Aston Rapide starts at £140k

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Aston Martin has ended months of speculation over where it's positioning its four-door Rapide by announcing that the luxury four-seat coupe will cost from £139,950.

That compares unfavourably with its two closest rivals - the Porsche Panamera (which costs £95k in top spec) and the Maserati Quattroporte (98k).

Aston is keen to stress that standard equipment in the Rapide includes a Bang and Olufsen stereo, heated memory seats and adaptive suspension - but the top-end Porsche comes with equipment to match and arguably surpass the British challenger.

The Rapide will be built at the Magna Steyr plant in Austria, launches in March next year, is expected to sell in quantities of 2000 a year, and will have to be superb on the road to justify its heavyweight price tag.