Plans for super saloon put on hold

Lamborghini has shelved plans to produce the dramatic Estoque four-door supercar that was unveiled at last autumn’s Paris motor show.

Maurizio Reggiani, the firm’s head of research and development, said the Estoque has been put on ice for the time being. "The timing and market conditions are just not right for an additional model line," he explained.

The Estoque was a four-door, four-seat concept with a front/mid-engined layout and permanent four-wheel drive.

Lamborghini had only committed limited feasibility funding to the Estoque project. This means the car's development was at an early enough stage for the firm to halt the project without a severe financial penalty.

The move is the first concrete evidence of Lamborghini's serious rethink of its future strategy. At Paris Lamborghini said the Estoque could be powered by a V10, a turbocharged V8, a hybrid V8 or even a high-performance diesel engine.

However, company sources say the Italian car maker's back-to-basics strategy will make dramatic weight saving a priority for future models, as well as possibly dropping turbocharging plans in favour of high-revving normally aspirated powerplants.

Reggiani is resisting pressure from a number of areas to introduce a DSG double-clutch transmission and says manual ’boxes could also be dropped.

He argues that Lambo's current e-gear transmission (which is a conventional six-speed manual gearbox with an electro-mechanical shift mechanism) offers "the best combination of weight saving and mechanical interaction".

Reggiani regards the typical DSG transmission as "too smooth" and lacking in the "sense of occasion and drama" that a Lamborghini owner wants. However, he says the next iteration of e-gear will be "really surprising".

In the short term, though, sources indicate that there will be a Superleggera version of the Gallardo LP560-4.

Hilton Holloway

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