Lamborghini Estoque

Everyone blinked twice and looked again and — yes — it really was a Lamborghini. But of course this racy four-door sports saloon concept car was indeed most unlike any previous Lambo.

It wowed the Paris Salon d’Automobiles in 2008, showing that the Audi-owned company was definitely thinking outside its traditional box . . and was on the competitive ball, being aware that both Porsche and Aston Martin were working on high-performance saloons.

However different, there was unmistakable Lamborghini DNA in the long, lean Estoque with its compelling presence, rapacious front end, firm low profile, crouching stance, sharp styling and clean lines. This front-mid-engined car demonstrated the design flair contained within the Centro Stile at Sant’Agata Bolognese.

Although the designers put the emphasis on performance, they ensured that the car looked great and could carry four in comfort on a long run, along with their luggage. The luxurious interior with four individual seats was inspired by the limited-edition Lamborghini Reventon with its aircraft-style instrument display.

The Estoque concept car shown in Paris was refined but powerful. It had been fitted with a 5.2 litre VIO from the Gallardo LP560-4, tuned to deliver more torque and less horsepower than the Gallardo. Power was transferred to the tarmac via Lambo’s all-wheel drive system linked to a seven-speed, double-clutch sequential gearbox controlled by paddles.

Will the Estoque morph into the third Lamborghini model line, alongside the Murcielago and Gallardo? The general feeling amongst informed petrolheads was affirmative, because the Estoque looked like a seriously good car and rival manufacturers were on the same track.

But that was before the credit crunch, evaporation of many a mighty bonus and unwillingness of those who still had piles of cash to be seen spending it extravagantly. Maybe in a year or two?

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

Italy

FIRST MANUFACTURED:

2008

ENGINE:

5,204 cc V10

PERFORMANCE:

Top speed of 202 mph (325 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.5 secs (both estimated)

YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Inevitably, the Estoque’s name is derived from the corrida de toros – this time borrowing the Spanish word for the short, sharp sword that is used by the bullfighter to deliver the final, fatal blow to his tormented adversary.

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