The four-seat concept, shown to journalists in a sneak peek at the close of the New York Auto Show, could be on sale within 3 1/2 years, company executives said.
Lamborghini’s 2008 Estoque sedan concept fell victim to the economic downturn, but the Urus has a good chance of going into production, Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann says.
“We think the SUV segment is the right one,” he said. “It has the biggest growth potential and the highest emotion. We are investing in profitability.”
The SUV would borrow portions of Volkswagen Group’s SUV platform, which is shared by the Porsche Cayenne and the upcoming Bentley EXP 9 F.
Unlike other Lamborghinis that see limited use, the Urus would be “a daily driver” for some households, Winkelmann said.
The SUV would share some rear suspension parts and powertrain pieces with other VW Group vehicles, said Maurizio Reggiani, Lamborghini’s product chief.
The Urus would be powered by a 600-horse version of the 5.0-liter V-10 engine in the Gallardo. It also would have a front suspension and transmission tunnel unique to Lamborghini, as well as the automaker’s permanent all-wheel-drive system, Reggiani said.
It would use more carbon fiber construction, with a goal of weighing 220 pounds less than competitive vehicles, Reggiani added. The concept rides on beefy 305/35R24 tires.
Winkelmann says the Urus could sell 3,000 units globally, which would more than double the automaker’s volume. The sales split would be 45 percent in North America and South America, 30 percent in China and the Middle East and 25 percent in Europe and Russia.
Lamborghini’s already stressed plant in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy, may be unable to handle all Urus production, Reggiani said. But final assembly and customization would take place there.
From 1986 to 1993, Lamborghini built the LM002 SUV, one of the first entrants into the luxury SUV segment.
With the growing personal wealth in China, Russia and the Middle East, Lamborghini is pursuing those markets with a vehicle better suited to poor road conditions than an Aventador and its driveway-scraping ground clearance. Already, Bentley and Maserati are adding top-line SUVs for the same reason, and Aston Martin also has considered one.
Lamborghini’s concept is being displayed in Beijing to gauge market reaction. For development to continue, VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn must give it the green light.
Executives declined to discuss possible pricing, but given the volume projections for the car, it likely would be in the realm of the Gallardo, which starts at $193,895, including shipping and the gas guzzler tax.