Lamborghini unveils Urus ultraluxury SUV concept
Photo credit: Bloomberg
Lamborghini unveiled the Urus concept that previews a high-end, 600-hp SUV set to become the brand's third and best-selling model line.
The Italian supercar maker said it foresees annual sales of 3,000 for the SUV if it is built, with China, the United States, Europe, Russia and the Middle East as the main markets.
Lamborghini is best known for high-performance luxury sports cars but growing demand for upscale SUVs in markets such as China and Russia prompted the brand to create the Urus, which had a world debut at the Beijing auto show on Monday.
"The Urus is a very concrete idea for the future of Lamborghini as a third model line and as the perfect complement to our super sports cars," CEO Stephan Winkelmann said in a statement.
The concept "places design, performance and driving fun firmly and uncompromisingly front and center," the statement said, adding that the model also offers plenty of space for four people, as well as generous room for luggage or shopping.
"The Urus is the Lamborghini for everyday use, for the family or for leisure pursuits with friends," the company said.
Lamborghini gave no details of when a production Urus might go on sale, but Winkelmann told German newspaper Handlesblatt earlier this month that the SUV would be launched by 2017 if production is approved by the brand's owner Audi and its parent, Volkswagen Group.
A production version would use VW Group's SUV platform, which is shared by the Porsche Cayenne, the Audi Q7, Volkswagen Touareg and and a planned SUV from Bentley previewed by the EXP 9 F concepted unveiled at the Geneva auto show in March.
It would use lightweight materials for its structure and bodyshell to offer the best fuel economy and lowest CO2 figure of all comparable vehicles, Lamborghini said, with widespread use of carbon-fiber reinforced plastics, including the seats.
Photo credit: Bloomberg
The four-seat Ursus is 4.99 meters (196 inches) long and lower than many SUVs at 1.6 meters (63 inches) tall. The ride height will be adjustable to best suit the conditions, with off-road use helped by a moveable front spoiler to give better ground clearance and approach angles.
In its statement, Lamborghini did not give engine details but said a production version will target an output of 600 horsepower. An upgraded 552-hp V10 gasoline unit powering the Gallardo is the most likely candidate. Power will be sent through all four wheels via a dual-clutch transmission.
The Urus shares some styling cues from the Estoque sedan concept unveiled at the Paris auto show in 2008, including the swollen rear wheel arches and linear rear lights.
The Estoque has yet to be confirmed for production, with some reports saying it won't be built. Brisk SUV sales mean that production of the Urus is much more likely.
Last year, Lamborghini had worldwide sales of 1,600 units for its current models, the Gallardo and Aventador super cars, up 23 percent from the year before. Sales in China grew by 63 percent to 400 for the year. Sales in North America were also 400, up 19 percent.
The Urus continues Lamborghini's bull-themed naming convention – the urus is an ancient ancestor of modern-day cattle, also known as aurochs. The Spanish fighting bull, as bred for the past 500 years, is still very close to the Urus in its appearance. according to Lamborghini's statement.
Lamborghini's previous SUV, the 450-hp LM002, was built between 1985 and 1992. The brand sold slightly more than 300 units of the model.
Lamborghini joins Bentley and Fiat's Maserati in super-sizing their supercars a decade after Porsche broke with tradition and rolled out the Cayenne in 2002. The German maker of the 911 sports car now counts on the SUV for half its deliveries.
Demand for luxury SUVs, including the Cayenne and Mercedes- Benz GL-Class, is forecast to climb 49 percent in China to 265,200 units in 2015, almost three times the 18 percent growth in global sales for those vehicles, according to IHS Automotive.
Bentley is showing its EXP 9 F SUV concept in Beijing and Maserati will launch a Jeep-based SUV next year previewed by the Kubang concept at the 2011 Frankfurt show.
Bloomberg contributed to this report
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