2012 Lamborghini Estoque - A Four-Door Bull

Peter Burn

What makes the bull run
Mechanically, the front-engine Estoque is unlike either of Lamborghini's current offerings, both of which are mid-engine two-seaters. The Estoque is loosely based on the ASF (Audi aluminum spaceframe) platform shared with the next Audi A8 and Bentley Continental families. For production, an ASF architecture is bound to be the most practical choice in terms of investment, weight savings, and commonality.

A front-mounted engine is a given, and odds favor a twin-turbo V-8. To be on the safe side, the engine bay is just big enough to house Lamborghini's V-10, but that thirsty and expensive engine is more appropriate for a hard-core sports car. The show car's V-8 is derived from the V-10, but for production, Lamborghini is more likely to modify the next A8's new 4.0-liter, direct-injection twin-turbo V-8. Rated at about 420 hp and 400 lb-ft in A8 guise, it would probably get a power and torque boost to 500 hp and 480 lb-ft (although that would still put it behind the 620-hp, Lambo-sourced V-10 in Audi's next S8).

A transaxle would be nice but is difficult to accomplish with four-wheel drive. "Even with the transmission bolted to the engine, we think we can achieve a well-balanced, 55/45 percent weight distribution," states Reggiani. "Instead of the fixed torque split preferred by Audi, I would vote for an active, electronically controlled on-demand system that is even more responsive and progressive."

As for brakes, why look any further than the industry's largest-diameter rotors, which Bentley currently installs on the Continental GT? The Estoque almost certainly will get the same setup, with optional carbon-ceramic discs, of course.

The A8/Bentley architecture also offers a control-arm air suspension, but Lamborghini prefers a more pure (and lighter) approach. "For the Estoque, a more straightforward coil-spring suspension tuned by means of Audi Magnetic Ride or a similar system might be a better solution," says Reggiani.

Where to build it
The Gallardo, which shares its genes with the Audi R8, starts life in the Audi plant in Neckarsulm, Germany, and the Estoque would follow a similar build process. (Only the Murciélago is designed, developed, and built 100 percent in-house, and there's no more room at the Lambo factory in Sant'Agata Bolognese.) The Estoque's genetic link with the A8 and the Flying Spur allows the possibility of partial assembly either in Neckarsulm (Audi) or Dresden (Volkswagen/Bentley). Lamborghini would bring in semicompleted body/chassis/drivetrain units from Germany for the final build phases in Sant'Agata, to warrant that all-important, made-in-Italy provenance.

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