Four doors in Lamborghini's future

  • 10-Oct-2008 01:50 EDT

The four-door Estoque could signal a new product line for Lamborghini.

Lamborghini’s high-technology Estoque four-door concept was one of the stars of the Paris Motor Show. A "super sports sedan" with a V10 Gallardo 560-4 power unit, it could signal a third production model for Lamborghini and the emergence of a serious rival for the forthcoming Aston Martin Rapide, Porsche Panamera, and established Maserati Quattroporte.

Stephan Winkelmann, the company’s President and CEO, interviewed by AEI, said enigmatically of the design study: "This is a true Lamborghini. It has a V10 engine and permanent four-wheel drive. But it is just a concept car. We are not planning to build this car. It would be a good addendum as a third model to our lineup, but it is not planned." He did not add the words "at present."

But could the concept, which was created specifically for the Paris Show, be the basis of a new model? With a shrewd eye on both environmental issues and the state of global finances, Winkelmann stated: "Let’s see what people say. The car could be built with a different kind of engine—less powerful than the V10. It could be a turbo V8, could be a diesel—why not?" Or a hybrid? "Everything is feasible to reduce emissions. If there were to be a third model line and we talked about an everyday car with more than two seats, it would be an opportunity—but we would never dilute the values of the brand."

Front mid-engined, the Estoque (an estoque is a Spanish bullfighter’s rapier) represents one of several possibilities for a third model line. It is the first time the company has shown a sedan, although it did build the LM002 SUV from the late 1980s into the 1990s.

Even among the crème-de-la-crème of global automotive design at Paris, the car’s styling stood out as something exceptional, not least because of its huge twin front air intakes and enormous wheels—22 in front, 23 in rear.

The concept, created by small teams at Lamborghini’s Centro Stile, stands 1.35 m (53.1 in) tall and is built on a long wheelbase of 3.01 m (118.5 in). Overall length is 5.15 m (202.8 in) and the width is 1.99 m (78.3 in). Positioning the engine well back in the chassis was not a problem.

Design details include twin fuel fillers with hexagonal caps, LED light clusters at the rear, LED and bi-xenon lighting at the front, with Y-shaped daylight running lights. The concept carries some styling elements of the angular Reventon.

The interior includes four individual seats trimmed in Nappa leather and a prominent dashboard screen.

As a pure concept car, the aluminum and carbon fiber Estoque is a pure design exercise but is based on a feasible, technical concept that offers a range of fascinating alternatives for the body shell and driveline, stated Lamborghini at Paris.

Its configuration is certainly significant and, if it is carried over into a series production car, it will be the first front-engined Lamborghini since the Espada of three decades ago. If Winkelmann and the Volkswagen Group Board base their decisions regarding the Estoque concept on the reaction at Paris, its potential as a series production model would seem to be assured.

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