Mega-saloon could be on sale by 2012

Lamborghini will be making the stunning Estoque saloon by 2012, providing the firm’s cost projections hold water. In a frank admission of the company’s ambition to broaden its product range, Lambo’s R&D boss Maurizio Reggiani told Autocar that the business case for the Estoque is currently being made. If approved by VW’s executive board, the car will enter development at Sant’Agata early next year, and should appear in showrooms towards the end of 2011 with a price tag of less than £150,000.>> See more pics of the Lamborghini Estoque>> Read Matt Saunders' blog on Lambo's new mega-saloon

If Lamborghini’s plans for the Estoque survive the approval process unchanged, the car will run the same all-wheel drive system as the Gallardo, and a version of that car’s 5.2-litre direct injection V10 petrol engine tuned for about 500bhp and 450lb ft of torque; that’s less power than the smaller LP560-4, but torque will be delivered at lower revs – allowing the saloon to deliver performance with less effort than Lamborghini’s high-revving sportscars. Power will be delivered to the road by a new seven-speed twin clutch gearbox – a first for Lamborghini, which currently offers manual and robotised manual ‘E-Gear’ transmissions.Several other powertrains are being considered for what could be the first Lamborghini in history to offer more than one engine and drivetrain option from launch. As Reggiani confirmed, the Estoque’s platform has been conceived to accept both V8 twin-turbo petrol and diesel engines. Lamborghini is also investigating the possibility of buying in a hybrid electric propulsion system to mate with both V8s, the aim being to make cheaper, low-CO2 models.“The pressure is already on us to do something significant to lower CO2,” Reggiani says. “We will never offer our super-sports cars with diesel engines, and we will never resort to turbocharging for those cars either; to do either would betray our heritage and customers, and for Murcielago and Gallardo we can make the savings in other ways.“But the opportunity is there to develop a turbocharged, maybe even a diesel engine for Estoque, and since the car could be well-priced and could sell in quite large numbers for us, it’s a big chance for us. No Lamborghini will ever emit 120g/km, but still we have to improve our figures and make progress.”In its flagship V10 specification the Estoque will be electronically limited to 186mph. The Estoque’s new platform has been adapted using a mix of Gallardo components and others sourced from within the VW Group – but Reggiani was quick to deny rumours that its mechanically similar to either the current Audi A8 or the next: “Of course we have used as many mechanical synergies as necessary to meet our cost targets, but this is an all-new platform; it has to be,” he insists. “If you consider the length of the wheelbase and the size of the wheels (the Estoque concept boasts 23 inch rims at the rear), this could not be an A8 floorplan.”And the Lambo boss was also keen to dispel rumours that the decision-makers on VW’s board of executives aren’t convinced by the Estoque which, he says, will occupy a much different and more rarified area of the market than Porsche’s Panamera, and still be much cheaper than Aston Martin’s Rapide. “We are not crazy,” he said; “we’ve involved and consulted the group management at every opportunity during the development of Estoque. We have already had some great feedback from them following the car’s unveiling at Paris; once we finish the business, we anticipate they will be enthusiastic to see the car in production.”

Matt Saunders

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