Goodbye Aston Martin Rapide, Hello DBX-Inspired Crossover
When the production version of the Aston Martin Rapide was shown at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, it wowed, partly because the design was just as beautiful as the concept had promised it would be. It there were ever a car that could honestly be called a four-door coupe, it would be the Aston Martin Rapide. To the untrained eye, the Rapide looked no different than any of Aston’s true, two-door coupes.
With a 470 horsepower V12 under the hood, the Rapide was no slouch either, and while the Porsche Panamera cost less and could out-handle it on a track, the Rapide was clearly the best looking sedan on the market. Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and that includes Rapide production. In its place, Aston Martin has confirmed that it will be developing a production version of the DBX crossover concept and a new Lagonda sports sedan.
The Lagonda sedan that will be replacing the Rapide is not the Taraf that’s currently sold in the Middle East. With only 200 examples planned for production, Aston Martin has no intention of wasting a few of them on crash tests. Instead, Aston Martin will be expanding the Lagonda lineup with a new sports sedan. Details on that car are nearly nonexistent, but it’s expected to be sold worldwide, and there’s a good chance that it will continue with the Taraf’s design language. It will also probably cost less than the Taraf as well.
Details on the DBX-inspired crossover, on the other hand, are much more abundant. First of all, unlike the DBX, the production version will have four doors and a hatchback. In fact, it will probably be a more traditional crossover SUV, not a high-riding version of one of Aston Martin’s sports cars. The interior and the roofline will need to be reworked to provide space and headroom for at least four passengers, but the company has no intention of completely sacrificing form for function. Whatever it ends up looking like, you can expect it to still be beautiful.
Aston Martin is also focusing on ease of access with its first CUV. It wants the seating position to be higher, with back doors that are easy to get in and out of, and enough luggage space to hold a suitcase or two. That’s partly because Aston Martin is hoping to attract more female buyers. Currently, 96% of Aston Martin buyers are male, which leaves a large demographic nearly untapped. Aston Martin would like to sell a vehicle that can convince those successful businesswomen to part with their money just the same as the DB9 convinces their male counterparts to part with their money. Production DBX customers better have a lot of money to part with though because it’s expected to cost nearly a quarter of a million dollars.
One significant change in the production version from the DBX concept is that it will not be an electric vehicle. There will probably be a plug-in hybrid version, but there will also be a regular gasoline-powered version. A pure electric version may come later, but the first generation won’t try to break the mold too much. From a sales and reliability perspective, it’s probably a good idea to build a crossover SUV first and worry about electrifying it later. A five-door, lifted Aston Martin is already a pretty wild departure from what the brand is known for, and only offering a pure-electric version could be a bit too large of a pill for potential buyers to swallow.
While it’s sad to see the Rapide go, it makes sense to have Lagonda be the division that’s responsible for sedans. As for the DBX, a crossover SUV is certainly way outside the wheelhouse of what Aston Martin is traditionally known for, but crossovers are in high demand, and selling one would likely be easy money. Having a volume model to prop up the sales of its sports cars worked well for Porsche, so why shouldn’t it work for Aston Martin?
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