Aston Martin Rapide S hatchback
Aston Martin Rapide S hatchback
- Sports car handling
- Interior feels very special
- Fantastic looks and exclusivity
- High price tag
- Lack of rear legroom
- Running costs
At a glance
"If you need to carry four people in style and at pace, few cars match the momentous talents of the Aston Martin Rapide S, but they come with a huge price tag..."
The Aston Martin Rapide S is a four-door sports saloon car that offers searing performance and a very high quality interior. The Aston Martin Rapide S competes with cars such as the Porsche Panamera and the Maserati Quattroporte, but costs significantly more than both.
From the front the Aston Martin Rapide could well be a two-door Aston coupe – the polished metal grille and long bonnet of the DB9 are both there, but look closer and you’ll see handles for the rear doors that sit flush with the bodywork.
For 2014, performance has been upped slightly thanks to an engine that now produces 552bhp (rather than 550bhp) and the fitting of an eight-speed automatic gearbox, which replaces the old six-speed gearbox.
Luxurious performance is an Aston Martin USP, and it shows in the interior. It may be starting to show its age, but no one can argue with the quality of materials on show.
MPG, running costs & CO2
The Rapide demands a large financial commitment
Sadly, the luxurious Aston Martin does not come cheap and running costs for its huge 6.0-litre V12 engine are high. Fuel economy has improved marginally to 21.3mpg (up from 19.6mpg), but that still falls short of the Porsche Panamera Turbo (27.7mpg) and the Maserati Quattroporte GTS (23.3mpg). Both of which offer similar performance. CO2 emissions of 330g/km won’t offer much rest bite either, and mean you’ll pay £500 annual road tax.
But the single biggest killer when running a Rapide S is depreciation, which means you can expect your £150,000 Aston Martin to be worth just £70,000 after three years/36,000 miles. You can also forget about cheap servicing or easy-to-manage service plans – Aston Martin maintenance is pricy and parts are expensive.
Interior & comfort
The Rapide's four seats are supportive and exquisitely trimmed
For a sporty GT car, the Aston Martin Rapide is very comfortable. It starts by offering an interior that feels very expensive and thus makes the Rapide S a very nice place to sit. Lots of adjustment in the steering wheel and the driver’s seat also makes it simple to get sitting comfortably behind the wheel. For 2014, the Aston Martin is available with a range of new interior colours, including Fandango Pink, and there’s the option to choose contrasting interior colours if you want an even more garish look.
To allow the Rapide to drive like a sports car and offer the luxurious ride of a sports saloon, the Aston Martin comes fitted with adaptive suspension. It deals well with most road surfaces and offers a compliant ride, despite there being almost no body lean in the corners.
Practicality & boot space
The Rapide is a very stylish way to transport four people
The Aston Martin Rapide S is one of the most stylish ways to transport four people on the planet. Space up front is excellent and the interior feels low down and sporty thanks to the car’s high transmission tunnel.
The Rapide gets rear doors that swing up slightly as they open so as not to graze high kerbs. Think of the Rapide as a spacious coupe and you will not be disappointed – its got more space in the back than a 2+2 GT car – but it doesn’t offer much more rear legroom than a supermini. That means it is tighter in the back than the Porsche Panamera and the Maserati Quattroporte.
A 317-litre boot means the Rapide has more storage space than a Ford Focus. The rear seats also fold down for added practicality – revealing an 886-litre capacity.
Reliability & safety
Every part of the Rapide is finished to a very high standard
No Aston Martin featured in our 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, so it is hard to tell how reliable the Rapide will be. Hand-built cars such as Aston Martins tend to suffer from more niggly faults than cars produced in robotised factories. However, playing in the Aston Martin Rapide’s favour is an engine that has been around years and should have had any problems sorted now.
Euro NCAP hasn’t tested the Aston Martin Vanquish for safety so it’s hard to say how it shapes up next to its competitors. Nonetheless, it comes with eight airbags and a strong aluminium structure.
Engines, drive & performance
Smooth, fast and quiet, the Rapide covers long distances with ease
An extra 2bhp might not sound like much, but when combined with the new eight-speed gearbox it means the 2014 Rapide S can get from 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds (down from 4.9 seconds in the old model). The car’s top speed has also risen from 190mph to a highly impressive 203mph.
Aston has worked on the car’s adjustable suspension to create a greater distinction between Normal, Sport and Track modes – so that the former is more comfortable and the latter stiffer for harder cornering. The result is that the Rapide S never feels as though it weighs almost two tonnes and the car’s precise steering makes it easy to position on the road. Aston Martin has also fettled the car’s brakes to make them easier to modulate at town speeds.
Price, value for money & options
Packed with kit, but the Rapide is expensive compared to rivals
There are no clear rivals for the Aston Martin Rapide so, while a Porsche Panamera is cheaper it lacks the handbuilt feel and top-notch materials that you get in the Aston. Meanwhile, the Bentley Flying Spur more or less matches the Aston for price, but can’t match the Rapide’s looks or sports car feel.
A car of this price should come with decent levels of equipment and, in the case of the Rapide S, that includes cruise control, stability control, climate control, rear parking sensors, a Bluetooth phone connection, and sat-nav.
Spending a lot of money on the Rapide S does mean you get a high level of customisation and Aston Martin offers a huge range of wheel designs, paint colours and interior trims to make your Rapide completely unique.
What the others say
On the road, the ride feels firm but is never harsh. Body roll is well controlled, and thanks to those race style front seats, which taper toward the headrest, you get an incredible view of the road ahead.
The V12, alive from 3000rpm, provides a stirring soundtrack; heavy gravelly, glorious – a great companion for the fluent handling and ride combination. The styling? That’s more of a sticking point. It’s rather long in the flank thanks to the extra 250mm added to the wheelbase and imply doesn’t have the visual balance of Aston’s coupes.