Lamborghini's new $200,000 SUV boosts automaker's sales by 51 percent in 2018

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When I first heard about a Lamborghini SUV, I thought it was the ultimate four-wheeled oxymoron. Like low-fat-ice cream or soft rock, Lambos and SUVs just didn't belong together.

It was bound to be the worst of both worlds — all the sloth of an SUV combined with the outlandish curves and price, starting at $200,000, of a raging bull.

But this summer I had the chance to drive Lambo's new Urus. And while I was highly skeptical as I climbed into the cockpit of the giant yellow wedge of a truck, I came away convinced. The engineers at Sant'Agata Bolognese have somehow managed to super-size the Lambo sportscar. It accelerates and corners and races like a Lambo but has the space, comfort and smooth ride of an SUV.

So far, the experiment is paying off. Lambo's total global sales jumped 51 percent in 2018 with the company delivering 5,750 cars. Much of that gain was from the 1,761 new Urus's delivered to customers during the last half of the year.

The company – part of Volkswagen Group -- sold 1,595 total cars in the U.S., its largest single market.

The Urus has been so successful that Lambo's chairman and CEO, Stefano Domenicali, says he plans to cap production at 8,000 cars in 2020 (about half of that from the Urus) to insure that the company's famed exclusivity and quality doesn't suffer.

And this week the Urus gained another accolade, being named The Robb Report's car of the year. It edged out the Ferrari 812 Superfast and Bentley Continental GT.

Even more surprising is that about 70 percent of Urus buyers have never owned a Lamborghini. And for a brand where more than 90 percent of buyers have always been men, the Urus is attracting more women. Kylie Jenner and rap artist Cardi B are now proud Urus owners. And that could help sales to women even more than any corporate ad campaign.