What's Aston been up to? This new Rapide four-door coupe concept proves that things move pretty quickly at Aston .
Design director Marek Reichman says the first doodles of the car were only done last summer, around the same time as Porsche released a sketch of the Panamera, its four-door coupe which it will launch in 2009.
While the Porsche remains firmly on the drawing board, Aston has found the time to produce this lovely looking concept for Detroit.
Measuring five metres from end to end, the Rapide is as nearly as long as a Mercedes S-Class and 300mm longer than the Aston DB9 upon which it is based.
There might not be as much room as the Mercedes inside, but there's masses more space than you'll find in the DB9 2+2. Those extra doors make getting in and out of the back considerably more graceful, while the rear hatch and folding rear seat even add – imagine it – practicality.
It may be 140kg heavier than the DB9, but the V12 engine has been uprated from 450bhp to 480bhp, so performance is similar, with 0-62mph passing by in less than five seconds.
Even so, the Rapide is geared and tuned for fast, cross-continent driving – a long distance runner compared to the DB9 sprinter, says Aston .
Aston prides itself on taking cars from the drawing board to the road quickly. At this rate, it'll beat the Porsche to showrooms. Price? About £150,000.
Aston suggests Taking the Rapide, two pals and all of your golf clubs for a swinging weekend in Scotland. Or down to Bordeaux to pick up a crate of wine. Or across the Grossglockner Pass in Austria with three friends and all of your skis for the pistes.
We say Let's go.
Anything else to see? You should always find time to stand and stare at the sexy new Vantage. Alongside the DB9, Volante and Vanquish, it makes the Aston stand a bit of a rich man's sweet shop.