Malcolm Flynn | Apr 15, 2012

Whispers of a Beijing Auto Show debut for Lamborghini's long-rumoured SUV are back in the press this week, with reported comments from CEO Stephan Winkelmann adding fuel to the fire.

According to German paper Handelsblatt, Lamborghini will test the waters in Beijing next week, gauging the market's interest in a Lamborghini-badged SUV.

It's an approach that has proved popular this year, with Land Rover, Maserati and Bentley all revealing high-riding concepts designed to measure the potential for a production version.

Unveiling a new passenger-focused concept in Beijing will come as no surprise: whether a sedan or SUV, the Chinese market is expected to take the bull's share of sales for Lamborghini's third model line.

High-margin luxury SUVs are big sellers in China, and the market is already Lamborghini’s second largest after the US.

If the rumoured concept is approved for production, Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann has reportedly suggested that a production version would not reach the market until 2017.

"It usually takes 48 months until an all-new vehicle arrives at dealers," Winkelmann told Handelsblatt.

"We definitely need a third line in the mid and long term. An SUV would be the first Lamborghini for everyday use, not just for the race track or weekends. We would have the opportunity to win new customers."

Lamborghini’s current two-model strategy has not returned a profit since 2009, and with parent company Volkswagen targeting the top rung in global sales, the supercar brand will be expected to increase volume.

Adding an SUV cash-cow to the sportscar line-up has famously proven successful for stablemate Porsche.

Already sitting under Porsche's Cayenne, along the Audi Q7 and Volkswagen Touareg, the new model is expected to utilise VW's PL71 architecture, which is also likely to underpin Bentley's new SUV.

The Lamborghini SUV is expected to use a version of its own 5.2 litre V10 petrol engine, though a range of Volkswagen group engines could also be fitted to suit market demands.

TMR will bring you all of the news from the Beijing Motor Show on April 23rd.

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