At long last, the wait for a new four-door Aston Martin is over. The British automaker officially unveiled its new 2011 Rapide at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show, ending a three-year long tease.
Aston first unveiled the Rapide as a concept at the 2006 Detroit auto show, but the slinky sedan - billed as an Aston Martin for the entire family to enjoy - wasn't approved for production until the company was wrestled from Ford's control. In spite of the management change, the Rapide's original design remains relatively unmolested.
The Rapide looks every bit like the stretched DB9 it is. Aston developed the sedan from the same V/H platform that underpins the DBS, DB9, and Vantage models, and uses the same 6.0-liter V-12 as its two-door sibling. Rated at 470 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque at 5000 rpm, the twelve-cylinder sends power to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission, and is capable of moving the Rapide from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds. Drivers interested in taking a more active role in the experience will be able to manually shift the transmission with a pair of magnesium paddle shifters located on the steering column.
The raked transparent roof doesn't give rear passengers much headroom, but they are treated to their own HVAC controls and infotainment systems. Aston Martin again partnered with Bang & Olufsen to fit the car with a 15-speaker, 1000-watt audio system as standard equipment.
While DB9s are built at Aston's factory in Gaydon, England, the Rapide will be assembled at Magna Steyr's facility in Graz, Austria and next year only 1500 will roll off the assembly line. Pricing hasn't been officially announced, but it's expected the car will sticker around $250,000 when it goes on sale later in 2010.