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40 orders collected for Lamborghini's new SUV

Can the Urus, the world's fastest Sport Utility Vehicle, power Lamborghini to record sales here?

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Sant’Agata Bolognese

A LAMBORGHINI that you can drive every day and everywhere - that's the idea behind the new Urus, a luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV) the carmaker unveiled at its headquarters on Dec 4.

The Urus is suitably extreme, even for a Lambo. With 650hp from its twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine, it has a top speed of 305km/h. That makes it the fastest production SUV in the world, said Lamborghini. Its 0-100km/h time of 3.6 seconds makes it equal to (or even quicker than) many sports coupes.

Lamborghini's "everything up to 11" approach is in plain sight here, but the Urus is aimed at new buyers who want the Italian brand's performance and image, but require something more suitable for daily living.

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"It is 100 per cent Lamborghini DNA, the first super SUV involving not just the driver but also family, children and partners," said Katia Bassi, the carmaker's chief marketing officer.

While it's not Lamborghini's first SUV - that title goes to 1986's utilitarian LM002 - it's the most practical model to come from a brand best known for outlandish styling and extreme performance.

Lambo's existing models, the Huracan and the flagship Aventador, are both dedicated high-performance cars with limited practicality and only four seats between them.

In contrast, the Urus will offer a higher seating position, room for five people and the convenience of five doors plus a sizeable 616 litre boot.

The Urus will make its Asia-Pacific debut in Singapore on Dec 12. It's expected to cost more than S$800,000 (including COE) with deliveries beginning in the second half of 2018.

But even at that pricing, it enters a highly competitive segment market. On the horizon are super-lux SUVs such as the BMW X8 and Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

The Urus also faces some sibling rivalry. It's based on technology from parent company Volkswagen Group, and uses the same architecture and engine family that form the base for the Bentley Bentayga and Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Both brands also belong to Volkswagen.

Still, Lamborghini is so confident in the Urus that, in the past year, it hired 400 permanent employees and doubled its factory size to 160,000 sq m. By itself, the new SUV is expected to double the brand's 2016 sales figures of 3,457 units.

That might turn out to be a conservative projection. In Singapore, Eurosports Auto has reportedly received 40 pre-orders for the Urus. That exceeds its sales figures for 2015 and 2016 combined.

Such cars powered Bentley and Porsche to record sales, and if the luxury SUV market is able to sustain its bull run, the Italian brand with a raging bull on its emblem finally looks set to cash in.

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