With the official launch of Aston Martin’s four-door Rapide set for later this year, the luxury British automaker has already started teasing us with bits of info. Most important for many is the powerplant.
As expected the Rapide will use the 6.0-liter V12 engine that motivates most of Aston’s lineup. Power is rated at 470hp and 443 ft-lbs of torque and will be accessible through the company’s new Touchtronic automatic gearbox, which first debuted on the DBS.
In terms of design elements, the rear doors will be what Aston calls “swan wing” doors. The doors open upwards and outwards, much like the doors on Aston’s coupes. This will help ease access to the two rear seats.
By the sounds of the press release, however, those rear seats won’t be overly spacious. On the other hand, Aston does claim that cargo space for luggage will be sufficient.
“Rapide will exceed expectations to deliver elegance and practicality in a form that will allow driving enjoyment and comfort beyond anything that exists today,” said Aston Martin CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez, “The Rapide will exist in a class all of its own, a true Aston Martin with the high performance and dynamic excellence that defines the brand, and a luxurious sporting grand tourer without equal.”
GALLERY: 2010 Aston Martin Rapide
Official release after the jump:
Strictly Embargoed: 00:01 GMT, Wednesday 15th April
Aston Martin Rapide: The World’s Most Elegant Four-Door Sports Car
Gaydon, 15th April 2009. The Aston Martin Rapide has moved into the final stages of
its development programme, on course for a public debut in late 2009, with the first
customer cars due to be delivered in early 2010.
First revealed as the Aston Martin Rapide Concept at the Detroit Auto Show in 2006,
the Rapide is one of the most eagerly awaited cars of the year. As Aston Martin’s first
true four-door production sports car, the Rapide encapsulates the core values of the
brand within a elegant, high-powered sports grand tourer, with four full-sized seats,
generous accommodation and luggage space and trademark Aston Martin
Aston Martin Chief Executive, Dr. Ulrich Bez said: “The Rapide will be the most
elegant four-door sports car in the world. It completes the Aston Martin range
conveying our established attributes of Power, Beauty and Soul.
“In 2010 there will be an Aston Martin for every type of sports car customer
regardless of the demands of their lifestyle. The Rapide is the most versatile, bringing
a new benchmark of luxury and refinement to both driver and passenger.”
The concept received worldwide acclaim for its design as well as strong expressions
of interest from customers. Following the purchase of Aston Martin in June 2007, the
production version of the Rapide was approved and development began in earnest.
Underpinned by Aston Martin’s VH (Vertical/Horizontal) extruded aluminium
architecture, the Rapide retains the elegant, flowing proportions that are integral to
every Aston Martin and remains remarkably faithful to the original design study.
The cohesive design language and elegant form of the Rapide ensure it is a perfect
complement to the other cars in Aston Martin’s line-up. From the outset, the Rapide
was designed with no aesthetic compromise. “We wanted to make the most beautiful
four-door sports car in the world,” Aston Martin’s Director of Design Marek Reichman
stated when the concept was first shown.
The signature elements of Aston Martin’s design language translate seamlessly to
the four-door format, with key features such as the ‘swan wing’ doors – rising upwards
and outwards as they swing open – facilitating access to the two beautifully trimmed
individual rear seats. The bodywork flows effortlessly from front to rear, where a
kicked up tail and strong rear shoulders wrap around the wheel arches to create the
classic Aston Martin silhouette, enveloping the additional doors, seats for children or
two adults on shorter journeys and functional luggage capacity.
Described by Reichman as a lithe ‘long distance runner,’ compared to the sprinter-
like poise of the V8 Vantage and the muscularity of the DBS, the Rapide’s lines are a
master class in maintaining purity of proportion and vision. Detail design is crucial,
with Aston Martin’s iconic side strake extended to run through the front doors before
blending into the rear door, lending a sense of dynamic thrust to the Rapide’s stance.
The Rapide has been subjected to Aston Martin’s rigorous testing programme
including extreme climate testing and dynamic performance trials at the company’s
new Nürburgring Test Centre to ensure the Rapide will display the brand’s integral
high speed abilities. The last stages of endurance testing are now underway with
final sign-off expected later this year before a production car is debuted in
The Rapide will offer performance purity and the same level of sporting ability as all
modern Aston Martins. Powered by a version of Aston Martin’s 6.0 litre V12 engine
producing 470bhp and 600Nm of torque and, hand built at the company’s engine
facility in Cologne, the Rapide’s rear wheels are driven through a highly responsive
Touchtronic gearbox. Performance figures have yet to be revealed, although early
indications are that the Rapide will offer class-leading performance and dynamics,
alongside new levels of refinement and luxury.
The Rapide will be built at a new production facility in Graz, Austria managed by the
acclaimed vehicle manufacturer Magna Steyr and co-ordinated by a fully integrated
Aston Martin team from the UK. The new production facility is closely modelled on
the Gaydon factory and will combine a sophisticated modern production line with the
Aston Martin traditional hand-finishing skills, a proud blend of craft processes and
attention to detail. The interior will further develop Aston Martin’s skilful use of
genuine high quality materials, applied appropriately and effectively to ensure that
form always follows function.
“Rapide will exceed expectations to deliver elegance and practicality in a form that
will allow driving enjoyment and comfort beyond anything that exists today,” says Dr
Ulrich Bez, “The Rapide will exist in a class all of its own, a true Aston Martin with the
high performance and dynamic excellence that defines the brand, and a luxurious
sporting grand tourer without equal.”