Lamborghini has confirmed that it will finally unveil its new Urus SUV on December 4 at its home in Sant’ Agata Bolognese, Italy. After years of development, the company will present what it calls the world’s first Super Sports Utility Vehicle.
We spoke with Maurizio Reggiani, head of research and development at Lamborghini, at the Frankfurt Motor Show and he told us that "after several modifications, we have the same DNA of Lamborghini" in the Urus. Reggiani describes it as the "right answer for those who found a Lamborghini too brash".
In December we will see exactly what he means by that, as well as how the famous sports car manufacturer has managed to ensure that its first SUV since the LM002 has all that supersport DNA. You can read our full interview with Reggiani in next week’s issue of Motor News.
BMW DESIGN CHANGES
In recent years many BMW models have started to look the same. It’s not just BMW, of course — Audi and Mercedes have also been producing models that look remarkably similar, although Merc is moving away from it a little.
The new BMW X7 concept takes model differentiation to a totally different level, but it is the start of change at BMW, according to the company’s head of design, Adrian van Hooydonk.
We grabbed a few minutes with him in Frankfurt and he told us that there will be a "wave of six or seven new models over the next year or so". He says the company doesn’t want "everything to look too similar" and that to this end he wants to "pull products further apart".
He deliberately chose more variation in design with the X7, which he says is 90% to 95% identical in concept form to the final production version. We hope not, but will wait and see. Even more interesting will be to see how different the next generation 3 Series is to its larger siblings as Van Hooydonk begins to "pull the characters further apart".
NEW VOLKSIE FLAGSHIP
Ever since the demise of the Phaeton, the Volkswagen brand has been an armada without a flagship. Its mid-sized models have been split into conservative (Passat) and glamorous (Arteon), while its smaller Golf and Polo models are spawning crossovers from the same mechanical basics (T-Roc and T-Cross).
Yet the top step remains empty. That will change at the Geneva motor show in March 2018, when Volkswagen will tease a new all-electric, five-metre-plus flagship concept car.
While the Phaeton was seen as then-chairman Ferdinand Piech’s passion project and struggled to sell 84,000 cars in 14 years before being mercifully axed in 2016, VW has different plans for its new unnamed flagship. The battery-electric car will be the biggest VW will have built off its upcoming all-electric MEB architecture, with a predicted range in excess of 600km in real-world driving.
NEW START FOR GENESIS?
Hyundai’s luxury division Genesis, was coming to SA, then it wasn’t. Then it was. This week a Hyundai SA spokesperson confirmed that plans to bring Genesis to SA have been shelved "at the moment".
It is no surprise, of course. Nissan’s luxury arm Infiniti failed to make any impact in SA and has all but disappeared unless you really want to order one. Lexus has not reflected its international sales success in SA for Toyota either and both of these companies have the benefit of being able to use export credits from their local manufacturing to try to keep the pricing down.
Hyundai, as a pure importer, has no such credits, so as well as a market that is reluctant to ditch its German brands for fancy Korean or Japanese marques, it is likely that any Genesis model would just prove too expensive to retail.
So if you like the look of the new G70 which has just had its international launch in South Korea, then you are going to have to wait for a future right moment.
LEAVE US ALONE
Remember when Kimi Raikkonen told his pit crew to "leave me alone, I know what I’m doing"? Mercedes-Benz boss Dieter Zetsche sounded similar when addressing a European Automobile Manufacturers Association briefing on CO2 issues at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
"I do believe technology, innovation and market forces are the best way to achieve the (CO2) targets," he said.
He stressed that there needed to be a proper framework in place instead of bans and restrictions from city to city, clearly hitting out at the UK 2040 internal combustion engine ban proposal, as well as proposed bans in some German cities, such as Mercedes’ home town of Stuttgart.
Zetsche also criticised politicians saying "some factors, like election times and things like that are less about factual".
While he was at it, he even hit out at the news media saying "what we say and what we read are one thing and in-between is the person who is writing".
As some of those doing the writing, we would not want to speculate, but perhaps, as Audi’s Rupert Stadler was a number of years ago, Herr Zetsche is getting just a little irritated with some of the external influences on his business.