Following the introduction and sales uptick of the fifth-generation Maserati Quattroporte back 2003, prestige automakers were starting to warm to the idea of a high performance saloon that was also luxurious. Industry interest peaked early before tapering off quickly due to a financial crisis, with the Porsche Panamera and Aston Martin Rapide being the only production models to have materialised.
One project that was unfortunately canned was the Lamborghini Estoque concept of 2008, a sleek four-door that definitely had all the requisite visual cues and emotional triggers to be a true-blooded raging bull of Sant’Agata. The markers established there would go on to grace the Urus concept in 2012, which is only now stepping into the realm of reality and due for a full unveil in December.
But with Lamborghini’s first modern day SUV on the horizon, the Audi-owned supercar maker is again ready to rekindle their shelved performance saloon project, as reported by Autocar, with development having already begun on a new model line that’s slated for a 2021 debut.
That would mean that their line-up will essentially double by the beginning of the next decade. That is, assuming the company doesn’t announce yet more new models to supplement their existing line of mid-engine supercars - the Huracan and Aventador. However, such a move seems quite reasonable when placed in context.
For an independent manufacturer like Aston Martin to create a four-door saloon - as they had done - would require quite a big risk as development costs alone would be substantial and dangerous to the automaker should the car not sell well. For Lamborghini, their ownership under Audi (and through that, the Volkswagen Group) permits them access to a wide array of options, from platforms to engines, to manufacturing and pure financial resources, to explore more avenues to complete their objective.
Arguably, the most established catalogue of large, luxurious, high performance cars lie within VW, especially now that Porsche has debuted the second-generation Panamera. Importantly, its underpinnings, called MSB, has also been confirmed to be used to construct the next Bentley Continental GT and likely the Continental Flying Spur. Arguably, the Panamera would be the perfect template upon which Lamborghini can transform into a new segment front-runner.
Just like the concept, the four-door saloon will adopt of a front-engine layout tied to an all-wheel drivetrain and, following the approach seen with the Urus, should stay faithful to the 2008 concept car. It’s much to early for any reliable technical details to surface, but engine options will likely not include their naturally aspirated V12. Their FSI V10, however, shared with the Audi R8, is a possibility but likely to be reserved for the range-topping variant should it be feasible at all.
It’s worth remembering that Lamborghini has moved to power their Urus with the same 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 motor used in the Panamera due for the Continental GT, marking the first time a Lamborghini model will not have a naturally aspirated engine while also making for a relatively easy decision when needing to find a suitable powerplant for the Estoque. Furthermore, the precedent has been set by Porsche’s Turbo S E-Hybrid variant to pair this engine and platform with an electric motor. And while Sant’Agata brass may hold off on stepping into the electrified arena, the proposition would remain an easy one to embrace.
Lamborghini has already doubled their production capacity in anticipation for the sharp increase in volume the company will have to satisfy following the Urus, a key stepping stone for the company to reach a broader demographic and setting the stage for the introduction of a high-performance saloon. Federico Foschini, commercial director of Lamborghini, told Autocar: “The Urus is a game-changer, not just in what it will do for volumes and profits but also in terms of how it will change our customer base. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for change that we must grasp fully. It is a car for Lamborghini customers of the past, most of whom have an SUV in the garage among their collection, and for the future, for customers who love Lamborghini but have always wanted a car they can use every day.”