To maintain high levels of performance, but meet stringent global emissions legislation, the Lamborghini Urus SUV - due in 2017 – is likely to be fitted with a turbocharged V8 rather than a naturally-aspirated V10 or V12, according to its CEO. That would make it the first turbocharged model in the company’s history.
“An SUV could be a turbo engine for the first time for us,” Stephan Winkelmann told Auto Express at the launch of the Huracan. Winkelmann’s comment tallies perfectly with the head of R&D, Maurizio Reggiani, who claimed he would be forced to use turbocharged engines in the next “three to four years.”
Exactly which engine Lamborghini is working on is still under wraps, but given that its parent company, Audi AG, already uses a new 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 in the RS6 and RS7 with 552bhp, that seems the most logical fit. The Urus will also be based on the same MLB platform as the new Audi Q7 (due late 2014) and Bentley SUV (due 2016), and sharing powertrains is seen as a must to make the financial case for each model stand up.
Winkelmann explained why he has decided to build an SUV instead of Porsche Panamera-rivalling saloon, previewed by the 2008 Estoque concept. “We showed the Estoque just before the financial crisis, and when we came back to the idea of a third model saloon sales were dying while the SUV market is now hundreds of thousands. My father would buy a saloon, but I would buy an SUV.”
We also spoke with chief designer Felipo Perini who explained how the design is evolving. “We are working on the SUV – it is changing all the time. In this moment it is very close [to the Urus concept]. We try to avoid concepts that are not feasible – we can’t afford it. The Urus is amazing, the way it moves. Our goal is to preserve this with the production car.”
A multi-material platform made from a combination of aluminium and carbon fibre will keep the Urus’ weight down and improve handling. Lamborghini is planning aggressive tuning for the suspension, steering and gearbox too, making the £140,000 model the sportiest SUV on the market, or in the words of Rupert Stadler, Audi’s CEO, “it definitely won’t be a softie.”