An Aston Martin Rapide, looking ready for production, has been caught testing on public roads. There's almost no camouflage.

Our spies have now caught the Aston Martin Rapide almost precisely as it will look when it is launched in 2009. It's seen here wearing two different rim types, probably as a visual test but also as a performance test. We can see the typically c-shaped Aston Martin rear lights, tailpipes, front grille as well as the rest of the front end quite clearly. But Aston saw it fit to hide rear wheel arches up to the C-pillar area.

The Rapide is Aston Martin's attempt at luring the family man who also has sporting aspirations. A four-door, 2+2 seater configuration is adopted in a similar fashion to the Mercedes-Benz CLS where four individual seats are fitted instead of two upfront and a bench-type seat at the back. Cars like the Porsche Panamera, recently spied BMW CS-based sports sedan and the CLS will be on the Rapide's radar. At a slightly higher level a possible Lamborghini Estoque is also a competitor.

Lately stories of one of Aston's major shareholders looking to sell its stake in the company have surfaced. For now that possibility doesn't look like it will affect the Rapide's development.


Be part of something big