Aston Martin Rapide: PH Used Buying Guide

The Rapide should have been the car that took Aston Martin to a wider audience and considerably higher sales. It wasnโ€™t to be, though, as the Rapide launched just as a global recession gripped and it didnโ€™t help that many potential buyers found the Porsche Panamera, Maserati Quattroporte and Bentley Mulsanne more practical.

Yet the Rapide was a good car straight out of the blocks. Originally built by Magna Steyr in Austria, the four-door was made to a very high standard and suffered none of the teething troubles that had blighted the DB9. Reliability was, and is, strong, to make the Rapide a good choice for the long distance driving it was designed for.

Variable damping offered normal and firmer settings, alongside a Sport button for the six-speed automatic transmission. In its default standard setup, the Aston could deal with poor road surfaces very well while still providing good body control to make it engaging to drive. Excellent steering and ideal weight distribution thanks to the transaxle gearbox were big plusses, with only some road noise letting the side down. With the transmission and suspension in sportier modes, the Rapide delivered a more focused drive that edged it very close to its DBS coupe sister.

In 2011, Aston Martin moved Rapide production back to Gaydon from Austria as it had spare capacity in the UK factory, so it made sense to reduce costs from outsourcing build to Magna Steyr. Then, in 2014, the Rapide S succeeded the earlier car with a new eight-speed transmission and power increased to 560hp. That knocked half a second from the 0-62mph time, so it now needed only 4.2 seconds, while top speed went from 190mph to 203mph. There was also a small benefit to fuel economy and CO2 emissions.

New rear suspension bushes further improved the handling of Astonโ€™s four-door hatch, but sales have always been a trickle rather than the hoped-for torrent. While several rivals offer more rear seat space and larger boots, the Rapide can accommodate two adults in the back and the individual chairs fold forwards to leave a long though shallow load space.

As a minority interest, the Rapide serves up an opportunity for used buyers as prices are now down to ยฃ45,000 for an early car with around 40,000 miles. Seek out the S and youโ€™ll pay from ยฃ60,000, which has to be one of the most affordable ways to hit 200mph while taking three friends along.

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Buyer's checklist

Bodywork and interior
Britax makes a bespoke child seat to fit the rear chairs of the Rapide to make the most of the available room. It costs ยฃ120 including an Isofix base.

Take a long look at the bodywork, especially the panel edges, as the aluminium can bubble underneath the paint.

A specialist inspection will be needed to check the underside of the Rapide as the protective panels have to be removed to check the condition of the underbody.

Check the rear cabin and boot for damage to trim and leather.

Engine and transmission

The V12 has suffered from oil starvation issues in other Aston models, though there are no reported problems in the Rapide, so just keep an eye on the oil level.

Check for any signs of oil leaking from the cam covers.

Servicing is every 10,000 miles or 12 months. A major service comes at 70,000 miles.

Eight-speed auto replaced the six-speeder in 2014. Recall in 2014 for a chrome-plated transmission switch that reacts with the printed circuit board to cause the gearbox to go into neutral with no warning or driver input.

Recall for a fault Park mode in the gearbox that can let the car roll when parked caused by a communication error between the Engine Control Module and Transmission Control Module.

Suspension and steering

Adaptive dampers can begin to leak and replacing a full set will cost ยฃ4,000. Make sure the car selects each damping mode during a test drive.

Wheels, tyres and brakes

Brakes and tyres get worked harder on the Rapide than a DB9 as the saloon weight 190kg more. The front discs are larger than the DB9โ€™s, with new rotors and pads coming in at ยฃ600 plus fitting.

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Engine: 5,935cc V12
Transmission: Six/eight-speed auto
Power (hp): 477/560@/6,000/6,750rpm
Torque (lb ft): 443/457@5,000/5,500rpm
MPG: 19.0/19.8
CO2: 355/332g/km
Price new: ยฃ140,000/ยฃ147,950
Price now: ยฃ45,000/ยฃ60,000 upwards

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Comments (65) Join the discussion on the forum

  • V41LEY 09 Aug 2018

    Nice at these prices. Looking forward to hearing owners experiences.
    Is one of the photos showing a faulty dash display ?

  • big_peaches 09 Aug 2018

    could just be the LED ( PWM ) being caught mid pulse. a bit like modern car lights in high frame rate videos, they use LEDs with a pulsed supply

  • LaurasOtherHalf 09 Aug 2018

    Occasionally see one of these parked up at work-looks beautiful. If I had the means, I think I quite possibly would.

  • Jonny TVR 09 Aug 2018

    I believe the space in the back is less than a Maserati Granturismo albeit the rapide has 4 doors. You do think sod the kids lets get a proper Aston .. it does look a bit ungainly in the flesh I feel.

  • ruhall 09 Aug 2018

    I thought that the first 'S's still had the 6-speed gearbox?

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