Supercar manufacturers are increasingly delving into the SUV market, including Lamborghini. The carmaker unveiled the 2019 Urus during a launch event at its headquarters in Sant’Agata, Italy, this week. It will compete with the Mercedes G-Class, Bentley Bentayga and Porsche Cayenne, as well as future models to be released by Aston Martin, Rolls Royce, and in all likelihood, Ferrari.
The Urus, according to Lamborghini, is named after “one of the large, wild ancestors of domestic cattle.” Its style is reminiscent of many of the brand’s sport coupes but with extra doors, a rear seat and more cargo space. It will feature Level 2 driver assistance (steering and braking) that will kick in at low or moderate speeds, reports The Verge.
The 4.0-liter V8 has two turbochargers and 650 horsepower with a top speed of 190 mph. It can travel from 0-62 mph in 3.6 seconds. It will go on sale next spring for approximately $200,000 US, but options will drive the price up. The hefty price tag is still much lower than competitors such as the Mercedes AMG G65.
Videos of the Urus show the SUV cruising around the desert, making it appealing for Middle Eastern enthusiasts as well as consumers in Africa and Russia who may want something heftier to navigate difficult road conditions.
Transitioning into the SUV market is a natural move for most manufacturers such as Lamborghini, despite being sports car-centred.
“I think if you look at those brands’ image, I think you would look at an SUV — especially a Lamborghini — as almost a sell-out move. I don’t think that is the case anymore,” Jeff Schuster, senior vice president at LMC Automotive in Detroit told USA Today. “There is some risk to the purist, who can only see one view of the brand. But as long as they don’t move too far out of who they are, a lineup can include an SUV in these brands. I wouldn’t have said that five years ago.”
Sales of luxury SUVs have skyrocketed over the years, with 21,000 vehicles sold in 2016. Many of these were the Mercedes G-Class and Bentley Bentayga, according to IHS Automotive. By 2020, the figure is expected to reach 29,300 vehicles sold. If Ferrari enters the market, McLaren will be the sole supercar manufacturer to not have an SUV offering.
Sales of mass market SUVs grew from just under 8 million vehicles sold in 2006 to nearly 26.5 million sold in 2016. Experts predict a 28 percent growth in sales by 2020.
Lamborghini, which is part of the VW group, shares its SUV platforms with the Bentley Bentayga and the Audi Q7. This allows the brand to keep development costs down while expanding profit margins.
“They are aiming to have a vehicle which epitomizes what the brand’s core characteristics are: sport, high performance and accessible to customers who had to give up a sports car because they are having children, or just couldn’t get into a sports car anymore or it wasn’t practical,” IHS Automotive analyst Ian Fletcher told USA Today. “It broadens the brand to a wider group.”