Home / Auto News / News article: Frankfurt 2009: Aston Martin Rapide is a Seriously Elegant World Premiere - AutoGuide.com News
 |  Sep 16 2009, 3:51 AM

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After first debuting a concept version at the North American International Auto Show back in 2007, Aston Martin chose the Frankfurt Auto Show to debut what it calls “the most elegant four-door sorts car in the world.”

The Rapide joins the Porsche Panamera and Maserati Quattroporte in an emerging segment of performance-oriented sedans.

The Rapide is powered by a front-mounted V12 engine, which Aston says is 6.0-liters, but it really closer to 5900ccs. Power is rated at 470hp at 6000 rpm with 443 ft-lbs of torque coming on strong at 5000 rpm. And if we know Aston, it probably sounds like a wicked beast at about 4000 rpm.

The Rapide will be offered exclusively with a six-seed automatic transmission.

As for the design of the car, it’s all Aston up front and even the rear maintains Aston’s signature subtle duck-tail spoiler, which is integrated into the rear hatch. And of course, all four doors flip slightly upward, just like the rest of the Aston fleet. The cabin of the car seats four with 10.6 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats or 26.5 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.

“Rapide is the culmination of the Aston Martin range of sports cars, a car that seals the revival of a truly admired marque,” said Aston CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez. “There is now an Aston Martin for every taste and for every use. 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.”

GALLERY: 2010 Aston Martin Rapide

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GALLERY: Official Aston Martin Rapide Photos

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Official:

PRESS RELEASE

• The most elegant four-door sports car in the world
• Accommodates four adults in luxury and comfort
• Benchmark levels of driver engagement and refinement
• Spacious and functional creating a truly versatile Aston Martin sports car

Gaydon, Warwickshire 15 September 2009. Aston Martin will unveil one of the most eagerly awaited cars of 2009 at the 63rd Frankfurt Motorshow. The elegant Rapide, functional yet luxurious, provides space for up to four adults combined with an engaging driving experience synonymous with all Aston Martins.

As the marque’s first production four-door sports car, Rapide encapsulates core values of Power, Beauty and Soul; four ‘swan wing’ doors provide access to cosseting sports seats both front and rear bestowing occupants with ample accommodation. A 301 litre luggage compartment affords generous space for belongings for all four passengers whether they be sports bags or indeed, sets of skis, creating an Aston Martin which can be enjoyed on any occasion, anytime, anywhere.

Rapide’s rear environment has been intelligently packaged to create a space where passengers feel a part of the driving experience with clear views to the front and sides. Comfort and support is supplied in the form of two hand trimmed individual seats and a personal face-level heating and air conditioning system. Aiding the practicalities of everyday use, the luggage compartment features a movable bulkhead to permit access from the rear cabin while the rear seats fold flat at the touch of a button to create a flat loading space increasing the luggage compartment from 301 litres to 750 litres.

At the heart of every Aston Martin lies an evocative engine providing effortless power and torque: Rapide features a hand-built 6.0-litre V12 engine producing 470 bhp (477 PS / 350 kW) with peak power being delivered at 6000 rpm and 600 Nm (443 lbft) peak torque at 5000 rpm. A specifically tuned six-speed Touchtronic 2 automatic transmission features as standard, allowing the driver to change gear automatically or manually via the steering column-mounted magnesium paddles.

First shown in 2006 in concept form at the Detroit Auto Show, the Rapide project received an immediate green light from Aston Martin’s new shareholders in mid 2007 following the sale of the marque by the Ford Motor Company. In a little over two years, Aston Martin’s design and engineering team have delivered a new car from the ground up. Rapide has been developed from the ‘V/H Architecture’ platform which already forms the backbone to Aston Martin’s critically acclaimed line-up: the DBS, DB9 and Vantage range.

Chief Executive, Dr. Ulrich Bez said: “Rapide is the culmination of the Aston Martin range of sports cars, a car that seals the revival of a truly admired marque. There is now an Aston Martin for every taste and for every use.

“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 who led the in-house design team which penned the Rapide said: “Like a race horse standing still, you can see its power and elegance, the shape of Rapide’s rear haunches are muscular conveying the power that lies beneath while its low stance produces a powerful look.

“There is a real sense of proportion with this car, akin to a tailored suit; the new double grill 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 will commence early in 2010 and will be available globally through Aston Martin’s 125 strong dealership network. Pricing will be confirmed at the Frankfurt Show.

The Aston Martin Rapide suggests a new world of possibilities for the Aston Martin enthusiast, a car capable of long distances at high speed, providing both a driver-focused environment and refined and cosseting interior for its passengers. The Rapide turns every journey into an event.

The Rapide brings pure function to the Aston Martin experience, a car that combines everyday practicality with elegant form and exceptional power. “Now there is an Aston Martin for every type of sports car customer regardless of the demands of their lifestyle,” says Aston Martin Chief Executive, Dr. Ulrich Bez, “the Rapide is our most versatile product, bringing a new benchmark of luxury and refinement to both driver and passenger.”

Within the flowing, muscular form of the Rapide, four individual seats and a spacious luggage compartment present a new type of rapid family transportation; swift, spacious, dynamic and social. Four adults can enjoy the Rapide in complete comfort, savouring the ride quality, the ambience of the hand-trimmed cabin and the sensation of speed and dynamism derived from the low seating position and excellent visibility.

The Rapide is also a practical family car, with a highly bespoke interior offering myriad possibilities for personalisation thanks to Aston Martin’s acclaimed craft skills. From the highly detailed stitching on the leather, inspired by saddle-making, to the hand-machined switchgear, aluminium speaker meshes and metal door pulls, the interior is supremely tactile and rewarding.

The Rapide features Bang & Olufsen’s acclaimed audio system, developed in close collaboration with Aston Martin to ensure the most accurate sound reproduction is achieved within the cabin environment. Twin DVD screens integrated into the front seats provide entertainment for the rear passengers, giving them the opportunity to watch a film or create their own personal soundtrack to accompany the drive. When music is shared, Bang & Olufsen’s signature motorised tweeters rise from either side of the Rapide’s dashboard, helping disperse the sound crisply and precisely throughout the length of the cabin.

When the road becomes more demanding, Aston Martin’s sporting heritage comes to the fore, ensuring the driving experience is never less than sensational. The passengers can also enjoy close involvement with the way ahead, thanks to a seating arrangement that gives excellent forward visibility. ‘As a rear passenger you’re seated inboard, slightly above the driver, looking through the centre of the car,’ Aston Martin Director of Design, Marek Reichman explains, ‘so you can see forward and experience the driver’s view of the road ahead. As a result, even rear passengers feel that they’re in a sports car.’

The Rapide also excels as an occasional load-hauler, with individually folding rear seats – at the push of a button – to allow the rear luggage space to expand to up to 750 litres, facilitating the occasional bulky impulse purchase, or creating the ultimate long-distance holiday cruiser, able to transport skis or hiking equipment, hatboxes or trunks across continents with ease. The rear luggage compartment is accessed through an opening tailgate and separated from the cabin by a movable bulkhead that can be set to create a unified internal space running from the dashboard through to the tailgate, or provide a security cover for when the car is parked. Aston Martin offers a bespoke five-piece luggage set for the discerning traveller, tailored to precisely match your chosen interior trim.

Marek Reichman describes the Rapide as a lithe ‘long distance runner’, continuing Aston Martin’s tradition of building high performance sporting grand tourers and distinct from the sprinter-like poise of the V8 Vantage or the muscular stance of the DBS.

The Aston Martin Rapide encapsulates the values of Aston Martin in a sporting saloon, a four-door sports car with unrivalled performance, extremely high levels of craftsmanship and exceptionally elegant design. The Rapide is a car to savour and share, a characterful, expressive sports grand tourer that extends the Aston Martin experience to an entire family, a group of colleagues or other performance enthusiasts. Beauty, power and practicality have never been presented so seductively.