The Rapide has been developed in a little over two years from the ‘V/H Architecture’ platform which already forms the backbone to Aston Martin’s line-up: the DBS, DB9 and Vantage range.
The Vertical / Horizontal (V/H) architecture – a platform technology derived from the aerospace industry employing aluminium which is bonded rather than welded to create a lightweight and ultra-stiff chassis.
Despite the Rapide being 290 mm longer than DB9, it was a key objective to maximise the structural rigidity accounting for the increased length in wheelbase. The Rapide’s structure has a torsional rigidity of 28,000 Nm/degree.
Aside from the front doors and hood, all of Rapide’s body panels are new. The front wings are formed from composite while all four doors and roof are pressed aluminium and the rear quarter panels are steel.
The front mid-mounted 6.0 litre V12 engine produces 470 bhp (477 PS / 350 kW) with peak power being delivered at 6000 rpm and 600 Nm (443 lbft) and peak torque at 5000 rpm. The 0-60 mph time is 5.1 seconds (0-100 km/h in 5.3 seconds).
The 20” wheels are clad with Bridgestone Potenza S001 (Front: 245/40 R20, Rear: 295/35 R20) which feature a taller side wall to help dial out vibration and contribute to a quieter cabin.
The brake discs are made from two materials, cast iron and aluminium (dual cast brake system), which reduces unsprung mass with a brake that is 15-20% lighter than a standard cast iron brake.
First deliveries of the Rapide will begin in early 2010.
From the official Press Release:
Director of Design, Marek Reichman who led the in-house design team which penned the Rapide said: “Like a race horse standing still, you can see its power and elegance, the shape of Rapide’s rear haunches are muscular conveying the power that lies beneath while its low stance produces a powerful look.
“There is a real sense of proportion with this car, akin to a tailored suit; the new double grill gives more presence on the road while the iconic signature side strake has been lengthened through to the rear doors to enhance its lateral proportions in a subtle, yet elegant way. The car’s purity makes it look right from every angle.”
The four ‘swan wing’ doors open up and out at 12 degrees avoiding scuffs and scratches when parked next to a raised walkway, while serving the dual purpose of allowing easier access to the front and rear cabin.
Front on, the new polished alloy upper and lower grill adorn the Rapide to give it presence on the road while the new front lights house a single lens bi-xenon headlight with innovative light tube sidelights subtly distinguishing the Rapide to other road users.
Adding to the sense of proportion, Rapide’s low roof line combined with uniquely styled 20” wheels contribute to its sporting stance, and the iconic side strake, housing the side LED indicators is elongated to meet the rear doors. The pillarless side glass helps convey Rapide’s coupe lines.
The front and rear window choreography has been designed to permit the absence of a visible B-pillar to unclutter the curve line of the doors from front to back creating a seamless glass to glass window frame.
Contributing to Rapide’s interior comfort, the side glass will rise up further into the window seal when the car is driven at speed cancelling out wind noise and the glass is laminated to improve noise insulation.
Strong rear haunches hint at the power that lies beneath creating the classic Aston Martin sports car silhouette.
The wing mirrors have been specifically designed to emerge from the door giving the driver optimum visibility through the front corner glass.
At the rear, a practical tailgate provides access to the 301 litre luggage space flanked by the signature Aston Martin ‘C’ shaped tail lamps each housing 360 LEDs.
Rapide’s interior welcomes all occupants to a hand crafted and spacious cabin. To the front, the familiar dashboard and controls are ergonomically designed to provide the driver with all the information needed to extract the very best from the car.
The Rapide boasts a new front seat design giving a sporting feel supporting the occupant when driving spiritedly and providing high levels of comfort during more leisurely journeys. The double-edge stitch design enhances the visual impact of the seat alluding to the attention to detail and hand craftsmanship.
Heated and optional cooled seats feature with two centrally-mounted rotational dials, one at the front and one at the rear offering fingertip control to all passengers.
Controlled by a singular rotary dial in front of a digital display, two directional air vents channel air to the upper body serving to heat or cool occupants quickly and effectively while air is also channelled separately to the foot wells.
Aston Martin engineers chose to integrate an electronic park brake into Rapide saving space to the side of the seat and creating an uncluttered centre console.
The long swooping front centre console continues all the way through to the rear seamlessly linking the front environment to the rear, thus creating a sense of involvement for the rear passengers.
Aston Martin’s design and engineering team paid attention to giving both passengers an equally sporting feel to that of the driver while also providing passengers as much forward and side visibility as possible.
Forward visibility has been optimised through intelligent profiling of the B-pillar and front seats to give occupants a clear view of the road ahead.
The luggage compartment features a movable bulkhead to permit access from the rear cabin while the rear seats fold flat at the touch of a button to create a flat loading space increasing the luggage compartment from 301 litres to 750 litres.
The rear entertainment system; two LCD screens are integrated into the back of the front seat headrests, while a six DVD multi-changer, integrated into the boot compartment, provides hours of entertainment with sound being delivered via wireless headphones or through the standard Bang & Olufsen Besound Rapide audio system.
Aston Martin Rapide – Technical Specification
- Four door body style with 4 individual seats.
- Extruded bonded aluminium VH body structure
- Aluminium, magnesium alloy and composite body
- Extruded aluminium door side impact beams
- Single bi-xenon headlamps with integrated LED side lights and direction indicators
- LED rear lamps and side repeaters
Engine and performance
- All alloy quad overhead cam 48 valve 5935cc V12
- Front mid-mounted engine, rear-wheel drive
- Fully catalysed stainless steel exhaust system with active bypass valves
- Compression ratio 10.9:1
- Max Power 350 kW (470 bhp / 477 PS) at 6000 rpm
- Max Torque 600 Nm (443 lb ft) at 5000 rpm
- Acceleration 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds; 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 5.3 seconds
- Max Speed 188 mph (303 km/h) (predicted)
- Rear mid-mounted ‘Touchtronic 2’ six-speed gearbox with electronic shift-by-wire control system
(Source: Aston Martin)