Lamborghini and Mercedes confirm high-performance SUVs

Lambo’s Urus starts production in April

The Lamborghini Urus has been steadily and slowly developing from a concept car, when it first appeared at the Beijing motor show in 2012

The Lamborghini Urus has been steadily and slowly developing from a concept car, when it first appeared at the Beijing motor show in 2012

 

Just when you thought that care for the environment and electrification were what the motor industry was all about, Lamborghini and Mercedes-Benz have both announced production of enormous SUVs with even more enormous engines.

The Lamborghini Urus has been steadily and slowly developing from a concept car, when it first appeared at the Beijing motor show in 2012. Those anticipating using their big Lambo SUV for the school run in May will be disappointed though - according to Lamborghini’s CEO, Stefano Domenicalli, the first cars will be development prototypes, not customer-ready vehicles.

“Production will start in April, though the plant will initially build pre-series models. As you know, this is an entirely new process so the first few cars will be prototypes. It’s a very delicate period, which is why 2017 will be a very important year or us. Don’t underestimate the big step we’re taking,” Domenicali said in an interview with Digital Trends.

“It’s easy just to remember the number 7,000 [Lamborghini’s previously-stated annual production goal], but we need to prepare the after-sales network and the dealers; they need to know the car. The first cars will also be used to train people. It’s a matrix of complexity that, for our dimension, is a big, big step,” he said.

The Urus engine lineup will be heavily influenced by the cars with which it shares a platform - the Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne, Bentley Bentayga and the next-gen VW Touareg. That means that the primary Urus powerplant will be the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine. Lamborghini has previously said that there will be a hybrid option too, drawing on Porsche’s expertise. A V12 model has not been officially announced as yet, but it is possible that a limited run of range-topping Uruses will be built with the 6.5-litre engine from the Aventador.

The Urus is hugely significant to Lamborghini, not least because its shared chassis means it will become the most profitable vehicle for the brand and is expected to at least double sales. Lambo is in the process of doubling its factory floorspace to 150,000 square metres, and its workforce is expected to grow by around 600, to just over 2,000 employees, mostly on the production lines.

Mercedes, meanwhile, isn’t building an all-new V12 off-roader, but adding some dubious style to an existing one. By adding a 630hp V12 engine and chopping the back section off the roof of a G-Class SUV, Mercedes has created the Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet (these leaked photos come from the website Fly-Wheel).

It’s based on the high-riding chassis of the limited edition G500 4x42 but swaps out that car’s twin-turbo V8 for the big bent-twelve from the Maybach version of the S-Class. Just 99 will be built, with that rear convertible section perfect for military parades or just pretending to be the Pope for a day. Expect most, if not all, production to go to the Middle East.