Heads turned (and some shook) when one of motoring’s most illustrious brands completely broke suit with the literal and figurative profile of its sleek supercar cast. The ‘Super’ SUV Lamborghini Urus was trumpeted for a production run back in December 2017, and while it isn’t the brand’s first utility vehicle (that honour goes to the rare, Jeep-like LM002 from the 1990s), it earmarks a willingness to go big on an entirely different segment of drivers, while also offering somewhat of a gateway vehicle for newcomers to the performance-obsessed brand.
“Today’s consumers are less willing to compromise – on looks, performance, and functionality – and an SUV can address those needs,” Lamborghini’s CEO for Asia- Pacific Matteo Ortenzi told The Peak, highlighting the fact that the market was ripe for the picking. “Other key drivers (of SUV growth) include rising consumer demand for a car that is comfortable and can perform the occasional off-roading.” Handy info, that. Recall that Lamborghini door handles tend to inhabit the atmosphere around knee level, and you realise why the Italian automaker might have had to diversify a little.
That isn’t to insinuate, of course, that the resultant Urus is undeserving of the badge. It hauls its 2,200kg carbonfibre hull to 100km/h within a mind-boggling 3.6 seconds, and easily crests past 300km/h at top speed. All that without even employing the V10 or V12. It inherits the inevitable low roof – 10cm lower than its rivals in the luxe SUV arena – without trading in too much comfort. But how ready is the small company to open the sluice gates on cars that run almost parallel to its strong suit? Remember, Lamborghini sells fewer than 4,000 units a year, even if each one slings for a cool seven figures apiece.
“Firstly, there will be a new derivative of the Urus along its lifecycle – a hybrid version. Next, you can expect an Urus successor, and it will embody Lamborghini’s iconic design and performance,” Ortenzi supplies, confirming that the carmaker is committed to the SUV pipeline. Detractors and diehard fans may balk, but they should bear in mind that part of the Urus dollar goes towards keeping the company they so love alive and innovating.
“Electrification will also be a key factor; however, its degree will be determined by the maturity of technology in years to come,” adds Ortenzi, alluding to our next question: how is Lamborghini dealing with the creeping, stringent emissions standards that it’s traditionally struggled with?
“We have thought about current and future constraints. Hence, Lamborghini has committed to developing a model range with a combination of hybrid and aspirated engines, which allow us to keep creating super sport cars that are also compliant with stringent emissions requirements,” Ortenzi assures us. “It is challenging, but we’re a brand that does not shy away from challenges as per our motto ‘Expect the Unexpected’.”