The weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth you hear is the collective agony of the supercar cognoscenti freaking out about this: the Lamborghini Urus. It’s an all-new SUV from Sant’Agata, and despite Lambo’s claims that it’s strictly a concept, expect to see the Urus on roads within the next few years.
While the idea of a Lamborghini crossover might be surprising to anyone who wasn’t poring over car mags in their misspent youth, this isn’t Lamborghini’s first ‘ute. That illustrious distinction goes to the LM002 (pictured below). Disaffectionately referred to as the “Rambo Lambo” for its propensity to appear in ’80s-era B-class action flicks, Lamborghini only managed to offload around 300 LM002s to coke-addled movie execs and oil-rich Middle Easterners before the finicky, unreliable off-roader was killed in 1992.
Let’s be clear: The Urus is not an LM002 redux.
Instead, it’s a play by Lamborghini to get Aventador and Gallardo owners to trade in their Porsche Cayenne Turbos, BMW X5 Ms and Mercedes-Benz G63s for something just as ostentatious and even more powerful. In other words, Lambo wants to keep these people in the family by appealing to families.
To do that, Lamborghini fitted the Urus with four seats, a right-sized luggage compartment and a touchscreen entertainment system to keep the kiddies in back at bay. And partnered with a variable height suspension setup for boosted ground clearance and command-view seating, along with Lamborghini’s permanent all-wheel drive system, the automaker claims the Urus can “be used by a household as its primary car … to meet all the demands of everyday mobility.”
But being a Lamborghini requires the injection of a certain amount of insanity, and that starts with power — 600 horsepower, to be precise.
Lamborghini isn’t divulging exactly what powerplant lives underneath that pointed, angular hood, but considering the automaker claims that the Urus will boast the lowest CO2 emissions of any vehicle in its class, we suspect that some manner of turbocharging will be applied to Lambo’s V10. Getting that power to all four wheels will be a dual-clutch gearbox, controlled by a pair of paddle shifters on the multifunction steering wheel which nixes the traditional turn signal and windshield stalks for an array of buttons.
The other key aspect of keeping emissions and fuel economy down is through the use of lightweight components. The carbon fiber and aluminum treatment of past Lamborghinis has made its way inside, with seats, dashboard components and assorted structural bits created through a new process dubbed “Forged Composite” and originally seen on the Sesto Elemento concept.
Lambo wants to keep these people in the family by appealing to families
Aerodynamics is another influencer in the Urus’ design, ranging from an array of active aerodynamics that shift position depending on speed and load, to Lamborghini’s decision to pull the side mirrors and replace them with two small cameras feeding live images to TFT displays mounted on either side of the cockpit.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that Lamborghini chose the Beijing Motor Show for the debut. The automaker estimates that it could sell around 3,000 Urus SUVs each year, primarily in the United States and U.K., along with the conspicuous consumption capitals of the world: Russia, the Middle East and China.
If given the green light, the Urus should go on sale by the end of 2014, and all indications point to Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, and the execs at Lambo’s Volkswagen parents doing just that based on how the SUV is received.
So consider the Urus is a return to Lamborghini’s roots, which started humbly enough when Ferruccio Lamborghini got into the mobility business with his first product: a tractor.