Remember the Lamborghini Estoque concept (teased above)? This edgy sedan was an experiment by Lamborghini, but one Sant Agata just as quickly dismissed when the market hit a recession back in 2008. That concept was based on Audi's then upcoming MLB architecture and experimented with just how far the Italian supercar marque could be pushed. Should the Estoque ever see the light of day it'll likely migrate to the upcoming front mid-engine architecture dubbed MSB being developed by Porsche but new rumors today about a Lamborghini SUV hint that Audi's MLB architecture may still see use by the raging bull brand.
Of course Lamborghini, pretty much uniquely amongst its supercar manufacturer peers, has heritage with SUVs. Even before the SUV craze hit and Arnold made the frumpy military Hummer cool, Lambo had installed its stomping V12 into a 4x4 as far back as the 80s. The resulting LM002 and its Miami Vice cameos may have seemed a curiosity to Americans but it was welcomed with open arms in more remote and money-laden markets like the Middle East.
Times have changed since the era of the LM002 but the market for SUVs has only grown. Even better for Lambo, its parent Audi is developing an intriguing new component set for Volkswagen Group SUVs based on its MLB-Evo architecture. The Audi Q7 will migrate to this (shedding hundreds of pounds in the process) as will its current VAG siblings the Porsche Cayenne and the Volkswagen Touareg. It could have been assumed that the Volkswagen Group would consider more offerings than these though and that seems to be the case.
Greg Kable, a very reliable and well-connected source as well as contributor for both AutoCar and AutoWeek, has confirmed today that a highly placed source of his at Audi confirmed a Lamborghini SUV project based on the Q7.
Picture BMW X6M but with more edge and you may not be far off. Apparently Lamborghini plans annual output at about 1500 units and with a price over $200,000.
Kable suggests the Lambo SUV will be powered by the Gallardo's V10 tuned to about 660 hp, which would help the Volkswagen Group hit volumes to help further development on that engine. The S8 and S6 have moved on from the V10, leaving the Gallardo and the R8 the only remaining cars to utilize it... and the current plan is for these two cars to continue use. Also adding it to the Lamborghini SUV would be an interesting move and one consistent with the Lamborghini brand.
There've been further rumors that the 4.0 TFSI or the V12 TDI could also be used but Kable dismisses them, sighting the commonly understood position of Lamborghini chief Stefan Winkelmann's who's stated on countless occasions that Lamborghini will not utilize turbocharged engines in this decade.
The AutoWeek report also confirms that the project is known internally as LB736 and that a liberal use of light weight aluminum and carbon fiber will bring the Lambo variant to the scales at just 4400 lbs.
The story also suggests a Bentley crossover is also being considered. If that is true, we're guessing Crewe's crossover would go with the 4.0 TFSI as the Continental GT already has. Another possibility for the Bentley is the W12 Biturbo. Volkswagen has already proven the normally-aspirated W12 already fits in the last-generation Touareg, so it doesn't seem unreasonable to think Crew could easily spec the W12 twin turbo also used in the Continental series.
Interested in more details? Check out Greg Kable's reports in both AutoCar and AutoWeek linked below.