Lamborghini is synonymous with the supercar and hypercar worlds. They have long been the pioneers in aesthetics combined with cutting edge technology to provide the world with exquisite examples of work. It is however not the only territory Lamborghini has explored over the years, and with good reason too.
Lamborghini started experimenting with alternative ranges and additions to their super-sports car only portfolio quite while back. The first occourence of this explanatory voyage started in 1976, with the Cheetah. The car was the first attempt at potentially providing the United States military with off-road vehicles. Lambo was after some much needed cash to keep the company afloat, however after many complications the entire project was scrapped. (Lambocars 2000-2013) After a few updates and improvement over following the years, the LM002 came to fruition in 1986, and was the last example of Lamborghini’s detour for decades to come. (Lambocars 2000-2013)
For the next 22 years, the company continued producing sports and supercars only, and had no intensions of broadening their customer base until the year 2008. On the 1st of October the company revealed their brand new idea, and stepping away from the norm, a 4-door saloon. This car was the impressive looking Lamborghini Estoque. (Lambocars 2000-2013)
The design aesthetics and styling followed the fundamental elements of a true raging bull. Although this was the pre-Aventador era, and the car got a lot of its styling and use of lines from the Murcielago and the Gallardo, it also made a lot of innovative changes to carry the aesthetic characteristics into future Lamborghinis. The car featured a crisp look, utilising the signature geometric intakes and included features such as the Y-shaped headlights, and taillamps, which were implemented into the later released Aventador.
The car was initially designed to use Audi’s modular-longitudinal platform, which were a basis for cars such as the Audi A4, A6, A7, A8 and VW Phaeton. This was an obvious choice as Lamborghini is owned by the Volkswagen group, and therefore, platform sharing would mean less production costs for such an extreme 4-door saloon. (Caranddriver 2015) The Estoque was going to be at the top-end of the 4-door saloon market, and was set out to challenge the likes of Porsche with their Panamera, which was under development at the same time, as well as Audi’s new top-of-the line Audi A7, S7, the Mercedes-Benz CLS and the Aston Martine Rapide. (Caranddriver 2015)
In terms of power and speed this was going to be no challenge at all, as the Estoque housed a colossal 5.2 litre V10 engine, taken straight from the production Gallardo LP560-4, meaning 560bhp was on tap to propel the extravagant family supercar. (Lambocars 2000-2013) The drivetrain was naturally going to be a 4-wheel drive and so the car was going to hold its own all the way up to its’ limited top speed of 186mph (299km/h). (Autocar 2014) This was accompanied by prospects to possibly use a turbo diesel engine as well as a hybrid V8.
Lamborghini had had very high hopes with the Estoque, and projected sales figured said that a production of about 1500-2000 models would be an annual goal. The expected launch for public purchase had been placed at the year 2012, and entering showrooms as early as the end of year 2011. (Autocar 2014)
Unfortunately 2009 brought with it an economic downturn, and Lambo put the idea of introducing a 3rd product into their range on hold. Lamborghini had not taken any decisions on production, (Topgear 2015) and the project was therefore halted as it was to be an unstable venture at the time. After that, the idea of a high-end family car has not been explored again, and it really is a pity as a 4-door super saloon would have been a great addition to the Lambo line-up.
The ventures did not stop there however, as in an unpredictable turn of events, Lambo brought to reality the Urus; and unveiled it at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show.
The Urus is Lamborghini’s modern take on an SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle), intended to carry a family of four, on an everyday basis. (Topgear 2015) The car is set to be a threat against the most luxurious of SUV’s in the market such as the Porsche Cayenne, Mercedes G-Class, Range Rover Sport and the 2016 Bentley SUV. The price was to sit at around £150,000 which sets it right between the Aventador and all new Huracàn. (Topgear 2015)
“SUVs make up one of the most successful market segments worldwide, and the Urus is the most extreme interpretation of the SUV idea: it is the Lamborghini of SUVs.” ( Stephen Winkelmann, Lamborghini CEO cited in Topgear 2012)
It is said to use an evolution of Audi’s LBM platform, and will share it with the also VW owned, Porsche Cayenne, VW Touareg and Audi Q7 platforms. (Autocar 2014) If this venture is successful, then Lamborghini will surely be capturing the high-end SUV market with force. In terms of engine, the car is planned to make use of a plug-in hybrid, an Audi derived V8 or even a diesel powerhouse making about 600bhp. (Digitaltrends 2015)
The styling makes use of Lamborghini’s classic linework, and takes a lot of cues from the Estoque 4-door saloon supercar. The Urus features large geometric intakes in the front, coupled with an adjustable front spoiler, (Topgear 2015) It also integrates the new aesthetic language of Lambo lights, as in, it uses a Y-shaped lighting solution in both the front and rear of the vehicle. Crisp lines, mixed with large muscular fenders, give the car a powerful stance and a strong presence, which surely will be intimidating to see in your rear-view mirror.
Currently the Urus is set to have its official production launch in 2017, although with never ending turmoil in the Middle East, and uncertainty from Audi’s point of view, the Urus production might still be affected. Lamborghini, likes to set out on unknown ventures, and so, I wouldn’t put money on it, although, the Cayenne worked brilliantly for Porsche, and with Bentley releasing their own SUV in 2017 as well, (Digitaltrends 2015) I would say positive prospects were high.
A 4-door alternative to Lamborghini’s line-up would be a brilliant step forward into the future, and could even reinvent the name. This combined with the Asterion’s positive introduction of a plug-in hybrid system, could bring with it an extremely prosperous future for Lamborghini.
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