The Lamborghini Estoque from Paris 2008 created a flurry of media attention and even compelled some eager buyers to put down deposits on the car during the great auto show.
Over the next year and a half, Lamborghini evaluated the concept’s production feasibility in detail – bouncing volume and pricing business plans back and forth to the Volkswagen Group board, exploring Panamera collaborations for the platform, and even building out a long-term front-engine GT car plan to accompany this gorgeous four-door to Lamborghini dealerships.
This last bit – with a front-engine coupe and cabrio joining the business plan – made the last hail mary pass deep downfield to try to save the project.But a Panamera basis? Porsche was not yet in the VW fold, and the drama over buyouts and counter-buyouts left Lamborghini guardian Audi AG in an uncomfortable spot.
Sure, the Estoque is very gorgeous and seemed on-the-buzz as a car to really compete with the Aston Martin Rapide. The Rapide’s fortunes fizzled rapidly upon arrival to market, however, providing a cautionary tale to Lamborghini executives.
Ultimately, the project was binned and a production model was ruled out completely by 2010. There numbers just did not stack up Lamborghini’s way, and the car would likely have to be built outside Italy if it were to be green-lit. A bridge too far; the Estoque was rolled back into the glamour concept garage in Sant’Agata, where it remains today.
As an idea – the Estoque four-door made perfect sense. As a design, it is also magnificent. Running the Gallardo’s powertrain flip-flopped toward the front seemed like a viable solution to needing a full engine design from scratch.
The Rapide example as well as dozens of 1960s and 1970s Lamborghini front-engine GT cars was also top-of-mind for the teams at Lamborghini. These cars, like the Jarama and numerous others, were almost too much for the small firm to manage. They never found the eager buyers that Lamborghini’s wild mid-engine models earned easily.
SO WHERE ARE WE NOW?
Two great things came of the Estoque program: the Urus concept SUV program, which is still on track for production at some point in the future, and the current Huracan.
2015 Lamborghini Huracan
Little did we know at the time, the Estoque’s design would have a huge, huge influence over the Gallardo’s replacement. Things like the crisp, flowing panel shapes all translate their essence almost directly onto the Huracan. The nose and tail are almost exact reproductions of the best Estoque ideas, but re-imagined for a mid-engine supercar.
The Urus SUV will be higher-margin, better-selling and able to come with a huge price tag that the Estoque might not have been able to justify. After all, what looks and feels like a great super-sedan for $150,000 becomes an unsale-able burden when the price is $300,000. The Aston Martin Rapide suffered this loss on Lamborghini’s behalf.
But if the Estoque project helps the Huracan be so brilliant, and an SUV be in the pipeline, we have to respect it. Indeed, the Estoque not being made has still contributed quite a bit to the Lamborghini model mix through perhaps 2020 and beyond.
Concept Flashback – 2008 Lamborghini Estoque
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.