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by Tim Beissmann

The Lamborghini Urus concept has made a stunning debut at the 2012 Beijing motor show.

The highly anticipated Lamborghini SUV concept gives us a good idea of what to expect from the production Urus, which will join the Aventador and Gallardo replacement as the Italian supercar manufacturer’s third model line in around 2015.

Lamborghini is keeping a lid on the Urus’ powertrain at this stage, although it says the production model will produce at least 440kW of power, making it considerably more powerful than the V10-powered Gallardo LP560. Numerous global reports suggest the engine will be a modified version of an Audi twin-turbo V8, potentially teamed with hybrid/plug-in technology.

Lamborghini promises the Urus will be cleaner and more efficient than all comparable competitors thanks to its advanced powertrain and lightweight design. Widespread use of carbonfibre in the super SUV’s body, chassis and interior will cut weight considerably, leading to “moderate” fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, and benchmark dynamics and handling.

The Lamborghini Urus will team permanent all-wheel-drive, traction control and a variable ride height with a low centre of gravity and adaptive aerodynamics to ensure it is capable as both a light off-roader and high-speed highway charger.

At 4990mm long, 1990mm wide and just 1660mm tall, the five-door four-seat Urus is the same height as the comparable Range Rover Evoque, but 620mm longer and 20mm wider.

At that height, the Urus is shorter than the ancient breed of bull from which it takes its name. The Urus was a large, wild ancestor of domestic cattle and was very close in appearance to the Spanish fighting bull.

Despite having SUV proportions, the Urus concept is still unmistakeably Lamborghini thanks to its razor-sharp lines, gaping intakes, Y-shaped LED headlights, shallow window line and muscular rear end. The 24-inch alloy wheels and side cameras in place of wing mirrors should be replaced by more conventional fittings when the production model hits showrooms.

The cabin accommodates four passengers, with the individual bucket seats positioned lower and flatter than any other SUV in its segment. The skeletal carbonfibre structure visible along the centre tunnel and continued across the major surfaces creates a high-tech yet raw ambience.

The driver’s cockpit is minimalist in design. The dual-clutch transmission’s paddle shifters are the only controls positioned behind the steering wheel, with all other functions relocated to the wheel or the centre console. Driver information is translated through a screen in the instrument cluster, while navigation, entertainment and climate settings are operated via two touchscreen in the centre console, one at the front and one at the rear.

Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winklemann describes the Urus concept as a “very concrete idea for the future of Lamborghini”, and expects the production model to expand the brand’s customer base enormously.

The Italian car maker is primarily targeting the US, UK, Germany, Russia, the Middle East and China – although expect it to storm into Australia as well – with an ambition to produce 3000 units each year.

That promises to make the Urus the most popular Lamborghini in the line-up – and potentially the highest-volume model of all time – and should see the brand’s sales figures increase dramatically from last year’s 1602 total.