Lamborghini’s second tryst with the SUV segment has not been a smooth sail. Though we have seen a concept avatar of such a model at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show, we have only been reading about its many on-again-off-again production plans for the last year.
Finally Audi (the owners of Lamborghini) CEO Rupert Stadler has confirmed that the SUV should be green lit this year by the Volkswagen board (the parent company of both Audi and Volkswagen). Once the car gets the go-ahead, Lamborghini would take 3-4 years to develop the product, so there is a very good chance that we won't see the Lamborghini SUV before 2017.
The Lamborghini SUV (tentatively called Urus) will be a reincarnation of the LM002. In 1977, Lamborghini developed a military prototype SUV called the 'Cheetah' in the hope of selling it to the US army.
At the 1981 Geneva Auto Show, Lamborghini presented the LM001 SUV along with the new Jalpa, ready for the road.
But there was a big problem with the LM001. Because the Countach derived V12 was placed at the rear of LM001, it led to some wayward handling characteristics. The LM001 was then replaced by the LM002 – the first SUV to wear a raging bull on its nose. Dubbed as the Lambo-Rambo, the LM002 was a very successful product for Lamborghini.
The raging bull hopes to repeat the success of the LM002 with the new Urus. It will be built on the next-generation MLB platform which will underpin the Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Touareg and Audi Q7. Lamborghini plans to develop the Urus as a sporty SUV such as the Cayenne not as an ultra-luxury SUV such as the Range Rover.
Lamborghini is very fastidious about the design of the new Urus. While speaking to Indian Autos Blog at the Geneva Motor Show, Lamborghini’s design chief Filippo Perini said “Lamborghini's main aim is, don’t destroy the design, or to improve it. We were thinking about the future and we think the SUV market is one of the best opportunity for us in the future. Something that we need to be present in for the future. My opinion on this is that as designers we need to continue to propose new designs for Lamborghini with our design language”.
As the Urus Concept had a very short nose, we don’t expect the V10 or a V12 to be placed under the bonnet. Instead Lamborghini could borrow a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 from Bentley.
Volkswagen’s research and development director, Maurizio Reggiani is very keen on endowing the Urus with a hybrid powertrain. He went on to add, “we think hybrid is a perfect fit in a car like the Urus. You have the right storage for the battery and the right packaging for the car. This can be perfectly fitted with the power, brand and our size of car.”
There's a very good chance that the Urus will borrow hybrid tech from Bentley’s upcoming SUV. If this deal does go through, the Urus could send as many as 670 horsepower to the wheels.