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by Tim Beissmann

Lamborghini will unveil a concept version of its first SUV at the Beijing auto show in April as the Italian supercar brand looks to expand sales in China and other large luxury markets.

The Lamborghini SUV will share its underpinnings with Volkswagen Touareg, Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7 and the upcoming Bentley SUV. Lamborghini has reportedly been given the freedom to rework the car’s platform to help shed weight, with the carbon fibre technology developed for the Aventador’s construction expected to play a significant role in this new project.

Unlike the Aventador and the smaller Gallardo, the Lamborghini SUV will be front-engined, and is expected to share its powertrain with the brand’s entry-level supercar rather than get an all-new heart.

A Bloomberg report says the Lamborghini SUV – known internally as MLC – could reach production by 2015 if parent company Volkswagen Group gives it the all clear this year.

The majority of Lamborghini SUV sales will be in China and the US, with China’s ultra-luxury car market set to double by 2015.

Lamborghini is playing catch-up with its SUV. The high-riding supercar will be beaten to the market by Maserati’s SUV, which will be revealed in production guise at March’s Geneva motor show. Ferrari has already launched its four-wheel-drive model, the FF shooting brake, while Porsche has diversified more than any other brand, with the Cayenne and Panamera to be joined by the Macan compact SUV in 2013.




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