Italian supercar marque Lamborghini has announced plans to enter the luxury SUV market in 2017.
The new model, which will not only rival the established Range Rover, but also new models from Bentley and Rolls-Royce, will be based on the striking Urus concept car, which was first unveiled at the 2012 Beijing motor show.
Speaking at this week’s Detroit motor show, Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann said he expected the Urus to make showrooms within three years, adding that the luxury SUV market is still growing.
While full details of the new SUV are still some way off, the Urus is expected to use a turbocharged version of the 5.2-litre V10 petrol engine found in the Gallardo and forthcoming Hurucan supercars. With a projected power output of over 580bhp, it will provide a credible rival to the current crop of performance SUVs such as the Porsche Cayenne Turbo.
The Urus is likely to share its underpinnings with its sisters cars the Audi Q7 and Volkswagen Touareg, though extensive use of light-weight carbon-fibre in its construction should help keep it relatively light on its toes.
While a high-performance petrol SUV may be as relevant to UK buyers as a car with no windscreen wipers, demand from around the world, particularly China and Russia, means that an increasing number of manufactures are diversifying their traditional model portfolios to include a high-riding four-wheel-drive option.
The high-end SUV market is set to get increasingly crowded. Not only is Bentley pressing ahead with putting its controversial EX9 F concept into production, similar products are expected from Rolls-Royce and Maserati in the next few years.
Though Lamborghini is best known for its low-slung sports cars, it does have previous experience with performance off-roaders, having previously released the LM002 SUV – affectionately known as the Rambo Lambo – in 1993.
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