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First look: Lambo shocks with Estoque super tourer

Super sports sedan: Four-seat concept is 540mm longer than the Murcielago.

Lamborghini unveils its shocking four-door Italian supercar, the Estoque sedan

2 Oct 2008

IT STARTED with a picture of its exhaust outlets two weeks ago and continued with the release of four further detail images and a sketch, but not even a slow-reveal campaign could prepare the world for Lamborghini’s first sedan.

You read it correctly: Italy’s hard-core Raging Bull brand has confirmed it is about to do the unthinkable by releasing full official images and details of a brand-new four-door concept dubbed the Estoque on the eve of its world public premiere at the Paris motor show today.

Lamborghini describes the Estoque a study or concept created specifically for the 2008 Paris Salon d’Automobiles, conceding only that it “represents one of several possibilities for a third model series within the Lamborghini product line-up.

“At this point in time, no decisions have been taken in respect of either a third model series of any kind or of the Estoque concept in particular.”

But anything other than a production future would be an embarrassment for Lamborghini after its high-profile drip-feed reveal campaign that hailed the Estoque as “a new world” and which now claims it creates a new vehicle segment as a “super sports sedan”.

Not that Lamborghini is alone among its supercar peers in producing a four-door “coupe” that delivers supercar-style statistics, nor is the Estoque Lamborghini’s first four-seater, but it has been three decades since Lamborghini last sold one in the front-mounted V12-powered Espada, built between 1968 and 1978.

51 center imageEncouraged by access to the skunk works and parts bins of its Volkswagen Group parent company, Lamborghini has joined the four-door coupe craze started by Mercedes-Benz with its successful CLS, followed by Maserati with its popular Quattroporte and soon to be cashed in on by Porsche and Aston Martin with their respective Panamera and Rapide models.

Given the outlandishness of the thought of the Estoque being based on sister company Porsche’s Panamera, best speculation is that it shares an aluminium spaceframe foundation with the A8 flagship from Audi, yet another VW Group brand.

Likely to be capable of propelling four people to 100km/h in the 4.5-second region and to beyond 300km/h in relative comfort, Lamborghini says the Estoque is a unique front mid-engined design with permanent all-wheel drive and “a sophisticated, precision-tuned chassis”.

Of course, it also claims the Estoque, a name we’re still not sure how to pronounce but apparently follows Lamborghini’s bullfighting-related naming convention by referring to a matador’s traditional sword, “brings a whole new versatility to the brand’s DNA” by being “both a dedicated sports car and a relaxed Gran Turismo”.

Despite being only 1.35 metres tall, making it about 200mm higher than Lamborghini’s flagship Murcielago coupe but still lower-slung than its chief rivals, it’s claimed to be surprisingly spacious and easy to alight enter/exit via its four large, wide-opening doors.

Riding on a “stately” 3010mm wheelbase (a full 345mm longer than that of Murcielago V12), the Estoque measures 5150mm long and 1990mm wide overall – more than half a metre longer yet 70mm narrower than the 340km/h Murcie.

As such Lamborghini describes the Estoque’s proportions as “simply fascinating: no other automobile combines so convincingly the elegance of length with the sporting attributes of a low profile and impressive breadth”.

There’s certainly no mistaking the Estoque for anything other than a Lamborghini, with its long wheelbase, wide track, short overhangs, aggressive snout, flat bonnet, narrow daylight opening, and flat rear with negative tail camber.

Naturally, however, the front-engined four-door Lambo is not nearly as aggressive as either the Gallardo or Murcielago, whose mid-engined two-door layouts dictate a shorter bonnet and more central glasshouse ahead of a pronounced tail-end, plus the Raging Bull’s typically massive side air inlets.

Instead the Centro Stile Lamborghini-designed Estoque gets a pair of front side quarter vents ahead of the 22-inch five double-spoke front wheels, and heavily pumped rear guards wrapped around larger 23-inch rear wheels.

Few other statistics are available for the Estoque concept, the production version of which Lamborghini says could be powered by either the Gallardo LP560-4’s 5.2-litre V10 (also seen in the Audi S6 and S8) or “a turbocharged eight-cylinder derived from this V10.

“A particularly economical, but nevertheless dynamic, variation would be a V8 with a hybrid module or an extremely high-performance TDI,” tempts the supercar maker.

The unique interior follows the front-end’s new V-shaped design theme and features four individual sports seats wrapped in Nappa leather, a large programmable driver’s LCD screen for vehicle and route information, “top-class” sound and rear entertainment systems.

“As a pure concept car, the Estoque is a design exercise and a further indicationof the innovative power of the Lamborghini brand,” says the Italian maker. “Yet, it is based on a feasible technical concept that offers a whole range of fascinating alternatives for the body shell and driveline.

“Just like the brand’s super sports cars, the Estoque uses a mid-engine layout.

However, the high-performance driveline used here is not located in front of the rear axle, as in the Gallardo and Murciélago or in the Reventón, but behind the front axle.

“This front mid-engine concept, with the driveline set way back, facilitates balanced weight distribution and a centre of gravity close to the vehicle’s vertical axis. Both ensure the unparalleled agility and handling precision of a mid-engine vehicle,” says Lambo.

Expect the Estoque to join the Lamborghini line-up positioned somewhere between the $475,000 Gallardo coupe and Murcielago coupe, which this month rose 11.6 per cent in price from $675,678 to $754,300 in Australia (where the LP640 roadster is up an even bigger 13.7 per cent or almost $100,000, from $714,693 to $812,300), when it goes on sale from about 2011.

Provided there are enough well-heeled supercar buyers with families or golf habits remaining after the Panamera and Rapide parade their wares, it could go close to doubling Automobili Lamborghini SpA’s global sales, which numbered 2400 last year.

Read more:

First look: Lamborghini’s “new world” breaks cover

Lambos to get lighter

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