Paris Auto Show: New Lambo Estoque

By Jack Ewing:

Neither the financial crisis nor high fuel prices seems to be discouraging luxury carmakers from inventing new toys for the very wealthy. BMW has just launched a new generation of its top-of-the-line 7 Series with rear seats that give passengers a massage, and next year Porsche will launch a four-seat coupe called the Panamera. Now comes Lamborghini with a design for a four-seat, four-wheel-drive “super sports sedan” for people who want to drive a head-turning Italian sports stallion but still bring along the kids.

Lamborghini, based in Sant’ Agata Bolognese, calls the mid-engine concept car the Estoque, after the sword a matador uses to filet a bull. Subtle. En garde, all those who think they’re posh just because they drive a Mercedes or a Lexus! This car shall make you feel like a welfare recipient!

Since the Estoque is a concept car designed for the Paris Auto Salon, Lamborghini is not making too many commitments about details such as the motor, saying it could be the same V10 used in the company’s two-seat Gallardo or a V8 derived from the same power plant. “A particularly economical, but nevertheless dynamic, variation would be a V8 with a hybrid module or an extremely high-performance TDI,” the Lamborghini press release says, in a not especially convincing nod toward the current trend for more fuel-efficient luxury cars.

But enough sarcasm. The Estoque is a car you would buy for its looks, even though you know it would break your heart at the gas pump. Will we ever see this car on the road? Lamborghini describes the car as “a design exercise” but adds “it is based on a feasible technical concept.” May be the decision will hinge on the outcome of the financial crisis, and whether there are enough people who can still afford a car this seductive and impractical.