The global credit crisis has had a huge impact on the car industry as motorists tighten their purse strings.

Once-wealthy city bankers are selling their Porsches at bargain prices, and even the mega-rich are thinking twice about adding an extra exotic supercar to their collections.

Heavy on fuel, with just two seats, slung so low that they are lacerated by speed bumps, and with an engine stowed where your golf bag or baby buggy would go, they have always been wildly impractical.

That owners would always have to have and necessitated the purchase of a practical everyday car only consolidated the supercar as the ultimate status symbol of conspicuous consumption.

However, supercars are increasingly hard to justify in the current economic climate, which is why it’s serendipitous that there’s a new trend emerging from the supercar market — the four-seater, four-door supercar.

It was the Maserati that started the trend with the Quattroporte in 2004 — an elegant car so practical that model agencies now use them to ferry their supermodels around London Fashion Week. Now the other luxury supercars are set to follow on the four-door front.

This year keep an eye out for the breathtakingly beautiful DB9-based Aston Martin Rapide, as well as the Porsche Panamera.

Even Lamborghini, purveyors of the most flash and impractical cars on the road, revealed their own four-door front-engine Estoque concept at the Paris Motor show at the end of last year. They have hinted at a production version, that might even have a hybrid or turbo-diesel engine, although no date has been revealed.

So now supercar fans have a very real way of enjoying the thrill of a V12 engine, while being able to ferry the kids to their private school.

All they need now is a four-door Ferrari to add to the car dealership floor.