, so these cars are still youthful and problems rare. It is based on the DB9 of course and they have had reported issues with the satellite navigation system, so perhaps have that checked out. Other than this, it's probably best to look at what the warranty cover is on the car.
We are in the rarefied atmosphere of proper supercars here, so maintenance is never going to be cheap. If you're comparing parts prices then perhaps this isn't the car for you. As an indication however, a reconditioned starter motor for the DB9 engine is around £200. Enough said.
How it drives
Aston Martin is very keen that you understand that this is a sporting supercar, which happens to have four doors, rather than a luxury saloon. The performance figures back that up. A 0-60 time of just five seconds is epic on a four door car but this is an epic car. And it's not all about super quick performance. Throw the Rapide into a corner and you'll find it is responsive and almost perfectly balanced, with that big V12 engine pushed back under the bonnet to give almost perfect front to rear weight distribution. The rear wheel drive continues Aston Martin's tradition and maintains the sports car feel. The adaptive suspension system meanwhile, senses your mood and relaxes the settings as you ease off on the throttle, giving a fair impression of a big grand tourer. Push down on the peddle though and everything tightens up and suddenly you are behind the wheel of a stripped down sports supercar again.
For the brave, there's the DSC button which when pushed will adapt these settings to track mode, letting that gorgeous rear end slip and slide a little on the corners. Steering is taut and responsive and the car feels planted firmly on the road with bags of grip from the fat 20" bespoke tyres. There was always the danger in a car like this that the addition of all that extra space and added utility could end up being a compromise which suits no-one. Too small and sporty to be a true luxury saloon and not focused enough for Aston Martin traditionalists, it might never have found its market. Instead the Aston Martin Rapide feels like a true supercar that has just grown up a bit.