In creating SUVs, Lamborghini and Bentley are tasked with a few tough goals: 1) How to differentiate themselves from their lesser Audi, Porsche and Volkswagen siblings and 2) How to make them live up to the performance expected from luxury vehicles while delivering fuel economy numbers up to par.
If a report from WardsAuto is to be believed, the answer to the latter question could be a trick hybrid setup.
The Bentley, which has rarely seen our shores, has already gotten the green light and is on its way to production for a price estimated to start nearing $270,000. When the original Bentley EXP 9F was shown at last year’s Geneva Motor Show, it was so widely panned that Bentley reportedly went back to designing it so it didn’t look like a Range Rover with a new nose and tail lights tacked on. We should see the results in the next few years.
The Lamborghini is reported to have a 670-horsepower powertrain, using both a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 and a hybrid setup. Based on the Lamborghini Urus concept, it will be shorter than the Audi Q7 and Bentley with which it shares mechanical bits. That means it’ll be closer in size to the Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg.
WardsAuto says that the Lamborghini could arrive around 2017. The Bentley should arrive just before then. For markets like China where cars are taxed on their engine displacements, the two automakers could switch to smaller engines. But when you’re offering vehicles at six-figure prices, one would think that if you could afford them, you could afford the taxes on them.
Lamborghini offered a vehicle in the past called the LM002 that was based on a failed mid-engine military design called the Cheetah. What we know as the Humvee ended up being selected. After Lamborghini lost its contract bid, the engine was moved up front, the company built 301 of the Countach-engined LM002 SUVs, Mike Tyson bought one, and Muammar Gaddafi bought a fleet of them for the Libyan army. Known as the “Rambo Lambo,” they broke constantly.
Sounds like your typical 1980s Lamborghini. On the other hand, Bentley has never officially built an SUV outside of six specially commissioned vehicles in 1996 called the Bentley Dominator for the Sultan of Brunei, based on a Range Rover platform. Both companies have a lot to learn between now and when their vehicles go into production, especially on how they’re going to package their SUVs to differentiate them from far cheaper Cayenne Turbo S models.