The Aston Martin Rapide AMR is a four-door luxury car with a screaming, naturally-aspirated V12 engine driving the rear wheels – this is one heavy dose of nostalgia
Say hello to the Aston Martin Rapide AMR. Now you are probably wondering why I am asking you to greet a car that was launched 10 years ago.
Well, the Rapide may be in its senior years, introduced in 2010 as Gaydon’s first four-door car since the Lagonda, but this AMR is also the swansong of the Aston Martin VH aluminium platform. That kind of farewell requires quite a sendoff – Aston Martin has based all its cars since the early 2000s on the VH platform and the best of them favour the classic naturally aspirated V12 engine, a dying breed indeed.
For those who don’t know, AMR stands for Aston Martin Racing. It’s what the GT department is to Porsche or M is to BMW, so straight away it’s fair to expect quite a bit of ruckus. The Rapide AMR comes with the superstar engine from Aston Martin, the 6.0-litre V12 rated at 595 horsepower and 630Nm of torque. Everything goes to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The Rapide AMR does zero to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds in a wake of glorious noise, with the top speed quoted at 330km/h. Considering the fact that this is a four-door family car, the figures venture into supercar territory. Not bad at all for a 10-year-old. At launch the Rapide AMR jumps from the line with a proper kick in the back.
An old-school flavour continues with the analogue driving experience, with steering that communicates with you, firm pedals, and involving handling. When you get the gear changes just right with the paddle shifters, the car shows its appreciation with all the right engine sounds and exhaust pops. Just to hear the atmospheric V12 sing is enough to want this car.
Weighing in at 1,990kg, the big Aston isn’t light, however never at any point does it feel bloaty. With a nostalgic rack and pinion hydraulic steering rack the feel is light, precise, and predictable. There is minimal body roll, and the Rapide AMR just bends to your will. For a car of this size it handles very well without too much electronic interference.
After going through a couple of facelifts through its life the Rapide still looks good today, as modern as ever, especially in AMR guise. With massive 21-inch wheels under the arches it seems to sit even lower to the eye. The AMR package additionally includes a carbon fibre bonnet, front spoiler, side skirts, and rear spoiler. It strikes the perfect balance of aggressiveness and elegance. Around town, people turn around and look, and then after a few steps they turn for another glance. I had a young boy walk along with the car for a good 15 minutes just staring at it. When he reached his destination, he waved goodbye to me. This is what cars like these are designed to do, inspire future car enthusiasts. Aston Martin is doing its bit.
It’s only from the inside that you start seeing the age of this car – the dash is dominated by an outdated infotainment screen, and the key with an actual slot for it seems quaint. This is also the only Aston you can spec with the optional steering wheel from the One-77. In the press model, everything around me is covered in Alcantara with the AMR lime green accents all over. As for the rear seats, they are to be used for short distances only which goes against the Rapide’s case for daily-driving duties.
The Aston Martin Rapide AMR is not a car that comes around often. Priced at around $300,000 it’s also not a car the average buyer is ever going to consider. With the advent of EVs, hybrids, and turbochargers, cars such as these will be remembered and cherished as the last of their kind. Even Aston Martin is abandoning its V12 in favour of a hybrid V6 for future models. This makes the Rapide AMR highly emotional, and with only 210 examples to go around it’s a guaranteed future collectible classic.
Aston Martin Rapide AMR
6.0-litre V12 | eight-speed automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive | 595 horsepower and 630Nm of torque | zero to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 330km/h | AED 1.1 million