Lamborghini officially green-lights Urus SUV for 2018

Putting an end to a long-standing rumor, Lamborghini has confirmed that the on-again, off-again Urus concept (pictured) that was presented at the 2012 edition of the Beijing Motor Show has been given the green light for production once and for all. Lamborghini received attractive tax incentives from the Italian government, and so it will build its next SUV — which might or might not be called Urus — in its Sant’Agata Bolognese factory.

To accommodate a third model line, the automaker will invest hundreds of millions of Euros to nearly double the size of the plant and will hire no less than 500 new employees. The expansion will include construction of new facilities, installation of a new stand-alone production line capable of churning out at least 3,000 SUVs annually, and expansion of the site’s research and development center.

Related: World-conquering alpha male: 10 hours in a Lamborghini Aventador

Earlier reports claimed the first Lamborghini SUV since the demise of the ill-fated LM002 will boast about 600 horsepower in its most basic state of tune. All-wheel drive will come standard, but the automaker hasn’t decided whether the off-roader will be powered by a naturally-aspirated 5.2-liter V10 engine borrowed from the Huracán LP610-4 or a smaller V8 unit. Regardless, Lamborghini will turn to lightweight materials like carbon fiber in order to keep weight in check, and the SUV is expected to be one of the lightest and fastest models in its segment.

The production version of the Lamborghini Urus will be presented to the public at a major auto show in 2018 and it will go on sale shortly after with a base price that’s expected to lie in the vicinity of $200,000. If all goes as planned, the first Lamborghini designed to be used as a daily driver will have a major impact on the automaker’s operations because it will draw new customers into showrooms and is expected to ultimately double its annual sales.

Lamborghini predicts the SUV’s biggest markets will be the United States, China, and the Middle East. When it lands, the off-roader will have to fend off serious competition from the Bentley Bentayga, high-end versions of the Maserati Levante and the Porsche Cayenne, and the Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

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