Looking for a nice European sports sedan with decent performance, upscale features and a comfortable interior? Rear-seat space isn’t a priority?
Perhaps skip the default Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3 Series in favor of something British. No, not the Jaguar XE, though the littlest of Jags is a solid choice. Instead, may I ask you to consider an Aston Martin Rapide?
That’s right — Rapides have depreciated to compact sports sedan prices. The sinewy 4-door debuted for the 2010 model year with DB9-like styling and a ferocious 470-hp 5.9-liter V12 engine under the hood. As the Rapide was designed to be a more genteel Aston Martin, it was only available with an automatic transmission controlled by buttons mounted on the center stack. The Rapide arrived with high expectations just as Porsche got into the sedan market. Comparisons were inevitable. The Rapide was certainly prettier, if not as practical, and it boasted a lot more power than the first Panamera. Production commenced in Graz, Austria, at the same facility where Magna Steyr builds the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, and Aston Martin eagerly predicted sales of around 2,000 units annually.
Then-CEO Ulrich Bez campaigned a race-prepped, hydrogen-fueled Rapide at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring in 2010 and took second in class, but it wasn’t enough. Car sales at every level tanked in the wake of the Great Recession, and Aston Martin couldn’t keep the Graz plant busy enough. Production was moved to the U.K. The Rapide still exists in AMR form with a 595-hp version of the V12 teamed with updated body work and a price tag high enough to buy a nice home in the Midwest. They’re rare — though if you like highlighter green, this one in Dallas might tempt you.
For those without $280,000 to spend to get that new car smell, early Rapides have dropped to less than $50,000. Depreciation has hit the Rapide reasonably hard, though a 75 percent drop from the original price tag of $200,000 or so over the course of a decade isn’t all that bad for a luxury sedan. Perhaps the Rapide has the makings of a future classic.
Here’s a lovely silver one with a brown leather interior decked out in gorgeous matte wood trim. Its asking price is just shy of $50,000, which is about what BMW charges for a 330i with the typical options. Certainly, the warrantied BMW is the smarter buy for most shoppers, but if you’ve got the patience for an Aston Martin, a Rapide is an increasingly appealing used car buy. Find an Aston Martin Rapide for sale
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