It’s been a long time coming. We first reported on the Rapide – Aston Martin’s first four-door sportscar – back in 2006, when it appeared in concept form at the Detroit show. Rumours and speculation followed for three years, until January 2009, when the first official pictures were finally released…
…to reveal a more rounded car than the concept, but still with the characteristic darkened glass sunroof and hatchback.
Now, at last, we have the full production version in all its glory at Frankfurt, complete with four ‘swan wing’ doors and a 301-litre luggage compartment. In the rear, two individual hand-trimmed seats offer all the comforts you might hope for – such as personal face-level heating and air-conditioning. That spacious luggage compartment can be accessed from the cabin via a moveable bulkhead, while a finger-on-the-button is enough to see the rear seats fold to create a flat loading space – now with a capacity of 750 litres.
As anticipated, the Rapide is powered by a 6.0-litre V12, putting out 470bhp at 6000rpm and developing a satisfying 443lb ft of torque at 5000rpm. The result is 0-62mph in 5.3 seconds. As standard, the transmission is a six-speed Touchtronic 2 automatic, with steering-column-mounted magnesium paddles. And, while the Rapide is built on an extrapolation of the ‘V/H Architecture’ platform, the backbone of the DBS, DB9 and Vantage, in many ways it is – as Aston claims – ‘a new car from the ground up’.
Says Chief Executive, Dr. Ulrich Bez, “With Rapide, the entire family can enjoy their Aston Martin together in unison, in an invigorating yet comfortable environment, sitting low, with plenty of visibility from every seat and with new levels of comfort, refinement and entertainment.”
Director of Design, Marek Reichman, adds to that: “There is a real sense of proportion with this car, akin to a tailored suit; the new double grille gives more presence on the road while the iconic signature side strake has been lengthened through to the rear doors to enhance its lateral proportions in a subtle, yet elegant way. The car’s purity makes it look right from every angle.”
First deliveries of the Rapide are scheduled for early 2010 and it will be available globally through Aston Martin’s 125-strong dealership network. The price is expected to be around £150,000.
Text: Charis Whitcombe Photos: Aston Martin ClassicInside - The Classic Driver Newsletter Free Subscription!