A track focused V12 saloon doesn't make much sense on paper, but it does on the road
By Cam Tait / Tuesday, 10 January 2023 / Loading comments
There’s a lot Andy Palmer got right during his stint as Aston Martin CEO. He was a key driver in transforming the British marque’s ageing production line with the DB11 and Vantage, both of which marked a considerable step forward over their predecessors (at least, in a technical sense). Not to mention the controversial move to launch an SUV, which has been a sales hit and a major revenue generator.
So while he received a fair amount of stick for taking the company public, you could argue that his replacement Tobias Moers (who lasted less than two years in the job) had the core ingredients to get Aston Martin back on track and head towards into profitability. Moreover, one of Palmer’s lesser-known legacies during his six-year stint at the top was positioning Aston Martin as a performance brand to appeal to a younger audience. It was to be spearheaded by the incredible Valkyrie and upcoming Valhalla hypercars, with the rest of the line-up getting sportier variants with questionable lime green highlights and the AMR suffix.
Makes sense, right? The company has a long history of endurance racing that, until the launch of the AMR sub-brand, wasn’t all that well represented in the firm’s lineup. Naturally, the V12-engined DB11 and both old and new generations of Vantage were given the AMR treatment. Less obvious was the Rapide AMR. Though nowhere near as old as the Vantage platform, the Rapide was getting rather long in the tooth when the sportier iteration came along in 2019 and clearly it hadn’t been the company’s posterchild for GT racing like the Vantage had.
In that regard, the Rapide AMR didn’t make a while lot of a sense. But when you consider that it was more a farewell to the company’s four-door saloon, it’s understandable why Aston wanted to send the Rapide off in style. And boy, did it put the work in. Up front is the same 5.9-litre V12 from the limited-run Vantage GT12, developing 603hp and 456lb ft of torque. Staggering numbers for a naturally aspirated engine and 45hp more than the Rapide S. The eight-speed automatic gearbox was also tweaked for snappier shifts, while the dampers were recalibrated after extensive testing on the Nurburgring. Topping it all off where carbon ceramic brakes, with six-piston calipers at the front and four at the rear.
It needed them, too, with the AMR tipping the scales at a smidgen under two tonnes. So it’s no four-door GT3 RS then, but Matt still found the AMR “more engaging and more satisfying to drive, while still immensely relaxing, cossetting and cool when required.” Find one in the right colour combination and the Rapide’s epilogue could very well be all the Aston Martin you could ever want.
Enter the AMR we have here. This 11,000-mile example does away with the divisive lime green highlights for a straight black finish throughout. Yes, the spec does tone down some of the wilder styling changes that were introduced on the AMR (not that we’re complaining), but it still looks every bit as menacing as a 603hp V12 Aston Martin should. This was at least a £200,000 car when new in 2019, which makes the £149,990 price tag of this model a little more bearable. And although it may not have the racing pedigree of the Vantage AMR models, it still played its part in transforming Aston Martin into the company it is today. Which means we don’t have to give Lawrence Stroll all the credit.
SPECIFICATION | ASTON MARTIN RAPIDE AMR
Engine: 5,935cc V12
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],000rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected]/Arpm
MPG: 21.9 (Rapide S)
CO2: 300g/km (Rapide S)
Year registered: 2019
Recorded mileage: 11,000
Price new: £194,950
Yours for: £149,990
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