Aston Martin NPX? Mid-engine supercar speculation

Aston Martin is considering building a mid-engine sports car to rival offerings from Ferrari and even Audi. "Aston has to look at some of the things that are being done by our competitors, like the Audi R8 and the Japanese brands," said David Richards, leader of the consortium that purchased Aston from Ford. "We believe we can expand quite considerably."

Aston's continued profitably and success will enable it to create mid-engine vehicles that were previously too costly to develop, according to AutoWeek. Previously, Aston CEO Ulrich Bez told the magazine his company had to scrap plans for a mid-engine V8 Vantage in favor of the front-engine layout, because at the time it was the only design that "made any sense financially."

Mr. Richards said there is no plan for a mid-engine car before 2010, but anonymous company executives acknowledged there could eventually be "room above Rapide for a supercar like NPX." The magazine's source said engine placement is "still a subject to be discussed."

While a range-topping supercar might not be the only mid-engine Aston planned, it would likely be the first, the magazine says. Expect a price tag somewhere above the $400,000 Rapide -- likely in line with the Mercedes SLR.

Below are two illustrations by Motor Forecast of how a mid-engine Aston Martin NPX might look: