The Rapide is based on Aston Martin's VH architecture and retains the DB9's tight lines and understated grace with power. The VH architecture provides exceptional flexibility in manufacturing and packaging options for individual customer requirements and is the same process that has been used on the DBR9 race car.
Test drive results have the Rapide achieving 0 to 60 in under 5.5 seconds powered by a 6 liter V12 engine producing 4,000 rpm. This is not a race car, it is a car for stylish travel comfort for four passengers and is a true sporting coupe.
The Rapide sits low to the ground, less than 2 inches higher than the DB9 which has posed challenges for designing the interior which is leather with custom inlaid shagreen; just think of hand tailored luggage and that gives you the idea, as Aston Martins design guru, Marek Reichmann says “It's very cosseting.”
The interior is compact however Aston Martin have paid serious attention to detail and the result is spacious with storage and adjustable interior mood lighting.
With the Aston Martin Rapide, you'll be happy to be a back seat driver with individual DVD screens integrated with the two front seats providing access to the full navigation system as well as controls for the audio system and climate control.
The rear luggage area shares the hatchback feature of the Vantage, while the rear seats fold down for a wide choice of storage options for transporting skis, golf clubs or passengers and for that very real James Bond touch, there is a chiller cabinet shaped to hold a Magnum together with four champagne flutes.
The Rapide is essentially a stretched four door DB9 sharing the same underlying manufacturing standards but remember Aston Martin have launched 5 cars in 12 months and that can only be done because under the body they are very much alike.
The Rapide is going to compete directly with the the CLS and the Porsche Panamera and should be in production just ahead of it's main Porsche rival. This should be an interesting showdown as Aston Martin's head, Dr Bez, previously worked for Porsche so look forward to 2008!