Lamborghini, one of the most radical cars producer, couldn’t resist the temptation of entering the SUV segment. No one would have ever thought that the “bad girls”, the Aventadors and the Huracans would have seen a family Four Wheel Drive big sister joining the company. But, if we only go back to 1986, we could actually find out that Lamborghini was already ahead of time in this regard, when no one could dare to mix supercars luxury vehicles with capable all terrain machines. When the legendary LM002, mounting the iconic Countach engine, was launched, the market got shocked. Suddenly money could buy a V12, 5.2 Ltr, capable of 450 Bhp Sport Utility Vehicle, with a Lamborghini badge on it. Production was limited to 328 units. It was another sheer genius idea of the self educated master Ferruccio Lamborghini, the man that made legends out of a tractor Company
32 years after, the new URUS though has a bigger challenge. It enters a mature field, populated by extraordinary vehicles that already offer excellent road skills combined with supernatural performance and remarkable off road capabilities. Lambo had to go radical again. The Sant’Agata company introduces a “Super Sport Utility Vehicle”, creating a new niche and offering extreme road performance, available till now only on super cars. It is equipped with modern vehicle dynamics technology, mainly thanks to 4-wheel-steering, 4-wheel-drive system with active rear torque vectoring, adaptive air suspension with active dampers, a roll stabilization system with continuous and immediate response, carbon ceramic brakes (440 mm at the front and 370 mm at the rear) and rims up to 23″ with mixed tires. All this is necessary to tame 2,200 Kg of weight potentially traveling at more than 300 Km/h. It is based on the same platform of the Audi Q7, the Bentley Bentayga and the Porsche Cayenne but it features a large use of Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymers panels in order to reduce weight and increase body rigidity.
The engine choice has been a V8, 4.0 Ltr, twin Turbo, capable of 650 Bhp at 6,000 Rpm and a mighty torque of 850 Nm available from 2,250 RPM to 4,500 RPM. The V12 architecture could not offer the same torque availability at lower revolutions and at Lamborghini they needed this characteristic to enhance the off road capabilities. 3.6 seconds are enough to reach 100 Km/h from still and 200 Km/h are reached in 12.8 seconds. A very characteristic exhaust noise accompanies this powerhouse. When we are allowed to switch on the engine, we understand that there is no mistake; this is a Lamborghini voice. All this performance need to be usable in every condition, hence there are five driving programs available at a touch in the center console. Strada (street), Sport, Corsa (track), Terra (dirt), Sabbia (sand), and Neve (snow) are the available driving modes, with the latter three possibly only available on the off-road package offered. This will include less prominent lower front and rear bumpers for better ramp and departure angles.
The interiors are special too. The space is good enough for four passengers but the highlight is the driver position. The feel is to enter a hyper technological ship, where the jet-fighter like switches make you feel in control of a war machine. You are also pampered by great quality of leathers and carbon fiber panels, and the seats feel incredibly supportive. We cannot wait to drive one to tell you more of the actual driving experience.
Mr. Stefano Domenicali is giving us more valuable insights in an exclusive interview in Dubai
IN: Mr. Domenicali, first of all congratulations on the launch of the new Super SUV. It was not expected from such an iconic sports car manufacturer to enter this segment but surely the approach looks radical, as the rest of the cars from Sant’Agata. What has been driving the production of this new model? The commercial need to expand into new territories or the pure old passion for extreme machines, like Lamborghini did with the iconic LM002?
SD: Lamborghini saw an opportunity of entering the segment of the SUV, which is growing massively all over the world. We already had this vision when starting producing the LM002, a hyper SUV in 1986. In the meantime, the Company decided to offer a super exclusive product in the segment, creating a “niche in the niche”. Basically, we combined the commercial opportunity of growing our products portfolio with the creation of a new concept inside an already exclusive sub-segment, the luxury SUV. We wanted to be the first Company to explore the Hyper SUV territory and here is the Urus, an 8 Cylinder, Twin Turbo, capable of 650 Bhp and of tackling sand dunes, ice, snow, race track and every day driving.
IN: Mr. Domenicali, what is the production capability of the new Urus?
SD: Our full capacity will be used in 2019, with an expected capacity of 7,000 units per year. In 2018, we are forecasting to produce and sell around 3,500 units only
IN: We noticed you decided to use a modern 8 Cylinder Turbo engine in the Urus, while Lamborghini is still using the great naturally aspirated engine, 6,2 Lt 12 cylinders in the Aventador. What is the future of these types of naturally aspirated engines? Are you forecasting an extinction of the 12 cylinders engines in favor of lighter, less polluting turbocharged 6 or 8 Cylinders, even in the super cars segment?
SD: The 12 Cylinder engine will continue to be produced as long as the always stricter environmental laws will allow us to. The mix of emotions, sound, legacy and tradition on this engine architecture cannot be replaced by the modernity of the new smaller turbo engines and since we are in a niche of the super cars, we can afford to offer this very appealing solution. Furthermore, to continue offering a solution which is going against the world trend makes our 12 Cylinder unit even more exclusive
IN: Most of the manufacturers are developing and investing in the hybrid technologies. Some of the most modern super cars offer hybrid features to increase torque, range, performance and modernity. Is Lamborghini thinking of using these technologies in the near future?
SD: We are surely looking into Hybrid solutions because we understand that this is the future. However, we need to maintain our identity of an “informal” exclusive super cars manufacturer. I can reveal that the next generation of the Aventador will still be 12 Cylinders but with a Hybrid Unit integrated to it
IN: Let’s talk about the market. The UAE market has become quite a strong region for Lamborghini in term of units sold. How do you consider this part of the world when you are formulating your strategies for new models? How does a company like Lamborghini think to satisfy the clients of 4 continents at the same time, making such extreme cars?
SD: This is a tricky question because we sell quite evenly on four continents and EMEA represents nearly 33% of our total sales. The Middle East is a very receptive market for us but the Far East is also strong and the USA Area is our most important “client” in terms of units sold. So, we cannot focus on one area of the world, trying to satisfy that portion of clientele and we have to continue in respect of our own nature and DNA. It’s a balance on which we work daily
IN: After dropping out of the WEC of Audi, has the group, including Lamborghini, ever thought of entering F1? Maybe with an Audi Chassis and Lamborghini Engine? That would be exotic!
SD: Yes, it would be fantastic but the Company has clearly decided to follow a different path and a different strategy of investment, hence I don’t see this possibility in the near future. Big manufacturers know how fascinating is the F1 world but we also know how big is the investment and how big is the risk of not getting the results one hopes.
One question to with Mrs. Katia Bassi, Chief Marketing Officer
IN: Mrs. Bassi, can you explain your Company vision of your Brand?
KB: Our brand is based on “informal Luxury”, which means that our products are young, colorful. They sound good and they let our clients express themselves with a great degree of freedom. We consider our product and we promote it as an “object of pure desire”, made of unique design and most advanced technologies. All these elements are also helping our cars to maintain a very high resale value. We have noticed that for example the social media, which is typically the territory of the new generations, is incredibly receptive and rich. Lamborghini cars clients are now a mix of loyal repetitive clients combined with a large community of young passionate customers. We “Design Experiences”.