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BBC Autos

Aston Martin by way of Italy

Bertone Rapide Jet 2+2

(Newspress)

Though Aston Martin is showing the 2013 Rapide S on its main stand at the Geneva motor show, Stile Bertone is showing something older, but far fresher.

A vehicle based on the 2012 Rapide is the centrepiece of the Italian coachbuilder’s presence here. Revolution or evolution? You decide.

Actually, no bother. The Bertone Rapide Jet 2+2, as it is called, is strictly a one-off creation built by the independent Italian design shop for a customer who wanted something truly bespoke. Inspired by the 2004 Aston Martin Jet2 concept, it is a shooting brake – a regular sports sedan up front with a wagon extension at the rear.

The one-off has won many fans in Geneva, where it made its global debut. Europeans are partial to the shooting-brake body style, and the Mercedes-Benz CLS has helped revive the sector. Indeed, at the British launch of the CLS wagon, Mercedes actually showed a coachbuilt Aston DB6 shooting brake to the press. This Bertone creation is its modern analogue.

The story here is not the drivetrain. It lacks the refreshed 558-horsepower AM11 engine of Aston’s own Rapide S, as well as the latest-generation suspension. And it is difficult to shake the sense that the owner, who has not been identified by Bertone, would care much about either shortcoming.

So convincing is the execution that the stock, otherwise stunning Rapide S seems a little staid in comparison.

Asked whether Aston could produce something similar, Aston engineering boss Ian Minards demurred, noting that a one-off is, by definition, not a production car.  But Aston could put a shooting brake model into low-volume series manufacture, he said, if there was sufficient demand. The One-77 hypercar was its first attempt at this, and the V12 Vantage-based V12 Zagato has proven Aston can make successful small-series models. If customers are clamoring for a shooting brake, then Aston could do it.

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