Four doors, 150k Aston Martins Rapide

* Aston unveils its new Rapide * Described as a 'four-door sports car' * Expected to cost about 150,000...

15 September 2009

Four doors, 150k Aston Martins Rapide

Aston Martin has just one car on its stand at the Frankfurt motor show the new Rapide and the company is stressing that it should not be seen as a rival for the recently launched Porsche Panamera.

Although both cars are four-door models which marry the styling of the brands' respective sports cars with increased practicality, Aston insists that the Rapide will carve out its own niche.

'It's clearly not a limo,' an Aston spokesman said. 'We regard it as a four-door sports car that will sell for around twice the price of a Panamera.

'Our car will cost about 150,000, whereas the average price of the Porsche is somewhere between 80,000 and 90,000.'

A sporting grand tourer
Dr Ulrich Bez, Aston Martin's chief executive, said: 'The Rapide is for those who reject the DB9 and DBS people who need more than our other cars are able to offer.'

There is room for four adults in the Rapide, although entry and exit to the rear is compromised by high sills and narrow doors, but space in the back is more than adequate for children.

There will be entertainment systems in the headrests of both front seats to help make the Rapide a family Aston. The rear seats fold down to make way for extra luggage space, too, turning it into a long-distance sporting grand tourer.

Smaller electric cars, too
The car will probably be the last to use Aston's current composite-and-aluminium body construction architecture, but it will be powered by the company's 6.0-litre V12 engine with a semi-automatic gearbox.

Sales start in the UK and Europe next March, and will spread to America and the rest of the world by May next year.

Aston Martin believes a realistic and acceptable target is between 1500 and 2000 sales a year.