The alternative Lambo

Lamborghini is synonymous with the supercar and hypercar worlds. They have long been the pioneers in aesthetics combined with cutting edge technology to provide the world with exquisite examples of work. It is however not the only territory Lamborghini has explored over the years, and with good reason too.

Lamborghini started experimenting with alternative ranges and additions to their super-sports car only portfolio quite while back. The first occourence of this explanatory voyage started in 1976, with the Cheetah. The car was the first attempt at potentially providing the United States military with off-road vehicles. Lambo was after some much needed cash to keep the company afloat, however after many complications the entire project was scrapped. (Lambocars 2000-2013) After a few updates and improvement over following the years, the LM002 came to fruition in 1986, and was the last example of Lamborghini’s detour for decades to come. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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For the next 22 years, the company continued producing sports and supercars only, and had no intensions of broadening their customer base until the year 2008. On the 1st of October the company revealed their brand new idea, and stepping away from the norm, a 4-door saloon. This car was the impressive looking Lamborghini Estoque. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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The design aesthetics and styling followed the fundamental elements of a true raging bull. Although this was the pre-Aventador era, and the car got a lot of its styling and use of lines from the Murcielago and the Gallardo, it also made a lot of innovative changes to carry the aesthetic characteristics into future Lamborghinis. The car featured a crisp look, utilising the signature geometric intakes and included features such as the Y-shaped headlights, and taillamps, which were implemented into the later released Aventador.

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The car was initially designed to use Audi’s modular-longitudinal platform, which were a basis for cars such as the Audi A4, A6, A7, A8 and VW Phaeton. This was an obvious choice as Lamborghini is owned by the Volkswagen group, and therefore, platform sharing would mean less production costs for such an extreme 4-door saloon. (Caranddriver 2015) The Estoque was going to be at the top-end of the 4-door saloon market, and was set out to challenge the likes of Porsche with their Panamera, which was under development at the same time, as well as Audi’s new top-of-the line Audi A7, S7, the Mercedes-Benz CLS and the Aston Martine Rapide. (Caranddriver 2015)

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In terms of power and speed this was going to be no challenge at all, as the Estoque housed a colossal 5.2 litre V10 engine, taken straight from the production Gallardo LP560-4, meaning 560bhp was on tap to propel the extravagant family supercar. (Lambocars 2000-2013) The drivetrain was naturally going to be a 4-wheel drive and so the car was going to hold its own all the way up to its’ limited top speed of 186mph (299km/h). (Autocar 2014) This was accompanied by prospects to possibly use a turbo diesel engine as well as a hybrid V8.

Lamborghini had had very high hopes with the Estoque, and projected sales figured said that a production of about 1500-2000 models would be an annual goal. The expected launch for public purchase had been placed at the year 2012, and entering showrooms as early as the end of year 2011. (Autocar 2014)

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Unfortunately 2009 brought with it an economic downturn, and Lambo put the idea of introducing a 3rd product into their range on hold. Lamborghini had not taken any decisions on production, (Topgear 2015) and the project was therefore halted as it was to be an unstable venture at the time. After that, the idea of a high-end family car has not been explored again, and it really is a pity as a 4-door super saloon would have been a great addition to the Lambo line-up.

The ventures did not stop there however, as in an unpredictable turn of events, Lambo brought to reality the Urus; and unveiled it at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show.

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The Urus is Lamborghini’s modern take on an SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle), intended to carry a family of four, on an everyday basis. (Topgear 2015) The car is set to be a threat against the most luxurious of SUV’s in the market such as the Porsche Cayenne, Mercedes G-Class, Range Rover Sport and the 2016 Bentley SUV. The price was to sit at around £150,000 which sets it right between the Aventador and all new Huracàn. (Topgear 2015)

“SUVs make up one of the most successful market segments worldwide, and the Urus is the most extreme interpretation of the SUV idea: it is the Lamborghini of SUVs.” ( Stephen Winkelmann, Lamborghini CEO cited in Topgear 2012)

It is said to use an evolution of Audi’s LBM platform, and will share it with the also VW owned, Porsche Cayenne, VW Touareg and Audi Q7 platforms. (Autocar 2014) If this venture is successful, then Lamborghini will surely be capturing the high-end SUV market with force. In terms of engine, the car is planned to make use of a plug-in hybrid, an Audi derived V8 or even a diesel powerhouse making about 600bhp. (Digitaltrends 2015)

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The styling makes use of Lamborghini’s classic linework, and takes a lot of cues from the Estoque 4-door saloon supercar. The Urus features large geometric intakes in the front, coupled with an adjustable front spoiler, (Topgear 2015) It also integrates the new aesthetic language of Lambo lights, as in, it uses a Y-shaped lighting solution in both the front and rear of the vehicle. Crisp lines, mixed with large muscular fenders, give the car a powerful stance and a strong presence, which surely will be intimidating to see in your rear-view mirror.

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Currently the Urus is set to have its official production launch in 2017, although with never ending turmoil in the Middle East, and uncertainty from Audi’s point of view, the Urus production might still be affected. Lamborghini, likes to set out on unknown ventures, and so, I wouldn’t put money on it, although, the Cayenne worked brilliantly for Porsche, and with Bentley releasing their own SUV in 2017 as well, (Digitaltrends 2015) I would say positive prospects were high.

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A 4-door alternative to Lamborghini’s line-up would be a brilliant step forward into the future, and could even reinvent the name. This combined with the Asterion’s positive introduction of a plug-in hybrid system, could bring with it an extremely prosperous future for Lamborghini.

 

References:

Autocar.co.uk (2015) Lamborghini Estoque: Full Details [online]. available from <http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/new-cars/lamborghini-estoque-full-details>

Caranddriver.com (2015) Lamborghini Estoque to Share Platform with Audi A7 [online]. available from < http://www.caranddriver.com/news/lamborghini-estoque-to-share-platform-with-audi-a7-car-news> [November 2008]

Caranddriver.com (2015) Lamborghini Estoque Still Years from Launch [online]. available from <http://www.caranddriver.com/news/lamborghini-estoque-still-years-from-launch-car-news>[October 2008]

Digitaltrends.com (2015) Lamborghini’s Ludicruos off-roader SUV, the Urus, Confirmed for 2017 production Date [online]. available from <http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/lamborghini-urus-confirmed-2017/

Digitaltrends.com (2015) Lamborghini still wants the Urus SUV, But Audi Doesn’t Think customers will [online]. available from <http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/lamborghini-urus-suv-scrutinized-by-audi/

Lambocars.com (2000 – 2013) Lamborghini – TIMEline [online]. available from <http://www.lambocars.com/timeline.html>

Lambocars.com (2000 – 2013) LM002 – the STORY [online]. available from <http://www.lambocars.com/off_road/lm002.html

Lambocars (2000-2013) Cheetah – the STORY [online]. available from <http://www.lambocars.com/off_road/cheetah.html>

Topgear.com (2015) Estoque: Dead or Alive? [online]. available from <http://www.topgear.com/uk/car-news/Lamborghini-Estoque-2009-03-25>[25 March 2009]

Topgear.com (2015) Lamborghini’s new SUV: this is the Urus [online]. available from < http://www.topgear.com/uk/car-news/lamborghini-urus-suv-revealed-2012-04-22>

 

Image references:

Searchpp.com (2014) available from <http://tinoto.vn/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Lamborghini-Urus.2.jpg>

Searchpp.com (2014) available from <http://www.nettekeyif.net/data/media/56/2012-lamborghini-urus-concept-2.jpg>

Tuningnews.net (2003-2014) available from <http://www.tuningnews.net/news/081001/lamborghini-estoque-concept-hr-01.jpg>

Tuningnews.net (2003-2014) available from < http://www.tuningnews.net/news/081001/lamborghini-estoque-concept-hr-02.jpg>

Tuningnews.net (2003-2014) available from < http://www.tuningnews.net/news/081001/lamborghini-estoque-concept-hr-03.jpg>

Tuningnews.net (2003-2014) available from <http://www.tuningnews.net/news/081001/lamborghini-estoque-concept-hr-04.jpg>

Wallpcars.com (2013) available from <http://wallpcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/2015-lamborghini-urus-gallery–2017-lamborghini-urus-concept-by-jordan-shiraki.jpg>

Wallpaperofcar.com (2014) available from < http://wallpaperofcar.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/lamborghini%20urus-pSOxu-1025×683.jpg>

 

 

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The new era of Lamborghini

Lamborghini had gained a new status after the release of the ever successful Murciélago and Gallardo models. The house of the Raging Bull had been combined with the precision and expertise of German engineering, which amounted to better overall cars. This was by far the best direction for the brand; as it expanded the customer base and provided quality and reliability to the superiority and prowess of Lamborghini. Unfortunately, as usual, all good things must come to an end; although as nature would have it, this can only be followed by progression and evolution.

By 2011, the Murciélago name was celebrating its’ 10 year reign at the top of the supercar food chain, and the release of the new chief Lambo was impending on the World. On the other hand though, the descendant to the baby Lambo was only forthcoming two years down the line, meaning, manufacture and indeed progressive models and releases of the current range were still churning out at a massive rate.

The latter comprised of five model releases of Gallardo. Namely, the two-tone Gallardo LP560-4 Bicolore, the LP570-4 Singapore Limited Edition, as well as the Gallardo Tricolore, celebrating Italy’s 150 years of unification. All of them were limited editions in their own respects, and furthermore also included the LP570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale, a hard-core street legal version of the Super Trofeo race car. (Lambocars 2000-2013) Finally, a proper production model, the Gallardo 550-2 Spyder was also announced. The embodiment of true open top super car driving pleasure, came in the form of a rear-wheel drive V10, providing 550bhp to the rear wheels, and catapulting the car to 60mph (+-100kph) in a mere 4.2 seconds. Capable of reaching 198mph (319km/h) with the top down no less, this was one exhilarating car to expand the Gallardo range. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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As good as all this might seem, all of this candy was only frosting on the cake, as the new king of the streets; the new big Lambo was unveiled. The car in question is the potent Lamborghini Aventador, and perfect successor to the Murciélago. Immediately one can see that this car is unmistakably a Lamborghini. It features crisp lines with geometric influences from the likes of the Reventón and the Asterion, while rapidly accelerating the visual feel and stance of the Murciélago. It makes use of some chiselled edges, especially in the detailing such as the headlights, air intakes, outlets, and the glass engine cover. It also integrates the signature “Lambo doors”, as well as a 3-stage variable rear wing which is blended into the body. (Automobili Lamborghini 2014)

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This is not all just for show either, as the Aventador makes no compromise in the performance department. Through a monocoque chassis, the car collaborates a brand new V12 engine, producing 700bhp, as well as a 4-wheel drive transmission all bolted through a dry double plate clutch system. It will skyrocket from a standstill to 60mph (+-100km/h) in just 2.9 seconds and keep going all the way up to a ridiculous 217mph (350km/h) (Automobili Lamborghini 2014) This car is a true benchmark for Lamborghini and a revolution in terms of design and execution, and sets a very positive outlook for the future of the model range and the company as a whole.

By next year, the 2012 Geneva Show was coming up, and thus Lambo wanted to create a true wonder. Keeping with tradition, and seeing as limited edition cars are a natural development, the new year brought along with it an outrageous speedster astonishment.

The Aventador J; the lowest ever Lamborghini, and by far one of the rarest. The Reventón was limited to just 20 units, the Sesto Elemento has only three examples in existence, but the Aventador J (Jota) is truly one of a kind. (Topgear 2014) The styling is very similar to the standard Aventador and does use the same headlights, and front and rear fenders, but the rest is all new and unique. The main obvious physical change is the roof, or rather the lack thereof; and the rather noticeable changes to the rear treatment on the engine deck, air intakes, outlets and exhausts. The aesthetic is further encompassed by using a lot of dry carbon fibre elements on the car, creating a fierce graphic to the overall design, carrying the historic Jota name heritage exquisitely to the modern age.

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The interesting cars didn’t just end there, however, as the year also gave birth to Lamborghini’s first undertaking into the SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) market. Now, you might notice, that this is indeed not the first example of an off-road Lambroghini, as that spot was filled by the 1976 Cheetah, its’ development variations, and lastly the 1986 LM002. This though is not just an off roader, it only takes a quick glace to see it’s a true Lamborghini at heart. It uses the new geometric crisp styling and transforms the Cayenne/Touareg/Q7 platform (Ford, ‘et al.’ 2012) into a future vision for Lamborghini; although prospects for production are only in 2016, and it was the same case with the Estoque, but nothing came of it, so we will have to wait and see.

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The year further continued with a vast array of limited editions and adaptations and enhancements of the Gallardo, furthering the ferocity of the range. As ever, special editions were in a plethora with the release of cars such as the Gallardo LP550-2 Malaysia Limited Edition – MLE, LP560-4 Gold Limited Edition, LP550-2 Hong Kong 20th Anniversary, LP560-4 Bianco Rosso, LP560-4 Noctis, LP550-2 GZ8 Edizione Limitata, LP 570-4 Edizione Technica, the LP570-4 Super Trofeo, and lastly, the production version LP 560-4. (Lambocars 2000-2013) This production version was the last evolution for the Gallardo, which featured a modified design language, and would later remotely translate into its’ successor. It made use of very sharp angular air vent intakes using trapezoidal and triangular geometry in both the front and the rear end treatment of the car. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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It seems as ever, Lamborghini are quite reluctant to just up and end a series, and want to make sure the history of a range of their cars has a solid ending. This as you guessed it, means the Gallardo saw further limited editions and fine-tuning refinements before the now current replacement was announced. These last cars were to mark the end of an era, and allowed the Gallardo to come to a graceful end. The range extended to the Gallardo LP550-2 Indonesia Limited Edition, LP560-2 50 Anniversario, the LP550-2 India Limited Edition, and the Gallardo LP570-4 Squadra Corse.  (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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Traditionally, after the release of a new Lamborghini or indeed a specific car in a range, the company tends to release an open top version. This was the case with the Jalpa Spyder, Diablo Roadster, Diablo VT-R roadster, Diablo SV Roadster, the Murciélago Roadster, the Murciélago LP640 and 650 Roadster as well as the Gallardo Spyder, Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder, and the Reventón Roadster; you get the point, basically, Lamborghini loves to make an open top variant. (Lambocars 2000-2013) Of course, with the 2012 release of the Aventador, it was only a matter of time before the arrival of the Aventador LP700-4 Roadster in 2013. This was in essence the same car as the coupé, which had been turned into a top-less version; and even featured its own special version release in the same year. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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The standard Aventador received the LP720-4 50 Anniversario as a limited edition update, which made use of a more aggressive approach in styling, and also added twenty extra horsepower over the standard 700. This of course also blossomed into an open top version, the LP720-4 Roadster 50 Anniversario Edition. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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The year was far from over though, because as you can tell, the Aventadors mentioned a moment ago had the wording 50 Anniversario in the name. This is by no coincidence, as Automobili Lamborghini SpA was celebrating its’ 50th anniversary on the 11th of May. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

This would indeed amount to an extremely special year at Lamborghini, and more and more surprises were ready to take the World by storm and leave everyone in their wake absolutely breathless. It promptly started this notion with its’ brand new limited edition poison at the Geneva Auto show.

Poison, however, is not only a perfect metaphor for this insane new car, but its entire embodiment and Spanish derived name; Veneno. The Veneno, is based on an Aventador chassis, but is a completely new car in other terms. Three cars were made and sold, one red, one white, and one green, representing the colours of the Italian national flag. A fourth one was made in a metallic grey, which is just for the auto shows, and for Lamborghini’s developments. The car features a 750bhp engine, 4-wheel drive and a 2.8 second 0-60mph (+-100km/h) time, but it’s the looks that give this car such a unique feel. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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The entire car is designed to act as a large aerofoil, increasing downforce for it’s 220mph (355km/h) top speed. (Lambocars 2000-2013)  The design is revolutionary and takes Lambo to the forefront of the exotic car market. It features large intakes on the front, dressed in dry carbon, which follow the car through the side skirts, into the side intakes, and over the rear deck. Another epic innovation for this car is that massive rear spoiler, with its upright struts, and that long aeroplane-like fin in the middle, running all the way from the roofline into the geometric design of the wing. As crazy as it seems, the Veneno, although is hypercar royalty, actually got a counterpart, in the form of the Veneno Roadster. Yes, it seems Lambo cannot resist a good open top, and thus the Veneno Roadster is limited to nine units, and costs an exorbitant €3.5 Million. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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Still in 2013, the 50 year anniversary was far from over, and in front of 1000 VIP members, and at the gala dinner at the Sant’Agata factory, Lamborghini wheeled out its brand new prototype. Designed by Walter De Silva, head of design at VW, Alessandro Dambrosio, and Stefan Sielaff; the main event of the night was the absolutely fantastical Egoista Concept car. The car is made from carbon fibre and aluminium, and the body panels as well as the wheels are made from anti-radar material finished in a matt grey colour. The canopy is made out of anti-glare glass, and cocoons the single passenger in a jet like cab, accessed by opening the canopy, and sitting on the side, and putting your legs in first, like a formula one car. (Lambocars 2000-2013) The design sets forward the benchmark for all supercar concepts, and concretes the evidence that Lamborghini think as far outside the box as is possible. The ultra geometric design of the Egoista, with its use of wedgy, faceted panels, combined with an array of integrated lights, give the car the feeling of a jet fighter from the future.

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During all the exciting events of the year, the focus on the production models, was of course of huge importance, and the Gallardo replacement was also going out for it’s practice laps, in prototype form of course. This then, brings us to this current year, 2014, although, only a few more days are left.

The year started fresh with the long awaited replacement for the Gallardo. The new, affordable entry level baby Lambo, the Huracàn. More precisely the Lamborghini Huracàn LP610-4, from which you will have deduced that it makes use of a 610bhp powerhouse, and delivers its power on all fours. (Automobili Lamborghini 2014) Aesthetically, it makes use of very simple lines, and a much softer approach to the usual hard geometric design language of Lamborghini. The design is overall very nicely balanced and integrated, although at first glance, people including myself thought that it’s too controlled, and very understated for the Lamborghini brand; especially when put next to their current flagship model, the Aventador.

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With this in mind, over the last year, I have grown to rather like the aesthetics of this new car. It’s really well refined, and as routine with Lamborghini, I am quite certain sometime this coming year we can expect to see a Spyder version. This will no doubt further enhance the visuals, and the likelihood of a Superleggera and perhaps even an SV model in the forthcoming years would be customary. Even in standard trim though, it looks great in the Italian Police force, custom built by Lambo. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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Another, rather intriguing addition to the one-off deck in the house of the Raging Bull was the 5-95 Zagato. As with a few previous endeavours, the design was done in-house by Zagato, and is a one-off, for collector Alber Spiess. (Lambocars 2000-2013) The design is questionable, and rather unfamiliar for Lamborghini, as the front makes a use of a few different flavours, combining the aesthetic characteristics of a Spyker, a Lotus Evora, and the intakes of an Aston Martin one-77. The side view features a characteristical Lamborghini flow, and the rear features a once again, quite unlike; round design for the taillamps. It is definitely a unique look, but as its been designed at an external studio, the idea of its’ adaptation into production models is dubious at best.

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Lastly on the trailing edge of the year, a new GT concept car came into existence, known as the Asterion LPI910-4. This is the newest of the new, in terms of design and tech, deriving from the gates at Sant’Agata. Although it is only a concept car for now, it makes use of a hybrid engine, (Automobili Lamborghini 2014) and brings light to the idea of creating a production hybrid Lamborghini. This is not a new idea for the supercar segment, as we see this with the already available production versions of the McLaren P1, Porsche 918, and LaFerrari.

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In the styling department, the car is a little bit different from the usual, as the overall design is in the form of a luxury GT (Gran Turismo), although carries the Lamborghini aesthetic rather well. We can see influences from previous models, such as the Urus, in the front bumper area, the Miura Concept, in the DLO (Daylight opening, a.k.a, the shape of the windows, from the side), while the side intake and the long taillamps are an adaptation from the ones seen on the Veneno. Although different, the Asterion depicts a valid point as to what the future might hold for the brand; but as we’ve seen before with cars such as the Estoque and the Urus (so far), not all great concept Lambos make the final cut.

This then, concludes the year as it comes to an end, and already in the pipeline for next year we have the Huracàn LP620-2 Super Trofeo, the Reiter Gallardo Extenso, the Pirelli Edition Aventador, and if my guess is correct, and only on a speculation basis, a Huracàn Spyder.

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References:

 

Ford,T., Marriage, O., Grant, K., Horrel, P., Barlow, J., Ward, P., Philip, S., and Read, D. (2012) ‘Lamborghini Urus’. TopGear (230), 32-36

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Soulsteer.com (2013) available from <http://soulsteer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Lamborghini-goes-mental-with-Aventador-J-1.jpg>

Shmee150.com (2014) available from < http://shmee150.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/350-lambos-tour-of-the-lamborghini-50th-anniversary-grid.jpg>

Taringa.net (n.d) available from <http://www.classicdriver.com/sites/default/files/styles/colorbox/public/_mg_7278.jpg?itok=XEITTc3v>

Trendstyle.net (n.d) available from <http://www.trendsstyle.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Lamborghini-Gallardo-LP560-4-2013-4.jpg> [28 November 2014]

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