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Rapide Delivery
New four-door Aston Martin gets green light; vehicle aimed at upcoming Porsche Panamera


By GREG KABLE

AutoWeek | Published 05/23/06, 1:57 pm et

Aston Martin boss Ulrich Bez has confirmed the company's well-received Rapide concept will become a production reality. In an interview with the German based automotive industry magazine and AutoWeek sister publication, Automobilwoche, Bez signaled a decision to build the svelte four-door sedan had recently been taken by Aston Martin parent company, Ford, and that it would reach North American showrooms before the similarly conceived Porsche Panamera, which is due out in 2009.

"We're not taking any orders yet. But the car will be built," Bez said, adding, "The Rapide will reach the market before the Panamera." This leaves Aston Martin just two and half years to engineer and develop the new car, which will line up alongside the V8 Vantage, DB9 and a successor to today's Vanquish to provide the rejuvenated British sportscar maker with arguably its strongest model range ever.

The basis for the new front-engined sedan will be a modular aluminium structure similar to that employed on other Aston Martin models, with production set to take place at the company's Gaydon facility in England. Bez indicated the luxuriously equipped Rapide will sit at the very top of the Aston Martin stable, with production likely to range from 300 to 500 cars per year. Power for Aston Martin's new flagship is expected to come from a reworked version of the DB9's 5.9-liter V12 engine producing up to 500 hp.

 
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