At the Geneva Auto Show in early March we were shown something rather special, the Unica, which was later called the Aventador J, subsequently changed into Jota … one of the best kept secrets was the fact this one of a kind super car was developed in six weeks or so, which does raise the question as to why ?
The reason behind this is simple if you take a look at the big picture: there were several reasons for Lamborghini not to present a new model or an evolution of an existing model.
Just about the entire world was expecting the Aventador Roadster on the stand, and it is nearly ready to be unveiled, in fact a production prototype of this open top flagship was hidden from view somewhere in a truck that could only be opened by a remote, satellite linked system operated from within the factory in Sant'Agata. Not even the driver was able to unlock the hatch of the truck … James Bond eat your heart out !
So why didn't they show it to the world? Easy … production capacity, at this moment the waiting list on the regular Aventador is between 16 and 20 months (depending on who you ask, and how much money you can afford), adding the Roadster would push delivery even further down the line as they would both be assembled on the same track … hence the Roadster was delayed.
In the days towards the Geneva show a rumor went around the internet Automobili Lamborghini SpA would unveil two models at the show … so the Sesto Elemento came back into the equation. Sure they are going to make some 20 of this amazing looking, full carbon fiber exotic, but these are track cars only, totally not street legal and priced a bit out of reach for most Lamborghini owners.And we already know what it looks like, as these will not be street legal anyway there is no need to modify too much on the Paris concept to sell it, so it would probably not create the buzz Lamborghini was looking for at Geneva.
And we get back to an even earlier concept … the four door Estoque, in my eyes a perfect model to be added to the line-up, but I must also admit the big markets out there would benefit more from a slightly different vehicle … an SUV … but Automobili Lamborghini SpA couldn't show a concept that would succeed the Eighties Rambo Lambo: the LM002 at the Geneva show because Bentley, located next to the Lamborghini stand was unveiling just that type of car … a super luxurious 4x4 off-road car … as in the end both Bentley and Lamborghini belong the same group it would be a problem to unveil both SUV concepts at the same time.
You might think the Aventador Jota was a rush job, but seen from a marketing point of view it was sheer genius: it didn't interfere with the Bentley SUV, neither with the grey Bugatti Veyron Vitesse but it still managed to 'steal' some covers from the Ferrari F12 that was unveiled at the same day … so putting the one of a kind Aventador Jota on the stand made Lamborghini the instant hit of the show, selling it for a stupendous amount of money only sweetened the moment.
I'm sure the carbon fiber styling cues from the Jota will find their way onto the upcoming Aventador Super Veloce that will come a year after the Aventador Roadster, but for now both are still on the shelve … while the SUV concept has been unveiled at a private party in the United States, in New York to be more precise.
It does makes sense for Lamborghini to release a super luxurious, ultra powerful SUV off-road style model, especially if you keep in mind they will unveil it to the public at the Beijing show later this year … one of the largest markets for this kind of car as the roads not always be gentle on an Aventador or Gallardo, so a 4x4 with lots of ground clearance combined with the power and looks of an Estoque that met the Sesto Elemento is just the right cocktail for those market segments.
Naturally a disclaimer was signed by the VIP that were able to attend this private unveil, but as usual some details did get posted online, most of them were removed later on, but the word was out, so we know a lot about what to expect in a few weeks.
Apparently red has become the new fashion shade at Sant'Agata, this SUV concept was also finished in a Rossa shade and it has an impressive look about it being the size of the Audi Q7, which let's be honest looks like a train locomotive on the road anyway, however the Lamborghini SUV, internal production number LB736 will have a sloping rear window like the Audi A7 for instance … subsequently I highly doubt the Lamborghini SUV will be able to transport 7 people like the Q7 does.
Another report on this car talks about an interior looking like the Sesto Elemento, using carbon fiber seats with added padding, which was also the case on the Aventador Jota mind you … and a large central console unit stretching all the way back into the rear passenger section … this would mean the LB736 only rides four people around, powered by a V10 engine derived from the current Gallardo model, I for one could live with a 4x4 car pumping out over 570 hp I guess.
Further details talk about massive 24-inch carbon wheels, a rear view camera system instead of exterior mirrors, LED headlights looking closely like the Estoque units and a quartet of exhausts at the rear, mounted in the rear bumper.
What these 'unconfirmed' details do bring to attention is the fact this new SUV has absolutely nothing to do with the LM002, which was in fact a military vehicle that received Countach style seats and some extra leather and wood trim to turn it into a more or less regular customer off-road model … on the contrary this new SUV is developed to the highest standards right from the start.
When we see this new concept at the Beijing car show later this year it will not mean you can put in your order at once … production of this off-road Bull is only foreseen from 2016 on, normally the Gallardo replacement will be out on the market from 2014 on, so there is simply no space for the SUV … which might not be a problem after all.
Remember the LM002 was built in Spain, only final fitting was done at Sant'Agata, and if the rumor about the shared MLB architecture to be used on the new Q7 and in shorter wheelbase shape on the new Cayenne and Tuareg, holds any truth the base of the Lamborghini LB736 will be built in Slovakia, in a VW factory in Bratislava with final assembly on a much shorter line in Italy.
So I for one am looking forward to the end of April when the first official press photos of this new Lamborghini mammoth off-road vehicle will surface … exciting times are ahead I guess ... even more so as we've just learned the fact Automobili Lamborghini SpA has trademarked 'Deimos' recently, a name found in ancient Greek mythology, the god Deimos was the personification of terror, being the son of Ares (god of war) and Aphrodite (goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation) ... an intricating name for an off-road Lamborghini I must admit.