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First photo shows interior of Aston Martin Rapide super-saloon

This is the first interior photo of the Aston Martin Rapide super-saloon.

It was snapped by a spy photographer during testing at the Nurburgring last week, and is similar in style to the DB9's layout. A sequence of new exterior shots can also be viewed by clicking on our gallery section here

Aston Martin is set to begin production of the Rapide, a rival for the upcoming Porsche Panamera, later this year. It hopes to sell around 2000 units a year, with customer deliveries beginning in early 2010.

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.

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 4.5sec 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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