20090927

A new Segment in Motoring

There are sports cars (Porsche, Ferrari, Bugatti, Lamborghini, etc.) and there are sports sedans with exhilarating power and performance comparable to sports cars (Mercedes AMG, BMW M, Audi RS, etc.). Now a new segment is coming up in automobiles which combines the above two and it's getting me very excited. No prizes for guessing it right though. Yes, I am talking about the latest craze which all the sports car makers are having - four door sports cars of this world. All the manufacturers who were hitherto making only sports cars have either launched or showcased their version of this fast-emerging segment.

Porsche has already launched the Panamera in the market while Aston-Martin will soon follow with their Rapide. While Lamborghini's Estoque concept is not going to see the light of the day, I expect Bugatti to launch the production version of the just recently showcased Galibier Concept. All these cars have 4 doors, an usable boot, can seat 4 and still can drive and perform as much as if not better than the true-blue sports cars (like Gallardo, 911, DB9). Its the way how these cars are combining practicality and fun that makes me terribly interested and excited about them. They will satisfy their user's needs for daily commuting too and when it comes to sheer, flat-out performance, they don't disappoint.

Having said that and giving due credits to the companies, I personally feel that only Lamborghini and Aston-Martin got the styling right for this all-important segment of cars. The Lamborghini Estoque concept looked drop-dead gorgeous and the Aston-Martin Rapide is the most elegant of the lot without loosing an ounce of its sportiness. The Porsche Panamera has got it wrong in the rear proportions and I think trying to emulate the classic coke bottle shape of the 911, it has ended up spoiling the original design. For me, the Bugatti Galibier concept looks downright ugly. Its hard to believe that this car has come from the makers of the Veyron (the World's fastest production car). Let's hope that the production version looks different (and hopefully better) than this.

Coming to the first casualty of this lot, it makes me sad to hear that Lamborghini has confirmed that the Estoque is not going to make it to production. Having scripted good success stories with its Murcielago and Gallardo, Lamborghini can very well score a hatrick with this stunner. And there are rumour mills going around that, Porsche's new owners VW are going to stop the Panamera with the first generation itself. Someone needs to tell these companies that there are good market for these cars and there are even greater chances of making good money from these cars.

They say "Dream Big; Achieve Bigger". I am not sure about the second half of the above statement, but I fully believe in the first half. Its just that my "Big Dream" has now changed. Having dreamt of getting to drive (not own) cars like 911, Gallardo, etc., I have now started dreaming of cars like Esoque, Rapide, etc. with sincere hopes that the latter half of the quoted saying will become true one day.

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