• If Built, Lamborghini’s SUV Will Debut Turbo Or Hybrid Powertrain

Dolph Lundgren, prior to portraying Ivan "I will break you" Drago in Rocky IV, got a degree in chemical engineering. The same guy who once worked as a bouncer — that Swedish mountain of muscle with a 3rd degree black belt, has an IQ of 180. Remember that as you read about Lambo’s newest SUV, the Urus.

Like Dolph, the Urus comes off a bit like a brutish caveman; big, primitive, unsophisticated, stupid even. Maybe that’s why Lambo chose the unusual name. It certainly isn’t as sexy as "Reventon" or "Murcielago," which follow the recent Lambo scheme of naming cars after famous fighting bulls. Rather, the Urus (aka "Aurochs" or "Aurox") is the wild progenitor of modern domestic cattle. A big, nasty beast as sophisticated as a boulder, and about half as smart.

But all modern bulls share DNA, and so it is with modern Lamborghinis, SUVs and tractors. Recall, Lambo started out making tractors, and produced the LM002 military SUV from 1986 to 1993. The LM002 "Rambo Lambo" was at the time considered almost universally superior to the AM General Hummer, and not just because it was the fastest four-wheel-drive vehicle in history. It was only the price, fuel economy and (most importantly) production capacity and the promised availability of spare parts that won AM General a place in military history.

But the LM002, for all its brutish strength, was a bit dumb compared to its modern descendant, the Urus. If tractors were Lamborghini’s upright monkeys, and the LM002 was Cro Magnon man, then the now-confirmed-for-production Urus is Ivan Drago. Sure, it might look like a caveman...but with carbon fiber bones and a twin-turbo hybrid heart, this heavy hitter may end up being the smartest brute on the road today.

Continue reading to learn more about Lamborghini’s future SUV.


Lamborghini has been teasing the Urus for years, unveiling it first at the Beijing Auto Show in 2012. That in itself tells you something about the seemingly unusual move of reviving the Lambo SUV. While SUVs have long since jumped the shark here in the U.S., we appear to have exported our love of Tall Wagons to China. Perhaps they got it in a package deal with the rest of our economy. Regardless, in China, it’s 1993 all over again, and it’s The People’s Republic of SUVs now.

Ultimately, that was the rationale behind re-introducing the Lamborghini SUV, although Lambo certainly expects to sell a few here in America. But there’s no doubt that the Urus, if it does find a market here, will find that market a pretty small niche occupied by a certain type of buyer.

Don’t get me wrong, there certainly is a worldwide and domestic market for upscale performance SUVs. Lambo’s expecting the Urus to quickly become its volume sales leader, which probably isn’t too difficult for a company with a history of building million-dollar supercars out of carbon fiber. However, they’ll find that market already well-served by the very vehicles with which the Urus shares a chassis: the VW Touareg, Bentley EXP 9, Audi Q7 and (most notably) the Porsche Cayenne.

That’s drawn a bit of criticism so far from certain cynics who contend that this is little more than an exercise in badge engineering. Granted, it’s worth mentioning that of those companies, Lamborghini is the only one with a legitimate history of producing high-performance SUVs — the Countach-engined LM002 was far and away the fastest SUV ever produced, probably up until the SRT Jeep Cherokee and Porsche Cayenne arrived.

Lambo is serious about recapturing that title, too. If all goes as planned, the Urus will be the first production SUV to break the 200 mph barrier, which is no mean feat for a vehicle whose aerodynamics are probably only slightly better than an original Countach. That’s going to take some serious muscle — or rather, brains.

Body and Chassis

Lamborghini has gone out of its way to take some weight off this chassis, and not by rebuilding the entire thing out of forged carbon fiber. Though, let’s be real here — it’s probably been discussed, and the Urus could use a spotlight halo version. Don’t be surprised if Lambo does eventually do something like an Urus Sesto Elemento, for publicity if nothing else.

The production version will make use of carbon fiber, but in a much more limited way. Lambo claims to have taken off more than 200 pounds using high-tech composites — which is at least a nice way of justifying the de rigeur use of the exposed carbon trim panels and pedals owners will need to convince themselves that the Urus isn’t just an Cayenne in a Halloween costume.

But even if it was a Halloween costume, it’s a fine-looking one. Most noticeable is the intentional family resemblance to the Reventon via the headlights, front and rear fascias, and the air ducts and geometric tail pipes. But look closer and you can see several other subtle little touches, nods to Lamborghini’s now 50-year history and SUV-building heritage. See those slanted, squared-off wheel arches? Pure LM002, and by extension the Countach that Lambo styled the LM002 to resemble. It says a lot about Lamborghini styling that a cue from the mid-70s still looks modern 40 years later.

However, it must be said that styling {}was the only remotely modern thing about the Countach, even then. Mechanically, it was barely out of the 1950s.

Oh, how times change.


A lot of good has come from Lamborghini’s ownership by the VW Group. For a long time, Lambo was all passion and no potential, a hot-headed kid desperately in need of a grown-up mentor. They found that maturity in Audi, which has been working in the most grown-up way possible on some of the best diesel and hybrid powertrains in the business today.

The old Lamborghini would have just rebuilt the LM002, dropping in a massive V-12 from the Aventador. Not under Audi’s tutelage. It’s now been confirmed that the Urus will arrive with a hybrid powerplant sourced from Audi, almost certainly the 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8 that Audi displayed in the Quattro concept car last year. While the Quattro concept car will probably never see production, its 4.0-liter powerhouse will.

In the Quattro, the engine alone produced 695 horsepower, with a disc-shaped 150-horse electric motor sandwiched between the engine and tranny providing supplemental thrust. A lithium-ion battery pack and plug-in capability provided 31 miles of electric-only range, 113 mpg equivalent and a crushing 3.7-second sprint to 60 mph.

Obviously, the Urus won’t be quite that quick. Even with carbon-fiber arm rests, it will still be a heavy beast. Odds are also good that it won’t be tuned to make quite that much power; in earlier interviews Lambo’s CEO said it would be {}one of the most powerful SUVs ever built, so don’t expect 850 horsepower right out of the gate. However, 600-plus isn’t unlikely; they’ll need at least that if they hope to approach the 200 mph mark with this chassis. Efficiency figures will probably also be a bit lower because of the Urus’ weight; but Audi’s Q7 e-tron (using a diesel) gets 140 to 170 mpg equivalent, so perhaps 100-plus isn’t impossible with the Urus.

Either way, it’s going to be brutally fast, smart and efficient.


Calling Lamborghini’s Urus "the new LM002" might be sort of accurate, at least in the sense that calling a chemical engineer "the new caveman" might be accurate. It might be accurate to call the Urus a Cayenne or Q7 in a $200,000 Halloween costume — which is also true, in the sense that a Bentley is really just a big Volkswagen these days.

You could also say that Lambo’s Urus is to the LM002 what Hummer’s H2 was to the original Humvee. That isn’t too far from the truth, though Lamborghini probably wouldn’t appreciate the comparison. Like the H2, the Urus will be been civilized, updated, and made more practical after sitting atop a platform shared with other vehicles in the segment. Also like the H2, it’s a rebodied younger sibling built for street duty, with only a passing cosmetic resemblance to its corporate forebear.

However, unlike Hummer’s H2, the Urus isn’t a completely tragic joke.

It’s a beast with a brain, a hulking marauder with the mind of an engineer. In a world where fine SUVs, performance cars and economical hybrids exist separately, the contradiction of their coexisting in one body borders on pointless.

But as long as Ivan Drago lives, it will be utterly amazing that they can.

Lamborghini SUV

2012 Lamborghini Urus High Resolution Exterior
- image 451043

Source: RoadAndTrack

Richard Rowe
Richard Rowe
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