Lamborghini officially introduced the Urus SUV concept at the 2012 Auto China Show in Beijing today. As with all Lamborghini vehicles, the Urus is named for a bull. “Urus” is another name for the Aurochs, a now-extinct ancestor to modern domestic cattle that lasted until 1627. Urus bulls could measure almost six feet tall at the shoulder. The Spanish fighting bull is close to the Urus in its appearance.
Unlike the LM-002 “Rambo Lambo” of the 1980s and 1990s, the Urus concept is a forecast of a modern, sleekly styled vehicle aimed at precisely at increasing Lamborghini sales and bottom-line profits. While just 328 LM-002s were built between 1986 and 1992, Lamborghini’s bosses in Germany want a production Urus to hit 3,000 units annually, nearly twice Lamborghini’s total vehicle sales in 2011.
“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.”
Lamborghini has been looking to expand its lineup with some type of vehicle that would be any everyday driver, not only to keep current Lambo owners in the fold, but to attract new buyers to the marque. The power-that-be in Sant’ Agata Bolognese, Ingolstadt and Wolfsburg considered a sedan, the Lamborghini Estoque Concept, first shown in Paris in 2008, to compete withe cars like the Porsche Panamera and Maserati Quattroporte, and an SUV. Ultimately, the SUV got the nod as offering more sales potential.
The goal is a vehicle with a 600-horsepower engine and the lowest CO2 emissions in its class, superior driving dynamics and an interior suited to the world’s one percent. Features like variable ground clearance, permanent all-wheel drive, adjustable aerodynamics and extensive use of carbon fiber materials to reduce weight are all part of the mix.
The concept’s interior is built around a leather-upholstered carbon fiber tunnel. There are four molded seats made of Lamborghini’s Forged Composite and fitted with single cushions to provide a lower and flatter seating position. The steering column is also noteworthy: other than the paddles for the dual-clutch transmission, there are no levers or stalks. Turn signals, lights and windshield wipers are all controlled from the steering wheel or center console. Driver information comes via a programmable TFT screen that replaces the typical instrument cluster. A separate touchscreen mounted in the center console handles navigation, entertainment and climate control and there’s a third touchscreen for rear seat passengers.
As Lamborghini is a subsidiary of Audi, which is in turn owned by Volkswagen, the engineers and designers in Sant’ Agata Bolognese have an incredible parts bin on which they can draw. While the engine will be pure Lamborghini, a production version of the Urus will most likely share a platform with the next generation of the Audi Q7 and have more than a couple of Porsche pieces in the mix. This is not only all to the good, but is likely going to be very necessary in order to be competitive in a segment that is limited in size but not in attraction for super-premium brands. Maserati will be entering the segment with a vehicle based on the Kubang; Bentley is seriously considering a SUV and Porsche and Land Rover are already playing in the six-figure SUV market.