Aston Martin is believed to be testing a more powerful V12 as the highlight of its revised Rapide, due on sale next year

Aston Martin is preparing to launch a significantly revised version of the Rapide next year, and test work with a semi-disguised mule is now under way at the Nürburgring.

It is believed that the revisions will be topped off with a more powerful version of the V12, most likely derived from the 565bhp unit that powers the new Vanquish.

The aim of the current testing is believed to be to ascertain whether the Rapide’s chassis, brakes and cooling system can cope with the extra power and resultant heat of that unit, or whether it will run a slightly detuned alternative.

The positioning of the camouflage on this test car highlights that the main external changes will be focused on the lights and the front and rear bumpers. The revised Rapide is expected to take styling cues from the recently revealed Vanquish, although it is unlikely to adopt that model’s dramatic rear wing arrangement.

When the new-look Rapide is launched, Aston Martin will subtly reposition how it markets the car. Rather than focusing on the four-door’s credentials as a family car, emphasis is expected to be put on its abilities as a sports car that offers extra space.

Sales of the Rapide have so far fallen well below expectations. They were initially projected at 2000 cars a year but have struggled to meet half that number.

In 2011 Aston announced it was ending six years early an eight-year deal for Magna Steyr to build the car in Austria, bringing production back to its Gaydon headquarters.

The Rapide’s strongest market is currently China, where it accounts for about 60 per cent of the firm’s sales.

Our Verdict

Aston Martin Rapide

The Aston Martin Rapide is beautifully styled and brilliantly accomplished

Join the debate


31 July 2012

...the last thing I'd want is three other people with me, yakking away.  A single seater Vantage would do me.

  • If you want to know about a car, read a forum dedicated to it; that's a real 'long term test' . No manufacturer's warranty, no fleet managers servicing deals, no journalist's name to oil the wheels...

2 August 2012

Since there are so few of us that actually own a Rapide and so many of you that find it easy to drive your Gremlin and fault the car, then a single seat car should fit you well.

Mike T

31 July 2012

at the lost sales figures.   Porsche sell that terrible looking car, but one with style doesn't sell?   Ok, I know it's much more expensive!   But that's never really been a huge problem has it?

1 August 2012

"The aim of the current testing is believed to be to ascertain whether the Rapide’s chassis, brakes and cooling system can cope with the extra power and resultant heat of that unit, or whether it will run a slightly detuned alternative."


Let's hope the chassis can cope..otherwise the Aston will, once again, be more mouth than trousers.

1 August 2012

Surprised it sells so little, easily the most elegant 4 door saloon out there.

Would rather have one over a Panamera (or even a Cayenne).

Should they take the fight to the 7/S/A8?

If so, diesel?

1 August 2012

As a looks sceptic, I think with a nice non-DB9 saloon body, it might sell. 

But never in big numbers, this sort of car at this sort of price never does.  There aren't as many silly rich people out there as the world thinks.

1 August 2012

My understanding is that the front end is being modified to meet new pedestrian impact requirements (& that power will go up as noted).  I believe that these changes will go to all V12 cars.

We're currently in the market for a Rapide, debating to wait for a new one or to pick up dealer stock as the revised one gets closer.  I think the positioning change is right - our comparison was between the Aston, a Ferrari 612 (FF too much of a stretch) and the Maserati Granturismo.  The Aston is about the same size as the Ferrari inside but the small rear doors make getting the two small children into their seats much easier.

For me, for the type of GT driving that I'm likely to do with a family aboard, the Aston was the nicest drive.

1 August 2012

Its significantly cheaper, its interior its leaques better, is better to drive, and just as good ( if not better) looking. And the M6 GC is set to arrive soon.

2 August 2012

You are absolutely correct. The Rapide is an exceptional car in every way. The body, the interior are perfect. The nav system is not the best but most phones are better then the cars anyway.

Your kids will love the back seats with the video. 

The other cars you mention are certainly cheaper but there is a reason for that. THEY ARE CHEAPER!

Mike T

2 August 2012

Are you nuts?

No doubt the six series are beautiful cars but they do not come close to the fit and finish of the Rapide. It would seem that you don't own either.

Mike T


Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Land Rover Discovery
    First Drive
    23 May 2018
    Does the Land Rover Discovery – a vehicle designed to put in the hard yards – cut it as an executive company car? We ran it for seven months to find out
  • Aston Martin Vantage 2018 review hero front
    Car review
    23 May 2018
    Aston Martin’s cheapest model takes a big step up into the 21st century
  • Hyundai i30 N
    Standard spec is good so paint colour is our car’s only option
    First Drive
    22 May 2018
    What’s Hyundai’s first hot hatch and N-brand debutant really like? Let’s find out
  • DS 7 Crossback PureTech 225 2018 review hero front
    First Drive
    22 May 2018
    New petrol engine and top-end Ultra Prestige spec help broaden the Crossback's appeal, but do little to help it stand out in a crowded market
  • Audi TT RS Coupé
    First Drive
    22 May 2018
    The Audi TT RS has the looks, a vociferous engine and the supercar-baiting performance, but is it too uncompromising to use as a daily driver?