Lamborghini Urus blends supercar DNA, SUV practicality

The newest Lamborghini model has the typical qualities of a Lamborghini - the name, heritage, powerful engine and a great sound that only an Italian car seems to be able to make.

But this new Lambo is a little different, or actually a lot different. It's an SUV.

"The Urus has given a different dimension to our brand. And it's a game changer, because we are doubling our volume," said Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali when I chatted with him during a rare visit to Southern California.

The fabled Italian car maker has joined the world of upscale sport utility vehicles. The new Urus blends supercar DNA with SUV practicality. A twin-turbocharged V8 sends 641 horsepower to all four wheels, and it'll carry people and cargo with ease. The base price is $200,000 before options. The example I tested came in at a jaw-dropping $243,000.

This vehicle begs the question, why? It's simple. Lamborghini, like all car companies, has its eye on the big picture. And that big picture means getting your brand out there to a wider audience.

"We are targeting new people that we want to know what our car is. And they need to know the philosophy of our brand. And we're very happy about that," said Domenicali.

Lamboghini joins a growing list of super-premium car brands jumping into the SUV arena. In recent years, Bentley, Maserati and Rolls-Royce have brought sport utilities to market. Now, Lamborghini, and even its long-time arch-rival Ferrari will be debuting an SUV in a few years.

While many companies are coming up with an SUV-style vehicle for the first time, the Urus is actually not Lamborghini's first one. More than 30 years ago they stunned the car world by introducing the LM002, a wild, over-the-top exotic SUV with a $120,000 price tag in 1987 - the same price as a Countach exotic car at the time. No wonder they only sold just over 300 of them.

It's a different story today, as the Urus is much more conventional. And even at its lofty sticker price, it's priced more conventionally in its target segment of ultra-lux SUVs.

The Urus may be a new type of car for the brand, but Lamborghini assures its long-time fans that it will never stop making those exotic sports cars.

"No way. That's our main focus, and we're going to stay there forever," noted Domenicali.
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