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Spyshot: Aston Martin Rapide takes to road

Aston Martin might be shedding a third of its workforce as a belt-tightening exercise to see it through the financial crisis, but it’s still hard at work developing new products. 

Our spies caught this near production-ready
Rapide four-door on test recently in Warwickshire.

We’re a year away from seeing the new limo in showroom spec; when it does arrive in the third quarter of 2009, it will go head-to-head with the upper echelons of the sports saloon market – up against the likes of the new Porsche Panamera, Maserati Quattroporte and top-end Mercedes S-Classes.

Our spyshots reveal a car that’s very close in spirit to the DB9 sports car whose mechanical package has sired the Rapide. 

The super-saloon is a bit stretched compared to the coupé, its longer wheelbase allowing room for that extra pair of doors.

Design boss Marek Reichman tells us that the Rapide will have “a more muscular feel and appearance than
the DB9”, but you certainly won’t mistake this limo for anything other than an Aston Martin.

Technical highlights of the Rapide include the availability of a full-length glass sunroof and a 6.0-litre V12 cranking out a solid 500bhp.

Interestingly, the Rapide is the first Aston Martin to be built outside the United Kingdom. The company has contracted out final assembly to Magna Steyr in Austria as it doesn’t have excess capacity at its Warwickshire factory.

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