Rapide: Pure Aston Martin
18th September, 2009
- The most elegant four-door sports car in the world
- Accommodates four adults in luxury and comfort
- Benchmark levels of driver engagement and refinement
- Spacious and functional creating a truly versatile Aston Martin sports car
Aston Martin unveiled one of the most eagerly awaited cars of 2009 at the 63rd Frankfurt Motor Show. The elegant
Rapide, functional yet luxurious, provides space for up to four adults combined with an engaging driving experience
synonymous with all Aston Martins.
As the marque’s first production four-door sports car, Rapide encapsulates core values of Power, Beauty and Soul;
four ‘swan wing’ doors provide access to cosseting sports seats both front and rear bestowing occupants with ample
accommodation. A 301 litre luggage compartment affords generous space for belongings for all four passengers whether
they be sports bags or indeed, sets of skis, providing an Aston Martin which can be enjoyed on any occasion, anytime,
Rapide’s rear environment has been intelligently packaged to provide a space where passengers feel a part of the
driving experience with clear views to the front and sides. Comfort and support is supplied in the form of two hand
trimmed individual seats and a personal face-level heating and air conditioning system. Aiding the practicalities
of everyday use, 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 provide a flat loading space increasing the luggage compartment
from 301 litres to 750 litres.
At the 'heart' of every Aston Martin lies an evocative engine providing effortless power and torque: Rapide
features a hand-built 6.0-litre V12 engine producing 350 kW (470 bhp/477 PS) with peak power being delivered at 6,000
rpm and 600 Nm (443 lbft) peak torque at 5,000 rpm. A specifically tuned six-speed Touchtronic 2 automatic
transmission features as standard, allowing the driver to change gear automatically or manually via the steering
column-mounted magnesium paddles.
First shown in January 2006 in concept form at the Detroit Motor Show (USA), the Rapide project received an
immediate green light from Aston Martin’s new shareholders in mid-2007 following the sale of the marque by the Ford
Motor Company. In a little over two years, Aston Martin’s design and engineering team have delivered a new car from
the ground up. Rapide has been developed from the ‘V/H Architecture’ platform which already forms the 'backbone' to
Aston Martin’s critically acclaimed line-up: the DBS, DB9 and Vantage range.
Chief Executive, Dr. Ulrich Bez said: “Rapide is the culmination of the Aston Martin range of sports cars, a
car that seals the revival of a truly admired marque. There is now an Aston Martin for every taste and for every
“With Rapide, the entire family can enjoy their Aston Martin together in unison, in an invigorating yet
comfortable environment, sitting low, with plenty of visibility from every seat and with new levels of comfort,
refinement and entertainment.”
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 grille 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
First deliveries of the Rapide will commence early in 2010 and will be available globally through Aston Martin’s
125 strong dealership network.
Aston Martin Rapide: 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
All alloy quad overhead cam 48 valve 5,935 cc V12
Front mid-mounted engine, rear-wheel drive
Fully catalysed stainless steel exhaust system with active bypass valves
Compression ratio 10.9:1
Maximum Power 350 kW (470 bhp/477 PS) at 6,000 rpm
Maximum Torque 600 Nm (443 lb ft) at 5,000 rpm
Acceleration: 0-100 km/h in 5.3 seconds
Max Speed 303 km/h (predicted)
Rear mid-mounted ‘Touchtronic 2’ six-speed gearbox with electronic shift-by-wire control system
Alloy torque tube with carbon fibre propeller shaft
Limited slip differential
Final Drive Ratio 3.46:1
Rack and pinion, Servotronic speed-sensitive power-assisted steering, 3.0 turns lock-to-lock
Column tilt and reach adjustment.
Wheels & tyres
20” alloy wheels
Front Bridgestone Potenza 245/40 R20
Rear Bridgestone Potenza 295/35 R20
Front: Independent double wishbone incorporating anti-dive geometry, coil springs, anti-roll bar and monotube
Rear: Independent double wishbones with anti- squat and anti-lift geometry, coil springs, anti-roll bar and
monotube adaptive dampers
Adaptive Damping System (ADS)
Front: Dual cast brake discs 390 mm diameter with six piston callipers
Rear: Dual cast brake discs 360 mm diameter with four piston callipers
Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)
Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA)
Positive Torque Control (PTC)
Electronic Park Brake (EPB)
Length: 5,019 mm (197.6”)
Width (including mirrors): 2,140 mm (84.3”)
Height: 1,360 mm (53.5”)
Fuel Capacity: 90.5 litres
Kerb Weight : 1,950 kg (target) (4,299 lb)
Full grain leather interior
Walnut facia trim
Iridium Silver centre console outer finish and Graphite inner finish
Auto-dimming interior rear-view mirror
Auto-dimming interior rear-view mirror with garage door opener (USA and Canada only)1
Electrically operated front seats
Memory front seats and exterior mirrors (three positions)
Dual stage driver and passenger front airbags
Front occupant side airbags
Head protection airbags for front and rear occupants
Heated front and rear seats
Heated rear screen
Automatic front and rear temperature control
Organic Electroluminescent (OEL) displays
LED map lamps and ambient lighting
Hard Disc Drive (HDD) satellite navigation system1,2
Bluetooth telephone preparation1
Satellite radio system (USA only)
Powerfold exterior mirrors
Front and rear parking sensors
Tyre pressure monitoring1
Alarm and immobiliser
Remote-control central door locking and boot release
Tracking device (UK only)3
Boot mounted umbrella
In Car Entertainment
1,000 W Bang & Olufsen BeoSound audio system with ICEpower® technology
Integrated Apple iPod® connector4
USB connector with Waveform Audio Format (WAF), Windows Media Player (WMA) and MPEG (MP3) audio file compatibility
3.5 mm auxiliary input socket
Cooled front and rear seats
Twin screen rear seat entertainment system with 6-disc DVD player, auxiliary input, wireless headphones and remote control
Alternative facia trim finishes – Mahogany, Piano Black, Bamboo, Tamo Ash, Birds Eye Maple, Olive Ash Burl, Double Apex Alloy
Matching wood door trim
Colour-keyed steering wheel
Second glass key
Magnum silver rear lamp infills
Delete model badging
Delete protective tape
20” alloy wheels with graphite finish
20” alloy wheels with polished finish
Alternative brake calliper finish – black, red, silver
Personalised sill plaques
Auto dimming interior rear view mirror with garage door opener (Europe only)
Alarm upgrade (volumetric and tilt sensor)
First aid kit
Ashtray and Cigar Lighter
1 Not available in all markets
2 Includes Traffic Messaging Channel (TMC) in Continental Europe
3 Complies with UK Thatcham Category 5 requirements. Excludes subscription. Standard in UK
4 iPod® is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the US and other countries
Aston Martin Rapide: Design
Instantly recognisable as an Aston Martin, the Rapide assumes its extra doors gracefully to visually
remain every bit a sporting coupe as its 'sister' models. 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. The opening angle of the doors has been increased
to 70 degrees to allow easy ingress and egress. Front on, the new polished alloy upper and lower grille
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 providing 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 providing 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.
Echoing the beauty of the exterior, Rapide’s interior welcomes all occupants to a exquisitely 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 Aston Martin 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.
Both rear passengers are treated to their own individual heating and air conditioning operated
independently from the front system. 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. The rear heating and air conditioning can also be
controlled via the rotary dial located between the front seats giving the driver full control.
Aston Martin engineers chose to integrate an electronic park brake into Rapide saving space to the side
of the seat and providing an uncluttered centre console. A revised Bluetooth™ microphone is located above
the driver’s head improving sound pick-up from the driver’s voice to give crystal clear conversations.
The long swooping front centre console continues all the way through to the rear seamlessly linking the
front environment to the rear, thus providing a sense of involvement for the rear passengers. Large storage
binnacles set between both the front and rear seats provide ample space to store CDs, games and keep
valuables from view.
Two individually appointed sports seats form the rear environment of the Rapide. Aston Martin’s design
and engineering team paid special attention to providing a space that is cosseting 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. Despite the low sleek coupe appearance,
adequate leg and head room accommodates adults and children in comfort.
Rear passengers can benefit from the optional Aston Martin rear entertainment system; two LCD screens
are seamlessly integrated into the back of the front seat head restraints optimally positioned at eye level.
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,
so however long the journey, passengers will be treated to a rich audio-visual experience. Should the
passengers have different taste in entertainment whether it be a DVD, a games device or simply listening
to an MP3 player; the screens can be operated independently combined with wireless headphones. A infra-red
remote control is supplied to control the video and sound from the comfort of the seat.
Continuing the successful brand partnership between Bang & Olufsen and Aston Martin who share similar
values in design and craftsmanship; Rapide is fitted as standard with the 1,000 W BeoSound Rapide - a
bespoke sound system tailored to the Rapide. Some 15 speakers have been optimally located throughout the
cabin to deliver the finest sound quality naturally associated with Bang & Olufsen. The famous Danish audio
specialist’s skilled Tonmeisters worked closely with Aston Martin’s acoustic engineers during the entire
development of Rapide to provide a soundstage that cannot be localised to any particular speaker and
delivering notes that are precise to the instrument played or the vocal sung.
Turning on the BeoSound Rapide, the occupants are greeted with a sense of theatre as the two Acoustic
Lenses rise silently from the dashboard.
Acoustic Lens Technology (ALT) enables a wide (180 degrees) horizontal dispersion of high frequencies.
The technology prevents the loss of critical sound and gives listeners an improved sense of space. ALT
allows sound to be focused within the car depending on who is inside. In Auto mode, Beosound Rapide uses
sensors on the seatbelts to determine how many people are in the car and their location and will adjust
the soundstage for the optimum sound experience. Manual override options feature for: Driver, (focus sound
solely on the driver) Front (focus on two front passengers), Rear (two rear passengers) and All Round (all
The speaker grilles are formed from a single piece of aluminium and integrate seamlessly into Rapide’s
interior dispersing sound equally to all passengers. A microphone located behind the rear-view mirror
continually monitors ambient noise to adjust volume settings to compensate. The result of this leading
technology provides an unparalleled automotive audio experience.
The two rear seat-backs effortlessly fold flat at the touch of a button to produce an increased
luggage area providing 750 litres of boot space (an additional 449 litres over when the seats are in the
upright position). Well appointed, the boot space is hand-trimmed with a carpet floor and four iridium
anodised runners and tread plates. Increasing the versatility of the rear luggage compartment a divider
can be raised or lowered to provide a separate area accessible from the back seats should rear passengers
require access to their luggage during the journey.
For customers with young children, ISOFIX™ attachment points feature as standard and Aston Martin will
be offering approved child seats specifically for the Rapide.
Protecting passengers in the event of an accident, a total of eight airbags are strategically located
throughout the cabin giving peace of mind to all passengers in all driving conditions. Restraint sensors
around the vehicle help Rapide decide not only which airbag to deploy but also how aggressively depending
on the severity of impact. Seat belt pretensioners are fitted to both front and rear seats and rear
passengers are protected with individual head protection airbags ensuring that Rapide is one of the
safest sports cars on the road.
The Rapide is built in a new state-of–the-art 23,000 sq. metre manufacturing facility in Graz, Austria.
Utilising the same modern technology as the global headquarters in Gaydon, England and combining
hand-craftsmanship; the Rapide is hand built to Aston Martin’s usual exacting standards. Customers will
be able to visit the facility as part of the Aston Martin experience where specialists are able to guide
and help customers specify their Rapide with over 2.5 million different combinations of paint, options
and finishes available from Aston Martin’s core options list.
Aston Martin Rapide: Performance
Like all Aston Martins, the Rapide has undergone the marque’s strict and rigorous testing programme to
ensure the required levels of quality, durability, performance and dynamics are met. Around 50 prototypes
were built all designed to be subjected to the very toughest tests. For example, hot weather testing took
place in Death Valley, USA and Kuwait, Middle East exposing the car to temperatures in excess of 50
degrees Celsius, while cold weather assessments in Sweden and in a cold testing chamber saw prototypes
subjected to –40 degrees Celsius. High speed testing was conducted at the famous Nardo proving ground in
Italy, while dynamics were honed at the Nürburgring, Germany where prototypes were relentlessly run for
8,000 km on the Nordschleife to test all components pushing them to the very limits.
The Rapide is a sports car – a thoroughbred which can be enjoyed by four people in unison. Aston
Martin engineers have spent thousands of hours tuning suspension, throttle maps, tyres, brakes and
steering to provide a car that, while practical, also gives a dynamically engaging drive. Despite the
extra versatility, the low roof line, and therefore low centre of gravity, makes Rapide feel like an
Ian Minards, Product Development Director said: “We have learned so much with the development of
the current Aston Martin range, and Rapide has really benefited from this knowledge. Our prototypes have
been so close to production specification that we are able to really understand the car from very early
on in the development process.”
“Rapide is about the journey, and we always intended to combine the ethos of the DB9 and package
it for up to four people in comfort but preserve the excitement of driving an Aston Martin sports
The front mid-mounted 6.0 litre V12 engine which sits at the heart of Rapide produces 350 kW with
peak power being delivered at 6,000 rpm and 600 Nm and peak torque at 5,000 rpm. The resultant 0-100
km/h run is just 5.3 seconds. The engine designed and developed by Aston Martin engineers at Gaydon,
England is hand built in a dedicated facility in Köln, Germany.
The use of light weight materials has resulted in the Aston Martin Rapide’s projected weight
gaining only 190 kg over its DB9 'sibling' delivering a target kerb weight of 1,950 kg. This figure is
achieved through the use of Aston Martin’s Vertical/Horizontal (V/H) architecture – a platform
technology derived from the aerospace industry employing aluminium which is bonded rather than welded
to give a light weight 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 would require 28,000 Nm of force to be twisted through 1 degree. This torsional
rigidity is a key element in delivering the excellent dynamic feel by optimising wheel to road contact
and minimising vehicle shake and vibration.
Aside from the front doors and bonnet, all of Rapide’s body panels are new. The front guards are
formed from composite while all four doors and roof are pressed aluminium and the rear quarter panels
Ian Minards said: “Dynamically the Rapide feels every bit as agile as the DB9, I have
personally experienced the car being driven at high speed on the Nürburgring, and was enormously
impressed with its capabilities.”
The standard six-speed Touchtronic 2 automatic transmission has been calibrated to ensure that the
additional weight of Rapide has had a minimal impact on fuel economy, emissions and performance.
Derived from the same transaxle unit that was developed for the DB9, the system has been
substantially re-tuned to accommodate driving and handling characteristics of the Rapide with a final
drive ratio of 3.46:1.
System functionality is consistent with that on the DB9, with ‘Park’, ‘Reverse’, ‘Neutral’ and
‘Drive’ modes selected via facia mounted controls.
When in ‘Drive’ mode, pulling either of the leather-trimmed magnesium alloy paddles mounted on
the steering column will activate Touchtronic mode, enabling the driver to control gear shifts via
the paddles. Touchtronic mode is also accessible directly on engine start-up. Alternatively, the
‘Drive’ mode can be selected at any time by pressing the ‘D’ control on the centre console, engaging
a fully automatic mode which will select the most appropriate gear for the speed and driving
The system also includes a ‘Sport’ mode - activated by a button on the centre console – which
engages a more aggressive gear shift strategy as gear changes feel sharper and more forceful,
engine speed matching on downshifts is more aggressive and in full automatic mode, upshifts occur
at higher speeds.
A new saddle-design fuel tank has been integrated to hold 90.5 litres enabling Rapide to deliver
a range of over 300 miles without reducing the car’s sporting dynamics and serves the dual purpose
of a flat loading space in the luggage compartment.
Aston Martin Rapide: Control
As the culmination of the Aston Martin range, Aston Martin’s engineers have gained much
experience and learning from the development of the DBS, DB9 and Vantage range of sports cars –
this wealth and breadth of experience has all been channelled into Rapide to produce a four door
with unrivalled sports car characteristics. The basic ingredients have already been proven: the
powerful engine, the light weight yet stiff understructure, the honing in the toughest environments
around the world and the exhaust note which is always evocative no matter which model. Applying
these characteristics to Rapide alongside a car which is a practical four-door, was the engineers’
greatest challenge to date. The result is a car that feels every bit a sports car as its siblings,
yet provides versatility in a beautiful package.
With the six-speed Touchtronic 2 automatic gearbox mounted to the rear of the car on the
transaxle, the Rapide’s weight balance is near perfect at: 51:49, contributing to its outstanding
dynamics. This provides the driver with an engaging drive on twisty roads, and a refined, relaxed
and effortless drive on motorways and main roads. The 20” wheels are clad with Bridgestone Potenza
S001 (Front: 245/40 R20, Rear: 295/35 R20) but specifically for Rapide feature a taller side wall
to help dial out vibration and contribute to a quieter cabin.
For the first time on an Aston Martin, Rapide features a dual cast brake system. The discs are
made from two materials, cast iron and aluminium. The new technology provides dynamic advantages
in the form of reduced unsprung mass with a brake that is 15-20% lighter than a standard cast iron
brake. Using both cast iron and aluminium takes advantage of the heat resistance provided by cast
iron and the weight saving properties of aluminium. In addition, greater braking performance,
reduced corrosion, and less wear are all benefits associated with the Rapide dual cast brake
Rapide’s brake system features a new braking module delivering more discreet interventions and
provides improved functionality for existing features as well as the new Hydraulic Brake Assist
(HBA), which provides assistance in emergency braking situations. The Hydraulic Brake Assist
function identifies when the driver requires maximum braking performance, from the speed at which
the brake pedal is depressed, and automatically boosts the brake pressure up to the ABS control
threshold for as long as the driver keeps the brake pedal pressed down. As a result, stopping
distances can be substantially reduced.
To take full advantage of its extremely rigid platform, the Rapide features Adaptive Damping
System (ADS) first seen on the DBS which uses two separate valves to set the dampers to five
different positions, allowing instant adjustment of the car’s ride and handling characteristics.
The ADS automatically alters the suspension settings to ensure the driver has high levels of
control at all times, with the ability to respond instantly to different road conditions and
The Rapide’s Adaptive Damping System perfectly captures the car’s sporting character,
ensuring that stiffer dampers are available for better handling and control when the car is
being driven enthusiastically, without compromising ride comfort during ‘normal’ driving
conditions. A designated ‘Sport’ mode automatically sets all dampers to their firmest positions,
making it ideal for spirited driving.
The Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system has been specifically tuned for Rapide with emphasis
on its sporting characteristics. A two-stage DSC system allows the driver to tailor the level of
electronic intervention according to the type of driving. In default mode, the system is set to
‘on’ which will limit any tyre slip in difficult conditions, and provide the maximum amount of
security possible with out being intrusive. Holding the DSC button for 5 seconds will disengage
the system completely, allowing a pure dynamic experience.