Aston Martin Rapide (2010-2021)

Models Covered:

5-door GT [6.0 V12]


In the way that it drives as well as in the way that it looks, the four-door, four-seat Rapide, launched in 2010, set a new benchmark for Aston Martin. Hand built, luxuriously appointed and very pretty, it was desirable, expensive and very fast. Wherever you take it, more style per hour is guaranteed.

The History

What exactly, might the world’s most elegant four-door sportscar be like? Design it in your mind. Or perhaps you’ll allow us. A supercar badge, a storming V12 engine, pin-point handling and the sleekest possible shape that could disguise comfortable rear space for two and a decent boot. The car we’ve described is this one, Aston Martin’s Rapide, launched in 2010 and the first four-door from this British brand since the Lagonda of the mid-1970s.

That car went out of production in 1989, but Aston never gave up thinking about a replacement. Eventually, at the Detroit Auto Show in 2006, we saw the beginnings of one, the Rapide Concept, nominally a four-seater, in reality little more than a stretched coupe. More work was needed, four more years of it in fact, before the designers were able to release the Rapide we got four years later. It was still hardly a limo, but was probably as sensible as any Aston Martin is ever likely to get.

As the company itself always pointed out, this was a sportscar first and foremost, with the added bonus of two extra doors. A claim we’ve heard before from cars like Porsche’s Panamera and Maserati’s Quattroporte. But cars not good enough for typical Rapide buyers with the kind of exclusive budget they’d normally invest in a Bentley. You already know from just glancing at this car that it’s desirable. But will it work as a used buy? Time to see.

Initial Rapide models were built for Aston by Magna Steyr in Austria but in 2011, the company moved production back to Gaydon to reduce costs. The car sold in standard form until 2013, then evolved into Rapid S form with 81PS more and improved Touchtronic III transmission in late-2013. Special editions were launched in 2016 and 2019 and production finished in 2021.

What You Get

The Rapide is breathtakingly elegant in a way that you’d think would be impossible were it to be practical in any meaningful way. To keep those flowing lines in proportion, designer Marek Reichmann had to keep the rear doors on the small side, but in compensation, they are undoubtedly rather clever, with a ‘swan wing’ design that uses scissor hinges that enable them to open up and out at 12 degrees as well as outwards to an opening angle of 70 degrees, the whole process designed to protect the nine coats of paint applied to the Rapide’s metalwork from high kerbs or verges. And of course to aid more dignified entry and exit, though ladies with skirts above the knee may find that to be rather a challenge.

You do, after all have to negotiate a high, wide sill if you’re to make it to one of the individually-sculpted sports seats which are separated by a wide centre console. Once you get there, despite an overall vehicle length of over five metres and a width of nearly two metres, it’s all very snug – too snug probably if you’re over six foot tall and sitting behind a front seat occupant of similar size.

Move to the front and everything is beautifully finished, from the metallic contra-rotating dial pack to the soft mood lighting and you’ve the familiar Aston mix of soft English leather and cool metal switches. Out back, it’s a little surprising to find a hatchback rather than a boot, but provision of a fifth door is certainly a welcome extra aid to practicality, with 301-litres on offer and a pop-up bulkhead boot divider to help secure luggage.

What To Look For

You don’t expect a hand-crafted car of this kind to be faultless as it ages – and the Rapide very definitely isn’t. If you want something closer to perfection in this segment, buy something German.

Based on our ownership survey, here’s some things to look out for when perusing used examples.

Check the bodywork carefully, particularly the panel edges as the aluminium can bubble underneath the paint finish. It’s worth getting a specialist inspection of the underside of the car as the protective panels fitted have to be taken off to check the condition of the underbody. Make sure you inspect the boot and the rear cabin carefully for damage to the trim and the leather. Britax makes a bespoke child seat that fits into the rear of a Rapide - it costs £120, including an ISOFIX fixed base. Servicing is every 10,000 miles or every year, whichever comes first, and a major service is due at 70,000 miles.

On The Road

To start, you press the big ‘D’ button on the dash – all Rapides being 6-speed automatics – then momentarily deliberate over the delicious decision as to whether to simply burble away into the traffic or allow the formidable firepower to pick you up and hurl the car at the horizon like a javelin. A 477PS output promises this car to be Rapide in nature as well as in name, while giving the throttle a prolonged stomping will see you reach 188mph before too long. With some nimble use of the magnesium alloy paddle shifters that control the Touchtronic 2 automatic gearbox, 60mph arrives in just 5.0s and 100mph just over five seconds later to the accompaniment of that fabulous soundtrack, enough to leave the uninitiated feeling as if they’re trapped in a mahogany wardrobe in a thunderstorm. If you want to go faster, get yourself the Rapide S model (produced from late-2013) which benefitted from an uprated Touchtronic III auto gearbox.


When it all comes down to it, the Rapide turns out to be basically how you imagine a four-door Aston might be. Thunderous V12, hand crafted cabin, elegant but sporting looks. It was a sports car with space for the family, rather than an attempt to muscle in on the luxury saloon market and as such, it’s very desirable indeed.