22/04/2012 Lamborghini Urus: The bull goes off-road
This is Lamborghini’s much-anticipated entrant to the flourishing premium SUV market: the 600HP Urus. Although officially billed as a concept, the off-road bull could arrive in showrooms sometime after 2015, carrying a price tag on a par with the current Gallardo.
Should it reach production, it’ll sit alongside the Gallardo’s replacement (expected to be previewed before the year’s end) and the Aventador as the third model in the manufacturer’s range. Given the business case for premium sporty SUVs highlighted by the success of the Porsche Cayenne, it would seem the Urus’ road to production will see few commercial barriers. And while it’s likely to polarise opinion, the Aventador-inspired lines will probably draw more plaudits than the Bentley EXP 9 SUV concept revealed in Geneva – a car with which the Lamborghini will share next-generation Audi Q7-derived underpinnings.
Sant’Agata claims its offering will boast the lowest CO2 emissions in its class – helped, no doubt, by Lamborghini’s familiar use of carbonfibre – but details about the type of engine it will use remain a mystery. Feasible options include the fantastic 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 from the new Bentley Continental GT or a reworked version of the Gallardo V10, either of which may be supplemented by an electric power source. Whatever transpires to be the chosen engine, CEO Stephan Winkelmann has confirmed an output in excess of 600HP.
Inside, the hexagonal theme dating back to the 1967 Marzal concept makes an appearance, as do light coloured leather and touches of carbon. Rear seat passengers appear to have ample legroom, though Winkelmann sees the Urus as a crossover coupé as opposed to a family car: “This is not a pack mule – this is a couple’s car,” he explains. Despite this, he does admit it’s the first Lamborghini with the potential to be used as an everyday car, which is why healthy sales figures of 3000-3500 per year are forecast.
Of course, this isn’t Lamborghini’s first foray off-road. The late Eighties saw the limited production of the tank-like LM002, which was preceded by an experimental vehicle built for the military and christened the Cheetah. Both were much cruder than the newest member of the Lamborghini entourage, their utilitarian backgrounds setting them apart from today’s Urus, with its fancy active aerodynamics and adjustable ride height.