The Rapide is not only the first true four-door production sports car from Aston Martin, but also arguably the only model so far to successfully merge the four-door coupe concept into one stunning package.
The high-powered grand tourer boasts four individual sports seats, offering generous accommodation and luggage space together with thrilling performance thanks to the inherited flexibility of Aston Martin's front mid-engined layout.
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."
From the outset, the Rapide was designed with no aesthetic compromise although this proved to be a much simpler task than expected with Aston Martin's design language translating seamlessly to the four door format.
Signature brand elements such as the 'swan wing' doors - which rise upward as they swing open - provide easy access to the rear seats, whilst the iconic Aston Martin bodywork flows effortlessly to incorporate the two extra doors.
The Rapide is powered by an iteration of Aston Martin's 6.0 litre V12 engine producing 350kW and 600Nm which has been hand built in Cologne, driving the rear wheels through a Touchtronic gearbox.
The car itself will be manufactured 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.
“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.”
The last stages of endurance testing are now underway at the brand's new Nürburgring Test Centre, with final sign-off expected later this year before a production car is debuted in September followed by customer deliveries in early 2010.