We can expect the new Lamborghini Urus to be quick – and that’s not only on the track. The Italian exotic automaker is looking to more than double its size with the launch of the long-awaited SUV.
Lambo joins a growing list of ultra-premium and supercar manufacturers that have bowed to the seemingly inevitable dominance of the sport-utility vehicle, joining such brands as Bentley and Porsche, while Aston Martin, Rolls Royce and even Ferrari have now confirmed plans to add ute models. For the moment, only McLaren remains a hold-out.
“The Lamborghini Urus is a visionary approach based on the infusion of Lamborghini DNA into the most versatile vehicle, the SUV,” proclaimed Stefano Domenicali, Automobili Lamborghini Chairman and Chief Executive Officer during a preview at the company’s headquarters in suburban Modena, Italy. “It is the culmination of intensive development and passionate skill to create a new breed of bull (that) opens the door to new possibilities, for both our brand and our customers.”
While it might come as a shock to those not familiar with Lamborghini history, it actually was the first luxury brand to produce a serious SUV, the LM002 – a angular and brutish beast that had more to do with the company’s agricultural business than early sports car models like the Countach.
A grand total of just 328 LM002s were produced between 1986 and 1993. The automaker has decidedly bigger aspiration this time around for the 2019 Urus.
The new SUV, said Domenicali, “will make Lamborghini relevant to customers who never considered us before.” Meanwhile, he told Automotive News: Europe ahead of the super-ute’s unveiling, it should help the brand double its sales, to around 7,000 annually, by 2019.
(Maserati set to roll out 2nd SUV. Click Here for the story.)
While it may sit higher than any current Lamborghini sports car, the CEO stressed during Monday’s preview that the new Urus “is a true Lamborghini in terms of design, performance, driving dynamics and emotion as well as drivable every day in a range of environments.”
It certainly boasts classic Lambo specs. The Urus is powered by a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 punching 641 horsepower — in the U.S. edition — and 672 pound-feet of torque – through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Unlike many sports car companies, Lamborghini has traditionally opted for all-wheel-drive, and that will continue here, helping punch power to the pavement no matter what the road and weather conditions.
The “Tamburo” drive selector allows the driver to instantly adjust a variety of vehicle settings, depending on both road conditions and driving style. That includes street, or “Strada,” sport, track and snow setting. For those who want to wander off pavement, there will be optional “Terra,” or off-road, and “Sabbia,” or sand functions. The Urus further enhances handling with standard torque vectoring, as well as a rear-wheel-steer system borrowed from the more conventional Lamborghini Aventador.
Under ideal circumstances, the new ute will launch from 0 to 100 kmh, or 62 mph, in just 3.6 seconds, with a top speed rated at 189 mph. That helps it lay claim to being the world’s fastest SUV, nudging aside the Bentley Bentayga introduced two years ago. Consider it sibling rivalry. Both brands are owned by the German Volkswagen Group and the Urus and Bentayga – as well as the Audi Q7 – share underlying platforms.
(Click Here for more on Ferrari’s planned SUV.)
The Urus adopts a much more sports car-like design that was clearly engineered to improve aerodynamics. Lambo engineers also worked to chuck as much mass as possible, the final effort weighing in at barely 4,600 pounds. To get there, Urus uses a chassis blending aluminum and steel, with frameless aluminum doors and torsional beams instead of conventional C-pillars.
Lamborghini’s plunge into the SUV pool is no surprise. The overall ute market has surged from just 8 million worldwide in 2006 to 26.5 million last year, or nearly a third of global sales. IHS Automotive expect that to reach 34 million by 2030. In the premium luxury and exotic segments, meanwhile, sales jumped from 4,700 in 2010 to 21,000 last year.
But the industry will have to hope that momentum continues considering all the entries still to come. That includes the Aston Martin DBX and a “Sport Activity Vehicle under development at Rolls-Royce. Even Ferrari is getting into the race, leaving only McLaren holding out among global exotic brands.
While the Urus might seem to break tradition, at least dating back to when the old LM002 was pulled from production, the new ute does fit into the brand when it comes to its name. As with virtually every other product Lambo has built, the new model is named after a bull. In this case, it is a variation of “aurochs,” a now-extinct ancestor of the modern bull that is Lamborghini’s mascot.
Starting at around $200,000 in the U.S., the Lamborghini Urus will begin rolling into showrooms next spring.
(Click Here to check out the new Lamborghini Performante.)