Urus joins Lamborghini’s stable of fighting bulls

After Friday’s leak, Lamborghini has now provided details of its new extreme performance SUV concept with four generous seats, a versatile luggage compartment, variable ground clearance and, of course, permanent all-wheel drive.

As expected the Urus is fitted with a 600hp (591bhp) engine, presumably based on the Gallardo’s 5.2-litre V10, although Lamborghini has yet to confirm this.

Lamborghini LM002
The SUV DNA – 1986 Lamborghini LM002

Ferruccio Lamborghini originally went into business building tractors after the second world war, using leftover military hardware, before founding Automobili Lamborghini in 1963. But under Ferruccio’s ownership, Lamborghini only ever built sports cars.

It wasn’t until 1986, under new ownership, that Automobili Lamborghini made its first ‘truck’ – the mighty V12 LM002. Dubbed ‘Rambo-Lambo’, the LM002 was powered by a 450bhp 5.2-litre engine with a top speed of more than 130mph. It featured a luxurious interior (for its time), huge Pirelli Scorpion off-road tyres and the most brutal looking appearance of any car on the road.

The Lamborghini LM002 remained in production until 1992, with just over 300 cars being built.

Ferruccio Lamborghini

Despite its SUV proportions, the Urus is said to be a true Lamborghini – looking powerful but never bulky. With a length of 4.99 metres, the Urus is a little over 15 cm (approx 6″) longer than a Porsche Cayenne and 4.5 cm (1.8″) wider. With a height of 1.66 metres, it is around 2.2 cm (0.9″) lower than a Cayenne GTS.

The Urus will offer the lowest CO2 figure of any comparable vehicle, according to Lamborghini, although that very much depends on which cars they regard as the Urus’ peers. The reason for this is the Urus’ lightweight design, resulting in a car which Lamborghini describe as being considerably lighter than its competitors.

The designers from Sant’Agata have adopted a mix of materials for the structure and bodyshell, including carbon fibre and aluminium, with a clever light weight approach to the Urus’ interior using a materials innovation called Forged Composite.

Lamborghini claims the Urus will set new benchmarks in dynamics and handling for its class, which will be quite an achievement given how talented Porsche’s Cayenne and BMW’s X6 already are.

In addition to its low centre of mass and relatively light weight, the Urus also features a first for its class – adaptive aerodynamics.

In combination with its variable body height, a height-adjustable front spoiler facilitates both an optimum approach angle, whilst maintaining good obstacle clearance. At the upper edge of the rear windshield is a deflector that diverts the airflow along the rear windshield and onto the adjustable spoiler, which is likewise adaptive and can alter the aerodynamic balance of the Urus to suit the prevailing driving conditions.

Lamborghini describe the interior of the Urus as “..pure and minimalist, just like the Aventador sports car”, where the driver and up to three passengers feel like they are wearing a perfectly made-to-measure suit – fitted, but comfortable. The panels are finished in lightweight carbon fibre reinforced polymer, which look a little cold and foreboding, whilst the centre tunnel features an open, skeletal carbon fibre structure made from a new material called Forged Composite.

This carries through the whole interior and is only partially clad in leather-upholstered cushioning, where such comfort and protection is needed. Each of the individual four bucket seats are made from Forged Composite and clad in leather upholstery.

The switchgear and dials maintain the minimalist philosophy, with shift panels for the dual-clutch transmission situated behind the steering wheel and all other functions such as indicators, lights and windshield wipers incorporated into either the multifunction steering wheel or the centre console.

A programmable TFT (Thin Film Transistor) screen behind the steering wheel delivers information for the driver, whilst secondary functions like navigation, entertainment and climate control are operated via a touchscreen on the centre tunnel. A further touchscreen is available for the use of rear seat passengers.

A growing market opportunity

The luxury SUV segment continues to show strong growth, particularly in emerging countries such as Russia, the Middle East and China. The USA, United Kingdom and Germany remain popular markets, although perhaps not for a £200,000 SUV. Lamborghini predict a demand of up to 3,000 cars per year, and perhaps unexpectedly describe the Urus as an everyday vehicle, suitable for families to use as their primary car. Rather like a Ford Kuga or Volkswagen Tiguan..

Revised Eterniti HemeraThe Cayenne-based Eterniti Hemera gets a new Face for the Beijing Auto Show. Photo credit: carnewschina.com

The Urus expands Lamborghini’s potential customer base, appealing to those drivers who might previously have driven another brand’s luxury SUV whilst leaving their supercar parked in the garage. The reasoning is very similar to that used when Porsche developed the Cayenne, having seen many of its loyal customers shopping at the doors of BMW, Mercedes and Range Rover for their family wagon.

In recent years, aftermarket tuners such as Gemballa (Porsche Cayenne) or Brabus (Mercedes ML) have been serving those customers who consider a 500bhp SUV a little ‘average’. This is the market that Lamborghini and new boutique manufacturers such as Eterniti are seeking to address.

“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,” says Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini. “SUVs stand for freedom and emotion. SUVs make up one of the most successful market segments worldwide. The Urus is the most extreme interpretation of the SUV idea; it is the Lamborghini of the SUVs.”

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