Aston Martin Rapide: Hope and glory

Aston Martin, the Gaydon, England-based sports car manufacturer -- though they'll always be in Newport Pagnell in my mind -- has released near-production images of its upcoming Rapide super sedan, and it is a stunner.

The car, based on the DB9 coupe, will probably see the light of day in Geneva in March. The four-place, four-door coupe is entering a burgeoning class of high-end four-door spaceships, including the Porsche Panamera, the Audi A7 and the (proposed) Lamborghini Estoque and BMW 8-Series. Can Mercedes be far behind? My sources tell me they are not.