The Aston Martin Rapide concept is a four-door, high performance coupÃ© of remarkable grace and poise. Based on Aston Martin’s unique VH (Vertical/Horizontal) architecture, the Rapide combines the company’s commitment to power, beauty and soul with space and practicality for every eventuality.
While the Rapide retains Aston Martin’s inherent design characteristics the additional length and extra doors build upon the DB9’s taut, poised stance, generating a natural, even flow and a dynamic sensation that’s conveyed even when the Rapide is standing still. “In terms of elegance the Rapide is adding value to the DB9’s undisputed elegance and subtle understatement,” says Dr Ulrich Bez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Aston Martin. “Our cars must look beautiful from all angles, and the four-door is very well balanced.” Practicality and power are the Rapide’s signature qualities, but above all it is recognisably an Aston Martin, a testament to the strength of the marque’s design language. The Rapide’s four-door body provides greater access to the extended architecture, making it a performance car for every occasion. “The proportions must be perfect,” says Dr Bez, “if we couldn’t achieve this then we wouldn’t have made the car.”
Underpinning the Rapide concept is Aston Martin’s VH architecture, developed to offer exceptional manufacturing flexibility. This high-strength, low-mass architecture forms the backbone of the current generation of Aston Martins, spearheaded by the DB9 Coupe and flanked by the DB9 Volante and the Vantage.
The extruded aluminium construction of the VH architecture can be modified in both length and width, providing a myriad of packaging options, and the chemically-bonded structure (using glues derived from aircraft manufacture) is mated with bodywork that mixes aluminium and composite materials. The architecture’s flexibility is further demonstrated by its use in the DBR9 racing car, where it is combined with carbon-fibre composite body panels to produce a modern race car of rare beauty.
Aston Martin’s traditional hand-finishing, craft skills and attention to detail operate side by side on the ultra-modern production line at Gaydon in Warwickshire. The VH architecture is at the heart of this manufacturing operation, its modu