Lamborghini plans rival to Panamera, Rapide
The Italian sports car maker will unveil a concept for the model at the Paris auto show early next month.
Lamborghini wants a coupe-styled, four-door model to appeal to a broader range of luxury sports car buyers.
Company sources said Lamborghini will unveil a concept in Paris that is almost ready for production.
The four-door sedan will be Lamborghini's third model line. The brand already sells the V-10 Gallardo and the V-12 Murcielago. Both have rear engines and permanent four-wheel drive.
The four-door sedan will have a front engine, which will be mounted behind the front axle. It will also have four-wheel drive.
Lamborghini sources said that the production four-door car could have a smaller engine than the carmaker's current smallest unit, the Gallardo's 5.0-liter V-10. This would keep the car relatively short. Audi could supply the engine, which could be a direct-injection, twin turbocharged unit.
Volkswagen group's Audi owns Lamborghini.
Lamborghini sources said the brand's four-door car could be an all-aluminum vehicle based on the platform of the next Audi A8.
The Rapide, which debuts next year, will be all-aluminum. The Panamera and Audi's A7 coupe-styled four-door sedan likely will have steel platforms. The Rapide will debut at the Geneva auto show in March 2009. The Audi A7 is due in June 2010.
Lamborghini would build about 3,000 units a year of the new car, the same number that Aston Martin plans to build.
Porsche plans to build at least 20,000 Panameras a year and Audi plans to make about 30,000 units of the A7 a year.
Lamborghini increased its global sales to 1,309 vehicles in the first half, compared with 1,238 in the same period last year.
Its revenues increased 9.6 percent to 277.4 million euros. Pretax profit increased 32.6 percent to 35 million euros.
In 2007, Lamborghini's pre-tax profit was 47.1 million euros.
E-mail Luca Ciferri at email@example.com
You can reach Luca Ciferri at firstname.lastname@example.org.