Supercar makers have long known that parked next to that snarling Lamborghini, racing-red Ferrari, or stately Bentley at some of the globe's toniest addresses is a practical SUV. With the sport utility vehicle market growing by leaps and bounds, they increasingly want in on those profits.
by David Compa
MILAN -- Supercar makers have long known that parked next to that snarling Lamborghini, racing-red Ferrari, or stately Bentley at some of the globe's toniest addresses is a practical SUV. With the sport utility vehicle market growing by leaps and bounds, they increasingly want in on those profits. Lamborghini unveiled the once-improbable Urus SUV on Monday at its headquarters in Sant'Agata, Italy, where the supercar maker owned by the Volkswagen group is expanding the factory to meet utility vehicle demand. The Urus enters a luxury field crowded with the Mercedes G-Class, the Bentley Bentayga and the trailblazing Porsche Cayenne -- and soon to be joined by Aston Martin, Rolls Royce and in all probability, Ferrari. Yianni Charalambous placed an order even before he saw the Urus in person Monday. He expects to park it next to his Lamborghini Aventador supercar come September. "I wanted a double-Lamborghini garage," Charalambous said, growing impatient while a technical glitch delayed the unveiling ceremony on the Sant'Agata factory floor. "I have always had a four-by-four. And I have always had a Lamborghini," the Londoner said. "I have had Range Rovers. I wanted something different." Lamborghini dabbled in the SUV market in the 1980s and 1990s with the boxy LM 002, which sported a body shape not all that different from the Hummer's. But the Hummer's lower price was hard to beat. Lamborghini ended up only building a few hundred of the LM 002. "Now we live in a different world," John Giunta, a Lamborghini dealer in Sarasota, Florida, said. "The lines of this is more modernized, and something of this price point can survive now." The 32 Lamborghini dealers in the United States already have orders ranging from 10 to 25, Giunta said. In the U.S., the Urus starts at $200,000 (168,718 euros.) The European base price is just under 171,500 euros ($203,322.) The Urus boasts the high centre-of-gravity which has made SUVs so popular, but Lamborghini chief engineer Maurizio Reggiani said that the height can be adjusted to a lower drive for the track or higher for off-road performance. The Urus can go from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour (62 mph) in 3.6 seconds and brake from 100