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Wednesday 25th April 2012

Lamborghini Urus: how and why

Exclusively to PistonHeads Lambo boss Stephan Winkelmann sells the case for the controversial SUV



Nearly 200 comments in and few of them favourable, it's clear the Lamborghini Urus hasn't been a huge hit with PHers. But if Beijing proves one thing, it's that the business case for such vehicles in emerging markets is going to see more and more, cough, diversification from brands we hold dear.

Winkelmann presents his new baby
Winkelmann presents his new baby
Before he pulled the covers off the Urus at Beijing we spoke exclusively to Lamborghini boss Stephan Winkelmann, where he outlined, in some detail, how the Urus will - like it or not - fit in the Lambo range and how, and why, they've done it.

While Lamborghini has done better under Audi than any previous owner there was clear pressure to expand the product line-up to three models, the current two-car range apparently not enough to guarantee medium or long-term stability. "We looked at a smaller Gallardo, a 2+2, a sedan and an SUV," says Winkelmann. "To support a third model the segment has to be big enough, has to be worldwide, has to support a high-end price and it has to fit with the brand."

The Urus at Beijing, PH mob just out of shot
The Urus at Beijing, PH mob just out of shot
We now know what they chose. But why an SUV and not a saloon like the Estoque concept? "It is the segment of the future," says Winkelmann. "The sedan market is stable but dull. An SUV is more emotional. And it has to be a Lamborghini. It has to be dynamic, the design has to be extreme even if it is on a group platform."

Ah yes, the inevitable group platform. This'll be based on the next Touareg foundations and Lamborghini isn't yet confirming where the production Urus will be built. It'll be smaller than the show car as a result too, the concept at Beijing deliberately oversized to cause a bigger splash. Like it needed to. "We want it to be light but this is not a priority," says Winkelmann. "Handling and usability for daily driving are the priority though."

The face of daily usability, Lambo style
The face of daily usability, Lambo style
What of that styling? A Lamborghini is never going to be shy and retiring and, arguably, it's done a better job than Bentley of transposing brand values onto an SUV. But it's not been a smooth ride, as the PH comments thread will attest. "You cannot expect your customers to have something everyone hates," admits Winkelmann, while saying he admires the Evoque's styling and positioning. "It has to be an object of desire for everyone."

That debate will rage on yet but what about the nuts and bolts? At least 600hp has been confirmed but exactly how that'll be delivered remains a secret for now. Would Lamborghini consider a diesel? "Not if we have one engine, no, but if we have two engines ... maybe," says Winkelmann. "An SUV is better for hybridisation though."

Get used to it, because Lambo needs it
Get used to it, because Lambo needs it
Hybrids, daily usability, appealing to women who drive SUVs ... this is all new ground for Lamborghini and a far cry from the kind of uncompromisingly wild supercars the brand is built on. The LM002, described as a cult car by Winkelmann, does give Lambo a degree of previous on which to launch into this segment. But how much goodwill there'll be from existing customers rather than the new ones the Urus aims at remains to be seen.


Dan Trent
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Author Discussion

SirSamuelOfBuca

Original Poster:

1,120 posts

37 months

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Wednesday 25th April 2012 quote quote all
Kill it with fireeeee

kotafey

237 posts

61 months

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Wednesday 25th April 2012 quote quote all
It's pretty clear that sporty SUVs like this are here to stay. If you accept that notion, then I think you could do far worse than this.

lgomgf

235 posts

68 months

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Wednesday 25th April 2012 quote quote all
I give it 9 out 10, because I like the design... but even if I had the money I wouldn't buy one... For me SUV must be like the G-Wagon or like the Land Rover Discovery or Range Rover or Sport... these super sport SUV are for me pointless as they can't ride off road at all...

MogulBoy

1,926 posts

103 months

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Wednesday 25th April 2012 quote quote all
Enough already with the use of the word 'emotional'!

Major T

975 posts

75 months

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Wednesday 25th April 2012 quote quote all
kotafey said:
It's pretty clear that sporty SUVs like this are here to stay. If you accept that notion, then I think you could do far worse than this.
This.
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Stew2000

2,730 posts

58 months

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Wednesday 25th April 2012 quote quote all
It's not that bad. Just needs more "off-roady" wheels.

suffolk009

1,034 posts

45 months

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Wednesday 25th April 2012 quote quote all
Either that little white car is parked a loooong way behind the Uru, or this SUV is truly HUGE.

PaulMoor

1,501 posts

43 months

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Wednesday 25th April 2012 quote quote all
Just as stupid as Landrover making a super car.

bagseye

82 posts

57 months

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Wednesday 25th April 2012 quote quote all
The body would make a fantastic looking coupe in my opinion....

but I am a pure hater of all SUVs. See no point in them

Tanguero

3,841 posts

81 months

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Wednesday 25th April 2012 quote quote all
The story seems to be nearly a month late...

joebongo

1,319 posts

55 months

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Wednesday 25th April 2012 quote quote all
Souped up Toerag. It's not a real Lambo. More bling for the thickies. Say no more.

DanB7290

5,268 posts

70 months

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Wednesday 25th April 2012 quote quote all
joebongo said:
Souped up Toerag. It's not a real Lambo. More bling for the thickies. Say no more.
But if the cash from the thickness means we keep getting mental V12 things then I'm all for it.

Froomee

1,144 posts

49 months

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Wednesday 25th April 2012 quote quote all
Essentially there is no market for the 4 door, a smaller Gallardo wouldn't make sense as it would step on the toes of the R8/911 so the best option was an SUV.

I don't mind the design, but if it does turn out to be a Toureg/Q7 in drag then it's not really an object of desire.

To those that say this will keep them producing "proper" cars from the article it seems this has been made at the expense of a "proper" Lamborghini.
I think it would have been better if they followed Aston Martins lead and made a smaller car like v8(coupe, convertible and 2+2).

MrGeoff

165 posts

52 months

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Wednesday 25th April 2012 quote quote all
joebongo said:
Souped up Toerag. It's not a real Lambo. More bling for the thickies. Say no more.
Exactly!

LuS1fer

31,307 posts

125 months

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Wednesday 25th April 2012 quote quote all
Squashed car with too little glass inspired by the success of the Evoque.

But nobody has to buy it so what the hell - the Arabs will suck it up.

The bigger question is why URUS - what a stupid name - urethra, uterus, uranus, walrus, it just begs mockery.

It's sad that marques like Bentley and Lambo are being demeaned by the German need to platform share in every possible segment - sooner or later the VW Empire will mean no more than Ford's 70's trim levels for the same car - L, GL, GLS, Ghia - same car, different frock. Toerag, Q5/7, Cayenne, Urus...

I'd have more sympathy if they built something bespoke and unique and charged wallet-robbing prices.

Edited by LuS1fer on Wednesday 25th April 12:34

Krikkit

4,867 posts

61 months

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Wednesday 25th April 2012 quote quote all
DanB7290 said:
joebongo said:
Souped up Toerag. It's not a real Lambo. More bling for the thickies. Say no more.
But if the cash from the thickness means we keep getting mental V12 things then I'm all for it.
Quite! It's too dismissive to say it's not a Lambo - it is. But it's also a crutch, enabling the company to make some more cash and keep on making ridiculous cars.

If anything this has more of a place in the market than the BMW X5/6, because they make plenty of cash from humdrum saloons etc, there's no need for them to ruin the roads with that. Bentley, Porsche and Lambo need to secure themselves making Cheshire-compatible cars, so let them.

Fire99

8,486 posts

109 months

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Wednesday 25th April 2012 quote quote all
I don't blame them for this. It'll certainly make economic sense.
Unfortunately as much as it keeps the accountants happy, all this cross-platform malarkey stifles innovation and being unique. Add on top the fact that Lamborghini is now part of a much bigger puzzle (VAG), the mad scientists in the R&D department will have an arm tied behind their backs.

I don't doubt it'll be a fast and fairly bold SUV but we're in an age where divisions between brands is narrowing and it's more a 'flavour' choice rather than something that really is completely different from the opposition.


Richard A

123 posts

56 months

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Wednesday 25th April 2012 quote quote all
I'm still not sure if I understand the accounting argument within a diverse group like Volkswagen. So what if Lambo, without the Urinus, can't quite balance the books. Is that entirely necessary within one division of the Volkswagen empire? Isn't the kudos of having one of the wildest sportscar makers in your portfolio a kind of cross group benefit? I can't see the point of naffing the brand on the altar of the balance sheet.

wotnot

245 posts

54 months

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Wednesday 25th April 2012 quote quote all
I've never been a fan of SUVs and can't see myself ever driving one, but you only have to see the sales figures for Cayennes and Range Rovers to see that it is a complete no-brainer for Lambo to build these things. They are in this game to make money after all.
And, to be fair, it's not like they've given up making mad-as-a-box-of-frogs supercars is it?

danyeates

5,601 posts

102 months

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Wednesday 25th April 2012 quote quote all
Lol, the tyres match the silly new lights. I'm hating a lot of new cars right now. They all look ridiculous!

All these funny octagons, pentagons and triangles everywhere. For some reason it reminds me of how people used to imagine the future. When you watch the old 1960's films set in the future. Just looks cheap and tacky. The interior doesn't give the impression of quality.
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