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Aston Martin Rapide at the Ring (2009)

By Tim Pollard

Spy shots

01 April 2008 12:15

CAR Online has snapped the best photos yet of the Aston Martin Rapide, revealing the final shape of the new sporting limo and unusual details such as the panoramic glass roof. This will be the most practical Aston ever - discounting the bespoke shooting brake models - as you'd expect from a stretched DB9 with four doors and a tailgate.

The Rapide will stretch the tape measure to around five metres long, making it 30cm longer than the DB9, whose VH aluminium architecture it shares. Aston is targeting buyers who need practicality and is promising a lift-up tailgate to swallow luggage, fold-down rear seats to extend the boot and 'swan-lift' doors on all four apertures that glide upwards and out, easing access. It ain't no Range Rover, but it'll be very practical compared with the current Astons.

Aston Martin Rapide: sporting luxury

Don't get too carried away with all that luxury, though. This is an Aston, remember, and our spy photographer lurking in the bushes timed this early prototype lapping the Nurburgring in less than nine minutes. That's not especially fast (it's a similar time to a Ford Focus RS on the limit) but this is an early prototype and it didn't look like the engineers were on a hot lap.

Why are we expecting great performance from the Rapide? It uses the familiar VH platform and 6.0-litre V12 from the DBS. So we're looking at around 510bhp and 420lb ft, although we hear that Aston is trying to massage more torque from the engine to cope with the Rapide's extra weight. Even with its aluminium construction, this is a big car likely to clock in at around two tonnes.

Click 'Next' to read more detail on the Rapide