VALBONNE, France – A plug-in hybrid Lamborghini cross/utility vehicle is in the works.
Stephan Winkelmann, chairman and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, tells the ANSA Italian news agency the auto maker is prepared to launch the final development phase of its Urus Super CUV as soon as shareholders of parent Audi approve the business plan.
Group, which includes Audi, recently green-lighted a €200,000 ($268,000) Bentley CUV codenamed Falcon. The two projects are synergistic, in keeping with VW’s established strategy. Both would share cost-intensive components with Audi as well.
The combination of the vehicle’s Iturbi V-8 engine and electric motors reportedly will produce 670 hp.
Winkelmann says the Urus, unveiled in April 2012 at the Beijing auto show, will share the modular platform developed for the next-generation Audi Q7. Unlike the Bentley, which will share the Q7’s long wheelbase, the Lamborghini’s will be shorter.
The production version of the Urus is expected to reach the market in 2017, although sources tell WardsAuto it might arrive sooner.
The powertrain concept is optimal for the SUV, according to Winkelmann, who says: “For its mission and packaging, Urus is the perfect solution. It anticipates the near future, primarily when it comes to consider the current and upcoming limitations in some markets. Our plug-In hybrid cuts on (fuel) consumption and emissions but will do it with smaller engines.”
This implies Lamborghini is considering engines smaller than 4.0L for the Chinese market, where vehicles with larger powerplants are taxed more heavily. The auto maker is looking to China and the U.S. as its primary markets and is keeping a sharp eye on Russia.
Lamborghini also will offer a traditional internal-combustion-powered model is some markets, such as the Middle East.
The auto maker’s first foray into the SUV segment came in 1986 with the launch of the LM002, derived from a 1977 prototype codenamed the Cheetah and built to U.S. Army specifications. No LM002 models found their way into military use, but 301 civilian versions were built to 1993, according to the International Lamborghini Registry.