Aston Martin is one of the largest sports car and GT car manufacturers in the world and as such has made some pretty good cars. Unfortunately, like all automakers, they have also produced some questionable products – mostly due to financial constraints or partial distribution with their various parent companies.
Aston Martin started building race cars and Grand Tourers in 1913† In the 1950s, the British brand became known for their comfortable and fast GT cars and powerful engines, eventually leading to the DB5 becoming the iconic vehicle of choice for James Bond 007. The company went through many difficult times – mostly related to economic recessions – and has been bought by several companies over the years, including the Ford Motor Company† Aston Martin also has an agreement with Mercedes-Benz to use their AMG engines in cars, specifically the 4.0-litre twin-turbo M177 V8.
While Aston Martin may not have had the easiest past, their cars have become British cultural icons and have still rivaled the very best the rest of the GT luxury segment has to offer. The company has even made a profit since 2017, after more than two decades of losses. With that, here are five Aston Martin models that we would definitely buy used and three we’d rather stay away from.
8 We would buy – DB9
The Aston Martin DB9 was one of the best Grand Tourers on sale between 2004 and 2016. It was only available as a luxury model and was equipped with Aston Martin’s fantastic 5.9-litre naturally aspirated V12. The car was available with a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed semi-automatic transmission.
In 2012, the DB9 received a major update, replacing the short-lived Virage. The revamp included a new platform, new styling, and better features. It doesn’t matter which version of the DB9 a potential customer would look atit’s a fantastic car.
7 We would buy – DBS V12
The DBS V12 was the sportier model of the DB9. The DBS had a wider body and more aggressive styling to accentuate its sportiness, as well as a performance boost to the engine – still the 5.9-litre naturally aspirated V12.
The DBS was available with an automatic transmission, but to get the best out of the car, the manual was recommended. This combined the luxury and comfort aspect of the GT side of the car, as well as the involvement of gear shifting with the sports car side – resulting in a car that is perfect for a super spy† Wink.
6 We would buy – V8 Vantage
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage is one of the best premium/luxury sports cars out there. With a 4.3 or 4.7-litre V8 – depending on model year – and available with a manual transmission, the V8 Vantage looks great, drives great and sounds great.
The V8 Vantage is perfect for anyone who wants a premium to luxury sports car with an elegant body, a screeching exhaust note and a real sports car experience. The Vantage was even updated with a bigger engine and better features.
5 We would buy – Rapide S
The Rapide was Aston Martin’s modern version of their classic 1960s four-door Lagonda. The modern Rapide was based on a stretched version of the DB9 platform and as such shared many parts. The styling has been designed to be in line with the rest of the Aston Martin range, and looks just like a four-door DB9.
The Rapide was only available with the company’s 5.9-liter V12, but in different positions based on trim levels. Power was sent only to the rear wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission, which was later upgraded to an 8-speed automatic. The Rapide was discontinued in 2020 to make way for the DBX SUV, just before Aston Martin was due to release an electric version.
4 We would buy – DB7
The Aston Martin DB7 is one of the most successful models in the history of the British brand. More than 7,000 units were sold between 1994 and 2004, mainly thanks to the two engine choices. The DB7 was available with a 5.9-liter V12 from the Vanquish or a supercharged inline-6 from Jaguar.
The DB7 was the car that saved Aston Martin from financial ruin and even helped Jaguar with their problems, as the DB7 shared many parts with the Jaguar XK. Even though the DB7 has such a great historyGetting parts for the car and performing maintenance is a difficult task and can quickly become very expensive. Still, these cars are some of the biggest supercar bargains on the used market right now.
3 Stay Away – Cygnet
The Aston Martin Cygnet dropped by after the company was forced to comply with new European emissions standards. Aston Martin asked Toyota if they could use one of their cars – the IQ – to spice it up a bit. Toyota agreed, and the Cygnet was born†
The Cygnet had the same powertrain as the IQ – a 97 horsepower 1.3-litre inline-4 – but had modified exterior panels and a new interior designed to follow the Aston Martin ethos. The Cygnet was discontinued after only two years on sale as they only sold about 300 units instead of the proposed 4,000 per year.
2 Stay Away – Vanquish
The Vanquish was the epitome of the Aston Martin range in the 1990s and early 2000s. It was designed to be the largest, most powerful and most luxurious model offered by the company. While it was all these things, it lacked the handling to accompany the raw power under the hood.
Aston Martin has released a Vanquish S that was mainly aimed at improving driving behaviour, but even then it didn’t quite work. Ian Callum, the man behind the Vanquish, founded Callum Design and started repairing the Vanquish. The only regret is that the Vanquish 25 – Callum Design’s car – costs about three times the price of a brand new DBS. ouch.
1 Stay Away – Lagonda
The Aston Martin Lagonda is a car that very few people like, but those who do like it. Designed in the early 1970s, the Lagonda was a return to form for the British carmaker and was supposed to help avoid bankruptcy. As with most high-end cars of this era, it was wedge-shaped with some pretty weird features.
The Lagonda was the first car with a fully digital instrument panel. The car’s electronics alone cost about three times the full budget – and they almost never worked well. The Lagonda was also a huge sedan, but the interior was compact and uncomfortable†