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Aston Martin Rapide at 2009 Frankfurt motor show

Tue, 15 Sep 2009 00:00:00 -0700

By Ben Pulman

First Official Pictures

15 September 2009 11:30

Nearly three years after Aston Martin unveiled the concept car, the production version of the elegant Rapide saloon has been revealed at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show. It’s Aston Martin’s first four-door car and will cost around £150,000 when sales start in early 2010.

No, because Aston Martin admits the rear seats are only suitable for children, or adults on shorter journeys. And the 301-litre boot is a mere six litres bigger than the luggage compartment of a Ford Fiesta - Jaguar's new XJ has a cavernous 520-litre capacity

But at least both rear seats (there’s only space for four in the Rapide) are hand-trimmed in soft leather and come with their own air-con system. The twin rear seats also fold flat, increasing the carrying capacity to 750-litres for those trips to Ikea. There is also the option of two independently operated rear LCD screens with a six DVD multi-changer and wireless headphones.

Compared to the DB9 or DBS there’s new front lights, polished alloy upper and lower grilles, new 20-inch wheels, the extra doors with a strong side crease, and the rear lights which each house 360 LEDs. All four doors are Aston’s ‘swan wing’ design, so they sweep slightly upwards when opened to avoid getting gouged on pavements.

There are also new front seats – which can be specced with heating and cooling elements – and a proper electronic handbrake so customers needn’t fiddle with the old fly-off item. A 1000W Bang & Olufsen sound system is standard.

You bet. Under the bonnet is Aston’s hand-built 6.0-litre V12 that puts out 470bhp at 6000rpm and 443lb ft at 5000rpm. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic (with a manual override courtesy of steering column-mounted magnesium paddles) and sends to power to the rear wheels. Despite a 190kg increase over the DB9 (to 1950kg), the Rapide will still hit 62mph in 5.3 seconds.

There’s also adaptive dampers with a Sport mode, plus a dual-cast brake system with discs made from both cast iron and aluminium, meaning the brakes are over 15% lighter than a regular cast iron item.

No. As well as being the company’s first four-door, the Rapide will also be the first Aston to be built outside the UK. Construction will take place at Magna Steyr’s plant in Graz, Austria, with the first deliveries to customers expected to commence in early 2010. The Rapide should cost around £150k. 

By Ben Pulman