Lamborghini has confirmed that it will use a turbo engine to power its new Urus SUV. Auto Express understands that a 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 will be employed to power the Urus, which is due to go on sale in 2018. But CEO Stephan Winkelmann stressed that this does not necessarily mean that the firm’s sports cars are ready to go turbo – yet.
“For the first time we will have a turbo engine inside – we will have a V8,” he explained. “But the Urus will still be a super sports car among the SUVs. It will be the most powerful, the fastest, but also one that is easy to drive and handle.
“This is a major step. We always have a discussion... “What is the best engine?” For the super sports cars [the Huracan and Aventador] the best is still naturally aspirated, without saying we will always be like this.” The two sports cars currently use V10 and V12 engines respectively.
“If turbos would be better we will think about it," continued Winkelmann. "And we will not be ones to say we won’t go with that if it is better than what we have today.”
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A V8 turbo will provide lower emissions and plenty of torque for when (if) the Urus ventures off road. The news also dispels hints that the upcoming SUV would be a plug-in hybrid, as previously thought.
On the hybrid subject Winkelmann said: “It is something we are thinking about, but if I had to say which is the first car that will have some form of electrification, I would immediately blindfolded say SUV.”
Lambo has already demonstrated its potential capability in this area with the Asterion concept which appeared at the Paris Motor Show in 2014 and featured a 602bhp V10 engine with a battery pack and twin electric motors for a total of 897bhp.
Winkelmann has already driven a prototype of the SUV, and provided some tantalising clues as to what fans can expect. “We are on track. I drove the first prototype a couple of months ago and it is an extraordinary car,” he said. “The exterior design is almost done; on the interior there is a bit more to do.
“What we have now is a better version of the red [concept] car you saw in Beijiing in 2012. If you put what we are doing today next to the one we had in 2012, I already see that the 2012 car is ageing.”
And Winkelmann confirmed there will be only one bodystyle in the Lamborghini Urus, despite Bentley already hinting that it is ready to spin off an extreme super-coupe-SUV from the recently launched Bentayga.
Winkelmann also spelled out what else we can expect from the Urus. He continued: “You will immediately recognise that it cannot be anything else than a Lamborghini. It is changing [from the concept car] but for the better. “It has to be a daily usable car that can get you comfortably from A to B, yet it has to have a lot of power in terms of acceleration and also top speed.”
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Lamborghini has its sights set on eclipsing stablemate Bentley’s Bentayga as the fastest SUV in the world. The Bentayga does 0-60mph in four seconds and has a 187mph top speed, but Winkelmann said: “We will do our best,” when challenged if his car would beat it.
Unlike the Audi Q7, with which which the Urus will share its architecture, the Urus will have a maximum of four or possibly five seats. Meanwhile, the brand is believed to be close to securing a deal for small manufacturer exemption from European emissions rules.
Lamborghini previously confirmed that it will build an SUV based on the Urus concept for launch in 2018. The brand plans to build 3,000 examples of the Urus SUV, and it is predicted to double the company's current annual sales. It'll see huge investment in Lambo's Italian factory, bringing new jobs and further financial stability.
Lambo is keeping its cards close to its chest with details of the new "luxury SUV", which will become the third production model in its lineup after the Huracan and Aventador sports cars. But Lamborghini immediately makes reference to the dramatic Urus concept, first seen at the Beijing Motor Show in 2012.
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The production version will undoubtedly share much of that the Urus' styling when it goes on sale in 2018, including the aggressive front end inspired by the Aventador and the steeply raked, coupe-like roofline. We also expect it to ride on the VW Group's new 'MLB' platform architecture that underpins the new Audi Q7 and forthcoming Bentley Bentayga.
The Lamborghini Urus concept’s Chinese unveiling shows the market that Lamborghini is clearly targeting. China's premium SUV sector is rapidly booming, and is considered the reason that high-end carmakers such as Rolls Royce and Bentley will be joining the fray. However, Lambo also cites the USA, the Middle East, Russia, Germany and the UK as key markets for the car.
Despite the global ambitions for the Urus, CEO Stephan Winkelmann claims the SUV will keep its Italian identity, "safeguarding the values of 'Made in Italy' worldwide". It will see "hundreds of millions of Euros" invested in Lambo's Sant' Agata Bolognese factory to make it capable of building 3,000 Urus examples. the plant will nearly double in size to 150,000 sq.m, and 500 new jobs are promised on the production line and in extended research and development facilities.
Audi chairman Rupert Stadler said: "We have proven once more our commitment to Italy as an important automotive industrial nation". The company cites potential customers as Lambo supercar owners "who to date have driven SUV models for other brands", as well as a raft of first-time Lamborghini buyers.
Details of what will power the SUV are thin on the ground, but the Urus concept did feature a naturally aspirated V10 engine. Since then Winkelmann has told Auto Express that "an SUV could be a turbo engine for the first time for us", and that's likely to be the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 seen in the Audi RS6 and Bentley Continental GT. Figures of up to 600bhp are rumoured, with Stadler commenting the new SUV "definitely won’t be a softie.”
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