Tony O'Kane | Feb 2, 2012

An Audi executive has let slip that a high-performance SUV from the Italian supercar maker is a virtual certainty.

Responding to rumours of a Lamborghini SUV concept destined for the Beijing Auto Show, an Audi manager confirmed to British outlet Autoweek that the rumours were mostly true.

“I can’t comment in detail but the speculation in the press is largely correct,” the unnamed Audi manager said.

What the SUV will look like and what will power it are still closely-guarded secrets, but the high-riding Lambo is expected to make use of the Volkswagen Group's MLB platform (which underpins the VW Touareg, Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7), as well as the Gallardo's 5.2 litre V10.

The Lamborghini SUV's version of the MLB platform will likely make extensive use of aluminium and carbon fibre, but reports say that kerb weight is unlikely to be much lower than two tonne.

The Gallardo's naturally-aspirated V10 will probably be detuned for the SUV, however 0-100km/h sprint times should still be close to the five second mark.

Lamborghini's last attempt at an SUV was the disastrous LM002 of the 1980s, often referred to as the "Rambo Lambo". Derived from a failed military-market 4WD project and powered by the Countach's 5.2 litre V12, only 328 LM002s were built.

However, the fortunes of a new Lamborghini SUV are likely to be quite different.

Performance-oriented versions of luxury SUVs like the BMW X6 and Porsche Cayenne continue to sell in volume, and high-end players like Bentley and Maserati have also announced their intent to launch luxury SUVs of their own.

Would the arrival of a five-door SUV dilute the purity of a performance-focused brand like Lamborghini? Maybe, but such a car could prove to be a healthy money-spinner for the Italian automaker.

Lamborghini's SUV concept is expected to be unveiled at the Beijing motor show in late April.

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