The Lamborghini Urus SUV will be powered by the company’s first turbocharged V8 powerplant when it goes on sale in 2018.
Chief executive Stephan Winkelmann and R&D boss Maurizio Reggiani have confirmed to Autocar that the Italian company’s first 4x4 since the LM002 will eschew the naturally aspirated V10 and V12 units which power the current Huracan and Aventador sports cars in favour of a twin-turbocharged eight-cylinder unit with a cubic capacity of 4.0 litres. Winkelmann described the move as “a major step” for the company.
In addition to the turbo unit’s benefits in terms of CO2 emissions, a turbocharged V8 makes sense because of the extensive power spread, with low-end torque to give the car true off-road credentials and top-end power in keeping with Lamborghini’s sports cars.
Reggiani said: “In acceleration and in off-road capability it is really important to have a high level of torque, in order to move as quickly as possible and in an off-road situation to have the ability to come out of a critical situation easily. We decided that a turbo for a super sport SUV is the best choice. The engine must be light and powerful and with the capability with this torque at low revs to allow the car to be ‘elastic’ in every type of condition.”
“On the track the car was able to demonstrate all of those capabilities in terms of the engine and the chassis control. Next spring we will be able to fully assess the off-road capabilities of the car,” he added.
“This engine is not used by anybody else, only for Lamborghini. To be the most powerful in the class it must have something that is dedicated to our brand. It must be able to produce the right amount power and torque, but do that in conjunction with the right transmission and chassis control that makes it a true Lamborghini.”
Winkelmann has already had an early experience of twin-turbocharged V8 Urus during benchmarking comparison tests against Lamborghini’s luxury SUV rivals.
“In early autumn I drove a prototype for the first time on a racetrack and the performance was great,” he said. “I was astonished; it was more than any of us expected, which is a car that is very powerful but easy to drive, with very good handling, and also in terms of driveability and comfort, it has a limousine feel in an SUV. This is very important to us.
“It will be a true Lamborghini because it will be the fastest among the SUVs. We will have the most powerful engine and will have the car that is going to be a real super sports SUV. It has to keep the balance between matching the DNA of the brand, that is being a car that is really driveable and also have a lot of off-road capability, but the driving on the roads is much more important.”
“It’s a major step. We are almost done with the exterior design. There are minor adjustments. If you see the car you will recall the red concept we showed at Beijing, but it now has more roominess and an evolved design; it is more state-of-the-art compared with that concept”.
Winkelmann said a plug-in hybrid version of the Urus is still a possibility further down the line, and the car is being engineered to accept a battery pack and electric motors. However, the car will remain strictly four-wheel drive; although Lamborghini recently unveiled a rear-wheel-drive Huracan variant, this policy won’t be repeated on the Aventador and Urus. The former needs all-wheel drive to safely harness its power, and the latter must retain authentic off-road capability.