Family car for a gangsta
Suburban Sopranos might like this, writes MICHAEL TAYLOR
THERE is nothing nice about the Lamborghini Estoque. It is long, low and very very nasty — right down to the 5.3-litre V10 engine taken from the Gallardo supercar and set into the nose of the new Italian four-seater.
This is a gangsta car, pure and simple, but one with the potential to more than double sales for Lamborghini.
It is being shown today at the Paris Motor Show to test its potential for production and to revive a fourdoor history that has had nothing new since the Espada concept car of the e a r l y 1980s and the V12-powered LM002 — an Italian Hummer — of the same period.
Lamborghini president Stephan Winklemann says the 375kW Estoque is an operational prototype, not just a concept car, and could give Lamborghini 2000 to 3000 sales a year if it goes into production by 2012.
The price for the low-slung newcomer, which has a three-metre wheelbase, will probably be in the $350,000-plus range.
It will share its performance philosophy with the Murcielago and Gallardo road rockets but will be aimed at the same customers who will soon be considering the new Porsche Panamera and forthcoming Aston Martin Rapide as sports car companies look for growth with four-door cars aimed at older buyers.
Winklemann is bullish about plans for the Estoque.
‘‘Five years ago, we had one model selling 250 cars a year. Last year we sold 2405 cars with the twomodel strategy, but if we want to go to the next level, the next logical step is to introduce a complete, new third-model line,’’ he says.
‘‘We looked at the market and we think we miss a limousine that is elegant and sporty.’’
The Estoque is still a concept and has not been welcomed by other arms of the Volkswagen Group. But Winklemann says the Estoque marks new ground for Lamborghini in more ways than just its two extra doors. It could be the first Lamborghini designed for daily use and the first with a range of engines, which could even include an environmentally friendly diesel or hybrid.
‘‘With our existing cars, there is day-by-day usability, but they are not used every day. Most are used for less than 5000km a year.
‘‘This car is something different. It’s for everyday use.’’
Nevertheless, Lamborghini insists it will be as fast as people expect from the brand. Its top speed could be anything from 250km/h to beyond 300km/h.
The Estoque was designed at Lamborghini Centro Stile at SantAgata, Italy. Despite the familyfriendly potential, it will be a hardedged performance car.
‘‘Our current customers never have the Murcielago as their first car. We are trying to fill that gap,’’ Winklemann says.
‘‘It will be for male buyers mainly — people with a deep knowledge of the automotive business will want this car.’’
Nasty: the Lamborghini Estoque could have a range of engine options.