Much speculation has surrounded Lamborghini’s new SUV, which is set to debut in a few days at the Beijing Motor Show. The company known for making sexy supercars is serious about making this vehicle, but the usual pre-auto show secrecy means Lamborghini has been mum on details. Luckily, CarsUK was able to get ahold of photos and information on this raging bull before its official debut.
EVO magazine will be running a story on the Lambo SUV this weekend, but one copy was intercepted on its way to the newsstand. The story confirms a few of the rumors. The car’s official name is Urus, and it will be built on the same platform as the Posrche Cayenne, Audi Q7, and Volkswagen Touareg.
Lamborghini is part of Volkswagen’s automotive empire, so it always seemed logical that the Italian company would borrow hardware from its German cousins. The Urus will be about half a foot longer, and several inches wider, than the Cayenne, which is the sportiest of the VW-family SUVs. The Lamborghini will also sit lower to the ground than the Cayenne.
It will be a challenge to get Lamborghini-esque performance out of an SUV, because of how much these vehicles typically weigh. To combat the problem, Lamborghini will deploy some of the weight-saving techniques used on its sports cars. Some components will be made of forged composite resin, combined with strands of carbon fiber. This material should be easier to work with than traditional carbon fiber, while still adding lightness. This type of carbon fiber will also be used on the production version of Lamborghini’s Sesto Elemento concept car.
A powerful engine won’t hurt either. The Urus may get a V8 from Bentley, instead of the traditional Lamborghini V12. That engine will be tuned to around 600 horsepower, making it among the most powerful SUVs in the world. Using the V8 also makes sense, considering that Bentley is toying with the idea of an SUV that would be based on the same Cayenne/Q7/Touareg platform.
Why would Lamborghini go from building mid-engined supercars to building an SUV? It’s all about sales. Lamborghini claims that most of its customers already have an SUV in their garage, alongside their Gallardo or Aventador. Lamborghini hopes to sell 3,500 Uruses a year, which is twice as many sales per year as the other two cars.
The Urus makes fiscal sense, and it isn’t unprecedented. Lamborghini developed a prototype military vehicle for the U.S. government in the late 1970s. The off-roader had the V12 from a Countach, and when government contracts failed to materialize, it was sold to the public as the LM002.
However, the Urus will be a completely different animal. The LM002 was a Humvee with the heart of a supercar; the Urus will be more luxurious. If it’s anything like the Cayenne on which it is based, the Urus will expand Lamborghini’s customer base by putting Italian performance and style in a package more people can live with. The Cayenne has done a lot to enrich Porsche, and the Urus will likely do the same for Lamborghini. The only question is: will it dilute the brand? Will Lamborghini be the same when its products start trolling mall parking lots as well as race tracks?