BIG BULL

THE URUS IS STRONG AS AN OX-LAMBO IS BET­TING ITS SALES WILL BE TOO.

Sharp Magazine Middle East (English) - - Auto - BY ADEL HABIB

The Stelvio Quadri­foglio, which takes its name from the in­fa­mous Alpine pass, has a stel­lar de­sign, win­ning driv­ing dy­nam­ics, and that unim­peach­able Ital­ian emo­tion­al­ity go­ing for it here. Alfa’s ban­tam crossover tears up the Ital­ian coun­try­side like a real heavy­weight champ and, while it might not win any awards for its lux­u­ri­ous but slightly spar­tan in­te­rior, its some­what stripped down look has a def­i­nite Ital­ian ap­peal.

TAT this point, it’s un­de­ni­able: lux­ury SUVS are a thing. So much so that Lam­borgh­ini didn’t just jump on board — they’ve built a new ship en­tirely. En­ter the Lam­borgh­ini Urus, which the au­tomaker bills as the world’s first “su­per-suv.”

This isn’t even Lam­borgh­ini’s first rodeo. From 1986 to 1993, the Ital­ian au­tomaker made the LM002, an SUV that ba­si­cally looked like a tank (it was ac­tu­ally in­tended for mil­i­tary use, but with a Coun­tach en­gine, be­cause that makes sense). Think along the vibes of the De­fender or G-wa­gen, but un­like those, it was never quite took off — the world wasn’t ready for it yet. (That, or Hum­mer al­ready had that mar­ket on lock­down.)

Fast for­ward to this week and Lam­borgh­ini just re­leased their sec­ond SUV, the Urus. First ques­tion here:

what the hell is a Urus? Ap­par­ently, it’s an­other word for the au­rochs, which were the an­ces­tors of mod­ern do­mes­ti­cated cat­tle. So Lam­borgh­ini may have just named their new SUV af­ter a cow. But hey! It could also mean they’ve do­mes­ti­cated a wild beast.

Looks-wise, it’s def­i­nitely your typ­i­cal scary-as-hell Lambo, ex­cept this time it’s hopped up on steroids. I mean, just look at the lines! Lines ev­ery­where! So sharp they’ll prob­a­bly cut the shit out of you. This thing is an­gu­lar AF, mak­ing it look hella mean, and we’re okay with that. Wait a minute— that whole do­mes­ti­cated beast thing is mak­ing sense now. Al­right Urus, I see you.

Ob­vi­ously, if you were brought up right, you know that looks aren’t ev­ery­thing; it’s about what in­side that mat­ters. Con­sid­er­ing it’s a Lam­borgh­ini, we’re prob­a­bly go­ing to like whats in­side too. Un­der the hood, is a 641-horse­power twin-turbo V-8 en­gine with a top speed of al­most 306 km/ h, and you can reach 0-100 in 3.6 sec­onds. It beats the Bent­ley Ben­tayaga’s top speed of 300 km/ h, mak­ing it the fastest SUV in the world. That’s a lot of power for a gro­cery store run, be­cause let’s be real here, no­body that gets the Urus is ac­tu­ally go­ing to take it off-road — it’s a Lam­borgh­ini for God’s sake. There’s also a ru­mour go­ing around that a plug-in hy­brid ver­sion might be avail­able af­ter pro­duc­tion be­gins in 2018. I don’t think any of us imag­ined a day where you can get a hy­brid Lam­borgh­ini, but guess what, that’s the fu­ture.

Fi­nally, let’s take a peek in­side the gor­geous Ital­ian in­te­rior. It’s ex­actly what you’d ex­pect from Lam­borgh­ini, but there’s some­thing dif­fer­ent com­pared to, say, the Aven­ta­dor. Maybe it’s the fact that there are rear seats, but some­thing is strangely ap­proach­able about this in­te­rior. Per­haps it’s the fact that you prob­a­bly won’t bang your head try­ing to get into it. Un­like the vi­cious ex­te­rior, the in­te­rior al­most looks wel­com­ing. Af­ter all, this is tech­ni­cally meant to be a fam­ily car.

To un­der­stand the ethos be­hind the Urus, one must pon­der its sales slo­gan: “We are not su­per­cars. We are Lam­borgh­ini.” It sounds rather an­ti­thet­i­cal. When you think su­per­cars, you think Lam­borgh­ini, don’t you?

Posters of the com­pany’s ul­tra-lux­ury Di­ab­los and Coun­tachs and Mi­uras have been pinned up on teenage bed­room walls for decades.

Turns out Lam­borgh­ini want SUVS to adorn those walls too. Su­per-suvs, in fact. Of course, the lux­ury SUV craze kicked off back in 2002 when Porsche de­buted the Cayenne, and Jaguar, Bent­ley, Maserati, and Rolls-royce have since joined the party. So what makes the Urus dif­fer­ent?

We re­cently sat down with Lam­borgh­ini COO Alessan­dro Farmeschi, at Urus’ Cana­dian launch, to ask him ex­actly that.

Ob­vi­ously, not many peo­ple think of SUVS when they think of Lam­borgh­ini. Why did you guys de­cide to en­ter this seg­ment?

Ba­si­cally, as Lam­borgh­ini, we watch the mar­ket’s con­di­tion, and what we saw was that the SUV seg­ment is a one that is in con­tin­u­ous ex­pan­sion. Through­out the year, the seg­ment is be­com­ing big­ger and big­ger world­wide, and I would say mostly the States and Canada are the big­gest mar­kets for it. What we no­ticed was there was no of­fer­ing for the high-end su­per­sports — so if you look at the mar­ket with the launch of the Urus, there were SUVS, but not su­per-suvs. When I say su­per-suvs, I say a prod­uct that is specif­i­cally po­si­tioned at the high-end in terms of pric­ing, but also in terms of sporti­ness. The driv­ing dy­nam­ics, the emo­tion, the de­sign of the car are typ­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics in the DNA of Lam­borgh­ini. So we cre­ated the su­perSUV that is a com­bi­na­tion be­tween a su­per sports car, with the DNA com­ing from our Aven­ta­dor and Hu­ra­can, to­gether with the char­ac­ter­is­tics that an SUV usu­ally has: roomi­ness, ver­sa­til­ity. That is giv­ing to our fu­ture clients the op­por­tu­nity to live our brand, not only in spe­cific mo­ments, but ev­ery day and any­time.

Would you say you’re now try­ing to ap­peal more to a day-to-day driver?

Yes. The Urus is a car that is for dayto-day driv­ers, for com­mut­ing, for shop­ping, for hol­i­days, for ski­ing. You can host up to five peo­ple in the car, so it’s so ver­sa­tile, but at the same time, has the pure DNA and driv­ing emo­tion of a Lam­borgh­ini. This is a per­fect mix. This was done be­cause we want to open the door to many pos­si­ble clients who can en­joy the car. A day to go shop­ping, the week­end to go ski­ing, and maybe a day, why not, to have fun driv­ing the car on a race track. And the car has a lot of roomi­ness, so for in­stance, the back trunk can host up to three golf bags, and has all the tech­ni­cal fea­tures for on-board en­ter­tain­ment, but also the more safety ori­ented de­vices such as the ad­vanced driver as­sis­tance sys­tem. But nonethe­less, to give all th­ese fea­tures you need emo­tion when driv­ing the car.

Why are we see­ing more and more de­mand for SUVS th­ese days? Where is it stem­ming from?

The in­crease in de­mand. I be­lieve, is due to the fact that there is a ten­dency to­day of hav­ing the need for more roomi­ness and com­fort when driv­ing cars. For us, in terms of prod­uct of­fers, this is mainly a con­quest prod­uct be­cause we are adding some­thing new that is not in com­pe­ti­tion with our cur­rent prod­ucts. So the idea for us is to dou­ble the sales and to pro­pose a prod­uct that to­day is not in the mar­ket. We be­lieve we will at­tract a lot of clients from other lux­ury brands, from pre­mium brands, who can get some­thing that to­day is not present in the mar­ket.

But we’ve seen other high-end au­tomak­ers launch their own ver­sion of SUVS — Porsche has the Cayenne, and now we’ve seen Jaguar and Maserati do it. What makes the Urus dif­fer­ent? What dif­fer­en­ti­ates Urus from the oth­ers, first of all, is that it’s a pure Lam­borgh­ini. Lam­borgh­ini means the de­sign and emo­tion typ­i­cal from

“LAM­BORGH­INI, BUT THERE’S SOME­THING DIF­FER­ENT COM­PARED TO, SAY, THE AVEN­TA­DOR. MAYBE IT’S THE FACT THAT THERE ARE REAR SEATS, BUT SOME­THING IS STRANGELY AP­PROACH­ABLE ABOUT THIS IN­TE­RIOR.”

driv­ing a Lam­borgh­ini, this means ac­cel­er­a­tion — this means han­dling, this means the de­sign of the car it­self, and this means the sound of the en­gine. So it’s the ex­pe­ri­ence of when you sit in the cock­pit and you have around you a Lam­borgh­ini. In terms of per­for­mance, this is some­thing that, in terms of pack­ag­ing, what is in this car is not present in the mar­ket. It’s the most pow­er­ful su­per-sport util­ity ve­hi­cle; it’s the car with the best-in-class speed: 305 km/ h, 0-100 in 3.6 sec­onds. And on top of that, when you move a car like that with a cer­tain mass that is 2200 kg, we need also to stop and man­age the power and the mass of the car. We have the big­gest brak­ing sys­tem in the world with discs that are 440 mm, with cal­lipers with ten pis­tons in the front. That is some­thing that some­times, if you could just check how big the braek disc is in the front, it’s as big as the wheel of a nor­mal car. That’s the re­al­ity, how im­por­tant the pres­ence is of the brak­ing sys­tem. So all to­gether, this is an in­com­pa­ra­ble pack­age that has no equal in the mar­ket.

Ob­vi­ously a lot of Lambo en­thu­si­asts didn’t grow up with pic­tures of SUVS

on their walls. How do you ad­dress that chal­lenge of still ap­peal­ing to the Lam­borgh­ini en­thu­si­asts while also at­tract­ing the day-to-days?

I’ll start by say­ing we have an ex­am­ple be­hind us: Lam­borgh­ini al­ready has an SUV in its his­tory, a car that was launched in ’86, the LM002. That was a pure Lam­borgh­ini; it was a vi­sion­ary project at the time that many peo­ple thought was crazy, but in the end, it was the pre­de­ces­sor of the cur­rent SUV, so in terms of her­itage, we are linked to the past, but in terms of de­sign, I can tell you driv­ing the car and also watch­ing the car on the road, you don’t see an SUV — in the end, you see a su­per-sport car. So also, see­ing how good the re­cep­tion of this car has been in the mar­ket, I can say that we are sat­is­fy­ing the finest tastes of our clients.

When you look back at the LM002, are there lessons learned from that car? Things you sought to do dif­fer­ently this time around?

We be­lieve that the LM002, at that time, was a vi­sion­ary project and prod­uct. Clearly, to­day what we took from the LM002 is the in­spi­ra­tion, the

vi­sion­ary ap­proach to cre­ate an SUV that is a su­per-suv. The idea was: was there a su­per Jeep at the time? What there a su­per-suv al­ready? No­body could call it an SUV be­cause there were no SUVS around. The vi­sion we had do­ing this was to cre­ate some­thing that starts from there; a car that has the per­for­mance, the roomi­ness, the agility, and the com­fort of an SUV in a su­per­sport pack­age. This is a vi­sion be­cause there was noth­ing in the mar­ket, noth­ing that could pull to­gether all th­ese el­e­ments.

What kind of im­pact do you see this car hav­ing on Lam­borgh­ini?

For us, the first im­pact we are hav­ing is the di­men­sion of the com­pany. To cre­ate an SUV will dou­ble the size of the com­pany from 80,000 me­tres squared to 160,000 me­tres squared. Ba­si­cally we built a new pro­duc­tion line, built a new fin­ish­ing line, a new lo­gis­tics cen­tre, so this is a big in­vest­ment. be­cause all the pro­duc­tion of this car is in Sant’agata Bolog­nese. Ob­vi­ously, this comes along with the al­most 500 new peo­ple we hired, so we say that we dou­bled the size of the com­pany. This is a game-changer for this rea­son, but also be­cause the ex­pec­ta­tion is to dou­ble the vol­ume, be­cause we’ve opened a seg­ment to dif­fer­ent peo­ple, dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties, dif­fer­ent needs. Fam­i­lies, for in­stance, a fam­ily of four or five peo­ple can go with a Lam­borgh­ini to en­joy the car and have fun, and have the emo­tion of be­ing in­side. This is the task of this car; to re­spond to a de­mand that is go­ing to dou­ble to com­pany’s size.

Lam­borgh­ini doesn’t make af­ford­able ve­hi­cles and that’s okay. Still, the Urus’ price tag will be pretty low for a Lam­borgh­ini, with a base price of around 735,000 AED.

“OF COURSE, THE LUX­URY SUV CRAZE KICKED OFF BACK IN 2002 WHEN PORSCHE DE­BUTED THE CAYENNE, AND JAGUAR, BENT­LEY, MASERATI, AND ROLLS- ROYCE HAVE SINCE JOINED THE PARTY.”

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