THE LEAD UP has been enormous and its final look has been known for some time now, but the Aston Martin Rapide has finally had its official unveiling at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Aston's first four-door, the addition of the Rapide to the marque's line-up expands its range of offerings to four distinct bodytypes.
The Rapide is Aston's first entrant into the upper echelons of the luxury sedan market since the unloved Lagonda of the 1980s. The new four-door is expected to find a new buyer demographic for brand, giving the British automaker an expanded showroom arsenal.
Based on a stretched version of the DB9's all-aluminium platform, the Rapide has room for four inside its low-slung cabin.
Styling is unmistakeably Aston Martin on the outside, but the presence of two full-size individual seats in the back of the passenger compartment is a radical departure for the invigorated Aston Martin brand.
A high centre console extends from the dashboard all the way to the back seats, and carries controls and vents for the climate control system and front headrest-mounted DVD screens.
A Bang & Olufsen premium audio system is standard on the Rapide, and features the company's signature motorised tweeters in the dash.
The rear seats themselves are mounted slightly inboard and above the front seats, giving rear passengers a clearer view of the road ahead.
Both rear seats fold flat at the push of a button, and boot capacity is 301 litres (750 litres with the back seats lowered).
Although more practical and capacious than its two-door stablemates, the Rapide is still a quick machine.
The 6.0 litre V12 from the DB9 is shoehorned under its aluminium bonnet, and develops 350kW of power and 600Nm of torque.
Paired with a conventional six-speed automatic (no automated manual here), Rapide drivers can choose to either cruise along gently, or select their own ratios via a pair of steering wheel-mounted paddles.
Customer deliveries are slated to begin locally toward the end of the first quarter of next year, and pricing will be in excess of $400,000.
?We?ll be handing over customer cars around the back end of March next year,? Aston Martin spokesman Marcel Fabris told TMR.
?At this stage the most that we?re prepared to say is that the Rapide will sit between the DB9 and DBS in pricing, so that will see it in the low to mid $400,000s.?