The Aston Martin Rapide concept is a four-door, high performance coupé of remarkable grace and poise. Based on Aston Martin's unique VH (Vertical/Horizontal) architecture, the Rapide combines the company's commitment to power, beauty and soul with space and practicality for every eventuality. It stands for stylistic excellence, market innovation and flexible manufacturing. The Rapide is the epitome of Aston Martin’s low-volume, high-technology approach, the synergy of modern methods and materials with traditional skills to create a new form of craftsmanship for the 21st century. While the Rapide retains Aston Martin's inherent design characteristics the additional length and extra doors build upon the DB9’s taut, poised stance, generating a natural, even flow and a dynamic sensation that's conveyed even when the Rapide is standing still. “In terms of elegance the Rapide is adding value to the DB9’s undisputed elegance and subtle understatement,” says Dr Ulrich Bez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Aston Martin. “Our cars must look beautiful from all angles, and the four-door is very well balanced.” Practicality and power are the Rapide's signature qualities, but above all it is recognisably an Aston Martin, a testament to the strength of the marque's design language. The Rapide's four-door body provides greater access to the extended architecture, making it a performance car for every occasion. “The proportions must be perfect,” says Dr Bez, “if we couldn’t achieve this then we wouldn’t have made the car.”
Like all Aston Martins, the Rapide is a superlative performer. Powered by the V12 engine from the DB9 but uprated to 480 brake horsepower mated to a ZF Touchtronic gearbox, the car has performance equivalent to the DB9, although the gearing has been adjusted to suit the longer wheelbase and more refined ride. Carbon brakes and callipers, a first for Aston Martin, give the Rapide immense stability and stopping power. “A sports car is not simply characterised by the number of doors,” says Dr Bez, “so a four door car can still have the looks and performance of a sports car and the Rapide is certainly true to its name, providing an unrivalled way of taking four adults on a long-distance journey along any type of road.”
The Rapide is serious about the business of driving, a chassis that is equally at home amongst winding back roads, mountain passes or high-speed carriageways. It has the expertise to devour trans-continental distances while leaving the driver feeling fresh and alert, however far or fast. The rich exhaust note is intended to be heard echoing off the sheer rock walls of the Alps, the steering demands to be taken to the switchbacks of Austria's Grossglockner Pass, while the engine begs to be opened up along a stretch of German Autobahn. Although the power delivery is unrelenting, this is also a car designed for every day use, with ample space for a golfing weekend for three in Scotland, a lengthy trans-American journey or even a trip to a Bordeaux vineyard, with space to bring back 20 bottles of wine. You can sweep up to a hotel, restaurant or premičre and the four doors allow your passengers to enter and exit with style.