2008 Paris Auto Show: Lamborghini Estoque Concept
There never has been a four-door sedan quite like the Lamborghini Estoque, which made its world debut amidst a somewhat ludicrous fashion show of scowling models wearing Lamborghini sportswear. Lambo boss Stephan Winkelmann said the V-10-powered all-wheel-driven car is only a concept, but we'd guess the factory is tooling up at this very moment to produce it given the upcoming 4-door Porsche Panamera and Aston Martin Rapide.
As is Lamborghini's custom, the name comes from the world of bullfighting (it's a matador's sword), and placement of the engine in front of the driver evokes the tremendous Lamborghini Espada from the late '60s and '70s. It was also quite refreshing to hear nothing about CO2 around the Lamborghini stand.
Why it Matters
The idea of "four-door sports cars" has been with us for two decades thanks to Nissan's marketing for the Maxima. However, these days there are three real four-door sports cars on the horizon. The Lamborghini Estoque Concept is a direct reply to the forthcoming Porsche Panamera and Aston Martin Rapide sedans. It brings to the fray the kind of styling punch that we expect from Italy's most bull-headed brand, and if it makes it to production, it's sure to be a hell of a challenge to the German and British makes.
What it Looks Like
The Lamborghini Estoque Concept is impossible to ignore. The front end is highly reminiscent of the brand's sports cars, specifically the Lamborghini Reventon super-exotic. The rear echoes the same. However, the middle section is almost boring, as if someone at Lamborghini simply stretched a Reventon and added two doors. Still, we like the overall proportions, and the sloping trunk area reminds us of a Chevy Camaro, of all things. No matter what, you have to look at it.
What's Under the Skin
Since the Lamborghini Estoque is a concept, there is no actual drivetrain in the car. Thus, the information available is pretty pie-in-the-sky. Anything from the Gallardo LP 560-4's V-10 to a powerful and torquey turbodiesel could make its way under the hood of the Estoque.
Lamborghini does make a point of noting how much space there is between the front and rear wheels, and how much room it creates in the cabin for the four occupants. The engine is also located behind the front axle line, allowing Lamborghini to call the Estoque Concept "mid-engined," even though the engine is in front of the passenger compartment.
What We Think
So far, the super-sedan competition – which is purely theoretical, as none of the cars are on sale yet – has been divided into two camps. The first is the sexy Aston Martin Rapide, and the second is the smart Porsche Panamera. The Lamborghini Estoque Concept cleaves between the two, offering up eye-catching styling that isn't quite as beautiful as the Aston, but with mechanicals that could in theory rival the Panamera.
By Keith Buglewicz and Greg Brown
Photo credit: Greg Brown