After teasing the public for three years, Lamborghini revealed that it is finalizing plans for its next vehicle this year, which may be a hybrid SUV.
Lamborghini CEO and President Stephan Winkelmann talked about the SUV last week with Road & Track Web Editor Alex Kierstein, and explained why a hybrid powertrain would be considered.
“It’s clear that if we are going to have a third model, if it’s an SUV – we are working on something like this, without having an official goal – this could be a car where you have turbos, you also have for the first time hybridization, inside a Lamborghini. This would then benefit fleet consumption of our brand,” said Winkelmann.
“So there are advantages, and there are things we’re looking into, but first of all we have to get the ‘go’ for the third car. We don’t want to be thinking of something that’s not going to happen.
“By this year we should know [about the third car].”
Winkelmann first introduced the concept SUV at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show, calling the Urus the “pride of the entire team of Lamborghini.”
It won’t be the first SUV from the Italian carmaker. The four-wheel drive LM002 was in production for seven years, with 328 units built before production ceased in 1993.
While the angular profile of the LM002 brings to mind the boxy Hummer, the Urus follows crossover-like styling cues. Similarities with the Urus and the Porsche Cayenne and Bentley EXP 9 are not a coincidence: all three share the same chassis.
With numerous models to compete against, some analysts question if the premium crossover market is large enough for one more. Add in a hybrid powertrain, and the market shrinks even further.
Last year, Porsche reported selling 16,205 Cayennes. Its hybrid and plug-in hybrid Cayenne models accounted for less than 800 of these sales – not even 5-percent of the total.
If the Urus is produced, Winkelmann said that the U.S. is “for sure” a good market, along with Europe, the Middle East and China.
“We see this as a growing segment, the SUV segment, is a good balance in the different regions of the world,” said Winkelmann.
“The super-sportscar market is stagnating,” he added.
If the Urus isn’t powered by a hybrid, it will most likely be turbocharged. Either way, all-wheel drive is a certainty.
“For the SUV, for the first time it could be a turbo, or it could be a plug-in [hybrid]. So this is something which I see as a possible solution. This is something we are looking into,” Winkelmann said.
All-wheel drive “is one of our [Unique Selling Propositions] since the beginning of the 1990s, and sure, if we do an SUV, there you go.
“This is one of the things that makes the cars safer, the customer more relaxed. This is important for us.”