All eyes were on the Aston Martin stand at Frankfurt this year with the unveiling of the much talked about and much praised, Rapide four-door sports sedan.
Adding two extra doors to a DB9, which is often regarded as one of the most beautiful coupes in the world, is no easy design job. It had to be seamless; otherwise the car would look out of proportion, which could damage the perception of the model or worse still, the brand itself.
Judging by the smiles on the faces of the world’s media when the circular veil was raised, Aston Martin has nothing to fear.
Head of Aston Martin design Marek Reichmann, has pulled it off, the Rapide can take its rightful place in the brand’s stable, as the most beautiful four-door production sports sedan in the world.
The car was first conceptualised in June 2005, and had to maintain all the brand traits of a low volume, highly exclusive, high performance luxury sports car, but with two additional doors.
Only 2000 cars a year will be produced, ensuring the utmost exclusivity in a rarefied automotive segment.
I asked Mr Reichmann about the benefits of a low volume model such as the Rapide, as opposed to the Porsche Panamera, which is produced in numbers up to 20,000 per year.
“Take the grab handle that you use to get out of the car; its made using two types of different leathers and stitching, that type of attention to detail is just not possible with significantly higher volume luxury cars”
The seats are a design piece in their own right, and are superbly comfortable, front or back.
The Rapide is every bit as much a sports thoroughbred as the rest of its Aston Martin siblings.
There’s a huge 6.0-litre V12 engine under the bonnet, producing 350kW of power and maximum torque of 600Nm at 5000 rpm.
It should be a comfortable car to drive too, with a six-speed automatic gearbox.
No longer will you have leave the kids or dogs behind, Aston Martin has just become family friendly.