Aston Martin Rapide review
Stunning five-door Aston Martin Rapide mixes jaw dropping looks with hatchback practicality, but it comes at a price
The Aston Martin Rapide is a five-door supercar that combines the scintillating V12 performance and soundtrack of the firm's coupé models with an pair of extra seats and a sensible boot. In short, its the ultimate family car. With enough space for a pair of adults to squeeze into the back, the Rapide is that rare thing; an Aston Martin than can be genuinely described as practical. It even looks like a proper Aston Martin, with styling that will leave onlookers speechless as you drive past. It's a supercar in every sense of the word.
Our choice: 6.0 Sportshift
Nothing stops traffic like an Aston Martin Rapide. The trademark nose is lifted wholesale from one of the firm's sporty coupés but its long body means it won't be mistaken for anything else. Open those rear doors and it looks even more distinctive as they hinge upwards and outwards to avoid unintended scrapes with the kerb. Inside it's the same story, with traditional Aston Martin features including distinctive instrument dial, a huge centre console and lashings of wood and leather trim.
The Aston Martin lives up to its name and goes as fast as it looks. Its epic V12 engine produces 470bhp, which is enough to power the Rapide from 0-60mph in five seconds and to a top speed of 183mph. The Touch Tronic six-speed automatic gearbox isn't the last word in sophistication, and it's neither as fast nor involving as the latest twin-clutch systems, but it suits the car's character and takes the stress out of town driving. Away from gridlocked streets the Rapide feels surprisingly nimble for such a big machine, but the firm suspension takes the edge off comfort and results in lots of tyre noise over rough tarmac and concrete surfaces. That's the price you pay for such sporty handling.
Unsurprisingly the experts at Euro NCAP haven't driven a Rapide into a wall, but you get the usual array of safety kit including front, side and curtain airbags. Traction control and electronic stability control also come as standard. Aston Martin's V12 engine is tried and tested so should pose few reliability worries and revisions in 2011 also introduced a more up to date sat nav system.
Now you're talking. By mainstream hatchback standards rear space is tight and the 317-litre boot is pretty modest but for a car with this much style, performance and brand cachet the Rapide is on another level. Rivals are few and far between, although the cheaper Porsche Panamera provides limousine levels of rear legroom. The back seats of the Rapide have more in common with a supermini, but the Aston compares well with most 2+2 coupés and the exquisitely tailored rear seats fold forwards to improve luggage space if you go mad in the Harrods sale. Top of the range Luxe models feature rear entertainment screens and a six-piece leather luggage set.
Not a Rapide strong point, it's fair to say. Drive the Aston Martin as its maker intends and you can expect to see single-figure fuel consumption from the thirsty V12 engine. On longer journeys, gentle driving will yield returns of up to 20mpg if you're careful. Expect steep running costs as CO2 emissions of 355g/km guarantee hefty bills for road tax, maintenance won't be cheap and depreciation is likely to be extremely costly. In short, if you have to ask how much the Rapide will cost to run, you probably can't afford one.