Aventador. Miura. Countach. Gallardo. Murcielago. Diablo. Lamborghinis have always gotten tough, threatening names. Because they’ve all been named for fighting bulls. The kind who stand still grunting until they get angry and try to kill you in a split second. But the new Lambroghini, unveiled just today at the Beijing Motor Show, isn’t named after a raging bull. Urus is the German word for “aurochs,” the gigantic ancestor of a common beef cow. This may be appropriate for this newest Lambo, though, because it’s an SUV.
Now before you cry blasphemy, you should know that Lamborghini has built an SUV in the past. The LM002 was produced from 1986-1993, and was originally imagined as a US military vehicle. Sant Agata only put together 328 before closing the project down, but an LM002 looks very cool and is capable to match. Plus, it has the V12 from a Countach, which doesn’t hurt.
But an SUV in 1986 meant something very different than it does today, when it carries many grocery-getting implications. Seeing one from a company who builds some of the least mentally stable supercars on the planet is a bit disturbing. It’s like when Scorsese announced he’d be directing a children’s movie (though to be fair, Hugo was pretty good).
Yet ol’ Eyebrows took on a unique script so he could try new things, expand his repertoire, stretch his creativity. Lamborghini’s decision to build something from which it’s easy to lift a child seat was anything but creative. In fact, it’s not at all hard to imagine the suits at VW sending emails, marked with red exclamation points, concerting which Italians might lose their jobs if they didn’t put together an SUV.
The proof is in the parts. The Urus’ platform can also be found in the Audi Q7, the Bently Exp 9 F (also bowing at Beijing), and most originally in the Porsche Cayenne, so it was designed to perform, but for a Porsche, not a Lamborghini. This alone takes a big chunk out of the Urus’ soul. Speaking of that Bentley, the Urus will also share its V8, tuned to 600 hp. That’s more than enough for pedal-down fun, but it just doesn’t feel like a Lamborghini.
But enough about the feel. What about the look? It’s as you’d expect from Lamborghini: shocking. Sort of the most comfortable five-door Aventador Yao Ming could imagine. It’s all spearheads and a big, challenging shoulder line. But it definitely doesn’t look like an off-roader. The fender armor is narrower than a Cross pen, and when each paint chip will set you back a week’s salary, you’ll be hesitant to leave the tarmac. And then there’s cargo room, which is probably best described as “Crosstouresque,” since that roof slopes back at such a mean angle.
All together, it doesn’t even seem so much an SUV as a crossover, probably an enthusiast’s least favorite platform: too tall to look fast, too small to be practical, and too soft to drive over the river and through the woods. And yet, it’s a Lamborghini, isn’t it? It’s something we don’t really know how to process.
So we’ll have to see how it performs when the production version drops in 2015. Except in showrooms. We already know how it will perform there. It will sell like…well, like a novel luxury crossover. Certainly well enough to satisfy the VW brass.