Lamborghini has confirmed it will challenge the 4x4 market anew with its soon-to-be-unveiled MLC three-door sports utility vehicle, which it will unveil at the Beijing Motor Show in April. The Italian supercar manufacturer positions the MLC, its second attempt at a third model line, as the spiritual successor to the LM002 of the eighties.
Lamborghini had been trying to keep the concept obscure from public knowledge, until leaks from parent company Audi have forced the supercar maker to divulge the concept car's existence. Insiders at Lamborghini have admitted that the concept has been approved for production, with the first MLC seeing the assembly line in 2015. Lamborghini will build the MLC on a platform that will be also used on the Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne, VW Touareg and new Bentley SUV.
Audi, however, has given Lamborghini the liberty to modify the platform to further lower the vehicle's curb weight. To achieve that, Lamborghini is employing engineers, who worked on the carbon-fiber construction of the Aventador, to develop carbon fiber versions of MLC’s key cabin structures, like the dash bracing and the full-length transmission tunnel. Presently, Lamborghini was able to trim 400 kg from the cars total mass, and is working hard to achieve the final weight target of below 2,000 kg.
The sportscar maker will fit the MLC’s engine at the front, using a version of the 5.2-litre V10 installed in the Gallardo. The V10 version for the MLC is expected to produce 584bhp in output and more torque from low revs. The MLC will mark two firsts for Lamborghini: its first SUV and its first hybrid model. The MLC will also source its power from an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack, boosting the output to over 600bhp.
People who had the privilege of seeing the SUV concept suggest that its nose looks like a high-rise version of the Lamborghini Estoque luxury saloon.
People who have seen the MLC’s sketches added that the car’s three-door layout, with flared rear wheel arches, further enhances its aggressive look. Lamborghini plans to introduce the MLC to the Chinese market first, and it is expected to join the Aventador and Gallardo in 2015 or 2016. The company expects to sell around 1,500 cars yearly, a majority of which will be in the US and China.