Aston Martin Rapide: Design
information supplied by: Aston Martin
15 September 2009
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 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.
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 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 creating 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 creating 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 valuable 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 creating 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 headrests 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 1000 W BeoSound Rapide - a bespoke sound system tailored to the Rapide. 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 create 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 four passengers). The speaker grills 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 creates 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 creating 750 litres of boot space (an additional 449 litres over when the seats are in the upright position). Well appointed, the boot space is handtrimmed 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 create 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. Seatbelt 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.