Why does the Lamborghini Urus exist?
Why does the Bentley Bentayga get all of the attention these days?
Why, oh why…
Not exactly eternal questions, but they do point to a factor that we have seen recently that actually works with certain brands. The factor of creating an SUV product – something that holds sales equity to any manufacturer – to augment an established lineup befitting of that brand.
To this point, one needs to focus on a particular sports car brand with a long-time iconic product that actually made two such SUV products. This brand is based in Stuttgart, You know which one…
The Bentayga and Urus were possible because Porsche created an SUV product some 15 years ago – the Cayenne. Like the Urus, the Cayenne shared a platform with other Volkswagen AG products – the Audi Q7 and Volkswagen Touareg of that era.
The fact was not that Porsche put a badge on an SUV. Rather, it was the effect the Cayenne had on the brand in both the short and long term. This is something Bentley is experiencing and Lamborghini will experience soon.
Porsche knew that the Cayenne would not take sales away from the iconic 911 or the Boxster. It would be the one vehicle that would introduce new customers to the brand. Through two generations (a new generation is coming in 2018), Cayenne sales have augmented the Porsche lineup perfectly. The vehicle proved its worth with a great lineup of performance and alternative propulsion options, its ability to go off-road, and the continuity in design inside and out for Porsche customers to enjoy.
Therefore, the Cayenne has worked in Porsche's favor. As have the smaller Macan.
What about Lamborghini and the Urus?
The first thing to keep in mind is that the new Lambo SUV is derived from a Volkswagen AG product – the platform that underpins the Audi Q7. They did not convert it to a mid-engined platform with a monster V10 or V12 powering it. Nor did they make it with Aventador doors or any other absurdities found on Lamborghini's more iconic models.
If you think about it, Lamborghini made front-engined sports cars in the past – right from the get-go. It has also made V8-powered cars in the past – the Urraco, Silhouette, and Jalpa. Therefore, the Urus makes sense.
Come to think of it, the Lamborghini Urus actually does make sense.
The SUV movement has gone beyond "trend" status. They are the heart of the market. In replacing the sedan, the SUV fits in every lifestyle for family living, active lifestyles and for practical purposes. Before the Porsche Cayenne, a luxury car buyer had few choices for their SUV. These choices include the Range Rover, Land Rover's other models, the Mercedes-Benz M-Class and the BMW X5. Because of the Porsche Cayenne, Bentley would not have explored the upper limits of the SUV market. Eventually, Lamborghini would join in this upper market, as more of a Super Sports Utility Vehicle – a designation they created on their own.
Established that the Lamborghini Urus makes sense given today's vehicle market, should it be given serious consideration. The discussion around the Porsche Cayenne brought out the same debates on whether a Porsche should be in the marketplace with an SUV. Since 2002, it has never left. It helped grow the brand, introduce new customers to it and give it levels of cache once reserved for the iconic 911.
Though the temper of the debates was lighter, you still had arguments over Bentley's entry into the SUV fray. Will it dilute the brand? It has not, since it fits with design, engineering and bespoke requirements expected across the Bentley lineup. The Bentayga is a hit on many levels, while it draws a lot of debates after they have since been delivered to customers.
This will be the case for the Lamborghini Urus. There will be debates on the merits of even a brand of Volkswagen AG taking on the same Audi Q7 platform for its own SSUV. There will be plenty of naysayers asking whether this vehicle is absolutely necessary for the marketplace. There will be plenty of supercar customers who may even embrace the Lamborghini Urus.
One thing we may have forgotten amid all of this discussion – Lamborghini has been here before. Remember the LM002? It was a tank of a vehicle, powered by a marine V12 and participated in the Paris-Dakar Rally. Lamborghini made SUVs in the past – up to 1993. Perhaps we have forgotten about this little detail in automotive history.
In all, we may have justified the Lamborghini Urus – as we should.