Official pictures reveal a production car faithful to concept shown at Detroit
29 January 2009

These are the first official images of the Aston Martin Rapide super-saloon, released ahead of its launch this autumn.

Based on a long-wheelbase DB9 chassis and powered by a 480bhp, 6.0-litre V12, the £140k Aston Martin Rapide should slot between the DB9 and DBS in the company’s range. It will have a six-speed ZF auto with Aston’s Touchtronic control.

These CAD images show a production car very faithful to the concept shown at Detroit in 2006.

The exaggerated styling line running along the front wing and door is new, but otherwise the Rapide’s skin follows the handsome, swooping look of the concept, but with crisper shoulders and bonnet creases.

The front apron also features a cleaner look, with a single wide lower air intake. The concept — and prototypes — featured flanking inlets either side of the lower air intake.

Aston’s engineers have stretched the DB9’s wheelbase by 255mm, making the car five metres long, the benchmark for luxury saloons like the Mercedes S-class.

Despite the swooping roofline, the Aston Rapide is 63mm higher than a DB9, an increase that ensures the styling retains its balance, yet also offers practical rear headroom.

The Rapide will be heavier than a DB9, tipping the scales at around 1940kg, a 130kg increase in kerb weight. The extra power should compensate for this, giving it a 0-60mph time of around 4.5secs and top speed of more than 180mph.

The Aston Rapide’s rear cabin is designed to seat a pair of young adults in individual buckets. Access is through rear doors that hinge with a wider version of the swan-neck operation on the front doors.

Aston has created more space under the front seats to allow passengers to slide their feet under the seat base, and enhanced the practicality with a foldable bulkhead and parcel shelf.

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