The word from Ulrich Bez, Chairman and CEO of Aston Martin, was clear: to produce the most beautiful four-door on the market. “Elegance and beauty”, explains Marek Reichman, the brand’s design chief, “were the two stars we had in our sights”.
As a first assignment, the Rapide was quite something: summoned urgently last June to take over the position left vacant by Henrik Fisker, Reichman managed to complete this working prototype, which some say could also be an early response to the four-door Porsche project announced for 2008, in just a little over six months.
“In terms of elegance,” says Ulrich Bez, “the Rapide adds value to the undisputed styling of the DB9. Our cars must look beautiful from every point of view and this four-door is extremely well balanced.” It is exactly 5 metres long (21 centimetres longer than the DB9), it is 1.89 wide and 1.33 tall. The soft curves of the side panel surge vigorously into the rear wing, while the roof stays low and slips delicately into the tail. A roof that is, incidentally, the demonstration of how much attention has been paid to materials and details. “It is luminous,” says Reichman, “and you feel as if you’re in a glider”. But just press a button and the liquid crystals that it contains do the rest, transforming it into an opaque surface. There are details like the leather of the seats, printed to give it a special effect and with rough, prominent stitching for a sporting touch. Aston Martin clients are rather special and it is not a coincidence that at the present moment Reichman is working on the DBS, the car that will be ready in April for the new James Bond film “Casino Royale”.
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 157