According to CAR magazine, this is the first official image of the production-ready Aston Martin Rapide to be published. Anywhere.
The computer generated rendering is apparently genuine, and while CAR have also got their hot little hands on a more revealing shot of the four-door Aston, they're saving that one for their January 2009 print issue.
So, what can we discern from this image? Differences between the production version and the concept are few, with only a small number of subtle changes being made. The front bumper is now smoother, with the sharp crease that ran along the lower edge of the concept's bumper being deleted and the two side inlets also getting the boot.
There also appears to be a more defined character line that extends from the Rapide's fender vent and the wing mirror housings are larger. Other than these few changes, there isn't much else that marks this car as being different from the concept (below) - not from this angle anyway.
CAR claims that the Rapide will be powered by a 6.0 litre V12 that'll churn out a mighty 373kW and 570Nm, and given those numbers are nearly bang-on those of the DBS, our guess is the Rapide's mill will essentially be the same unit as that of its two-door brother. A six-speed ZF automatic will likely be the cogswapper of choice, however a manual version is within the realms of possibility.
With heated competition from the soon-to-be-released Porsche Panamera as well as the veteran Maserati Quattroporte, the Rapide may have to fight hard to win sales. However, if it looks anything like the Rapide concept (see gallery below), we're sure it'll be a hit - UK??130,000 pricetag be damned.