Lamborghini Urus SUV concept at 2012 Beijing motor show

Published: 22 April 2012

Lamborghini went official with the Urus concept car - the crossover from Sant'Agata - at the 2012 Beijing motor show. After the leaks last week, at last we can bring you the full official news and photos of the Urus SUV.

It's a breathtaking design. Some may find it beautiful, but we're as much in awe of the sheer bravado of a company better known for making red-raw mid-engined sports cars trying to mix it with Range Rovers and Porsche Cayennes.

It's a big SUV, stretching to 4990mm long, but at 1660mm tall it's closer to coupe-kind than mud-pluggers.

Lamborghini Urus: the lowdown

The Urus is no shrinking violet: this four-door, four-seater crossover mixes supercar design cues, hoiked up several inches to mimic Land Rover stance set to the tune of Lambo bodywork. This is a squatter, more menacingly low-slung kind of off-roader, not a brick in the mould of Bentley's controversial EXP9-F.

Lamborghini has fitted a 600bhp V12 powertrain, yet promises 'the lowest CO2 figure of all comparable vehicles.' Quite what we're supposed to compare it to is anybody's guess, but extensive use of carbonfibre composites will pare weight to reduce fuel consumption.

Will the Lambo 4x4 go off road?

Well, it also sports variable ride height, so it can theoretically rise up for mild green laning, yet sink low to hug the tarmac on a country blast. Drive is permanently through both axles and active aero helps with this car's dual-purpose: on road, the front spoiler aids aerodynamics, but mount a kerb and the air dam retracts.

Sant'Agata is deadly serious about this being an everyday proposition. 'The Urus means that a Lamborghini can now be used by a household as its primary car.' Guaranteed to swivel heads on the school run, this.

It's not quite as rugged as the LM002, the military-spec 4x4 conceived by Lamborghini in 1985. It mixed a Countach 444bhp V12 with Tonka Toy dimensions to secure its place in history, even though only some 300 models were ever made.

Inside the Lambo Urus concept car

The interior of the Urus concept car is just as startling as the exterior. It's a four-seater only, marked by the most unusual 'Forged Composite' trim, a kind of carbonfibre reinforced polymer.

Lambo says the seats are lower than any other crossover and it's certainly a pretty focused cockpit: there are no minor controls around the wheel to distract, only shift paddles; everything else is incorporated into the multi-function steering wheel or placed on the centre console.

TFT screens replace exterior mirrors. Although this is pitched as a practical family car, it'll be quite tricky to climb into the Urus on account of its simply ludicrous 24-inch alloy wheels. Put these matte-finish forged rims down as show folly.

Will they build the Urus?

Yes, in all likelihood. Lambo may say it's a concept car for now, blah blah. But we know the car has a project name- and it's already talking about target markets and an 'annual production volume could conceivably be around 3000 vehicles'.

That'll be enough to make the Urus to be Lamborgini's biggest selling model. It's not hard to see that owners at the Volkswagen Group intend to repeat the trick pulled off at Porsche with its high-selling Cayenne across its upmarket brands.

'The Urus is a very concrete idea for the future of Lamborghini – as a third model line and as the perfect complement to our super sports cars,' says Stephan Winkelmann, president and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini. 'SUVs stand for freedom and emotion. SUVs make up one of the most successful market segments worldwide. The Urus is the most extreme interpretation of the SUV idea; it is the Lamborghini of SUVs.'

And that name?

Urus is, again, named after the world of bullfighting. Urus, also known as Aurochs, is one of the wild ancestors of domestic cattle. Urus bulls could stretch to 1800mm across the shoulders - a big target for bullfighters to have a crack at.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet