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The Good Oil: Lambo? So mainstream, dahling
High-end SUVs - what's next?
Here’s a statement that caught us off guard. Lamborghini wants to be a mainstream car manufacturer.
Well, okay, not quite. We’re not expecting the brand to release a hatchback any time soon.
But it is expecting that its forthcoming SUV model (still — surprisingly — destined to be called the Urus) will lead to double the amount of Lamborghini sales by 2019.
In saying that, the home of Italian supercars plans to remain just that; the new SUV will account for only half of the company’s annual production, meaning the hand-building of bespoke sports cars won’t be shoved to the margins in favour of people-movers for the supremely wealthy.
Lamborghinis aren’t as rare as you might think. CEO Stefano Domenicali believes production will ramp up to 7000 units this year. It’s still no BMW, but numbers are reasonable and on the rise. The US and China remain insatiable markets for the brand.
When it eventually goes on sale, the Urus will join the Bentley Bentayga and yet-to-be-unveiled Rolls-Royce Cullinan at the absolute top of the SUV tree. Though the Bentley is already available, the Lambo and Roller won’t surface until late 2018 or early 2019. We’re crystal ball-gazing on price, but American motoring media has been throwing around sums in the early US$200,000s ($270,000s).
Newly minted models from Maserati and Jaguar underline the premium brands’ now-firmly established push into the SUV market. Even Aston Martin will get in on the act in coming years; a crossover SUV concept called the DBX shown off a couple of years ago looks very likely to reach production, possibly even before the Lamborghini arrives.
Strange times. We’re watching McLaren with interest.
Daniel Ricciardo’s day off
Even Formula 1 racing stars need a little “me” time, which is what Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo took in LA during the F1 summer break.
Of course, when you’re an F1 star you might end up with a film crew along for the ride. But as far as days off go, it looks like he knows how to pack in the action. What’s even better is that in a video, made by Donut Media and available on YouTube, Ricciardo has a bunch of mates along for the ride.
And in the finest Aussie tradition, they just can’t help but sledge him most of the way.
Here at The Good Oil we already like Ricciardo’s big-grin “bloody good bloke” demeanour. But there’s something about a racer of his pedigree surrounded by pals that treat any hint of superstardom with an eye-roll and a put-down that brings him down to the realm of the mere mortal even more.
As to his day off, Ricciardo enjoys an itinerary of car-based contrasts, all with a SoCal flavour. First, he checks out some lowrider cars, including a purple 1970 Monte Carlo (fitted with all the jumping hydraulics you’d hope for), before moving on to the private car collection of Petersen Automotive Museum founding director Bruce Meyer.
Ricciardo spends some time at the wheel of one of Meyer’s hot rods before he visits Pirelli P Zero World and collects an Aston Martin Vanquish to attack a few canyon roads up in the Malibu Hills. Even his laconic Aussie mates get a McLaren and a Maserati to play with, so it’s not all bad riding on the coat-tails of the man with the honey badger on his helmet. The video makes for surprisingly enjoyable viewing.
If you’ve ever left a car showroom on a test drive with your fingers crossed that the traffic gods keep smiling upon you — especially now you’re driving something with 17km on the clock that will be yours only with the benevolent signature of a bank manager — spare a thought for a would-be new car owner in Virginia, US, who managed to mangle not one, but four, Mercedes without even leaving the dealership.
The ex-brand aficionado arrived at Mercedes-Benz of Arlington to test drive a new GLE 250 SUV.
According to NBC, the test drive, with a salesman and two rear-seat passengers along for the ride, went wrong almost immediately. Possibly mistaking the accelerator for the brake, the customer mashed the wrong pedal into the GLE’s plush carpet, sending the vehicle surging forward and colliding with four other brand-new Mercedes models parked nearby.
Turning sharply in panic, she then managed to tip the SUV on to its side in one final flourish of destruction, although aiming the out-of-control SUV perfectly into an empty parking space.
To add insult to (probably not just metaphorical) injury, the customer even managed to careen into her own car which she’d arrived at the dealership in.
According to local media there were no serious injuries stemming from the mayhem, although we can only assume she will never be able to drive past Mercedes-Benz of Arlington again without involuntarily curling into a fetal ball of embarrassment.
Daniel Ricciardo’s car wore for his 2011 Grand Prix debut
Have competed in F1 (Sir Jack Brabham, Alan Jones, Mark Webber, Daniel Ricciardo)
Ricciardo won the British Formula 3 championship
Ricciardo’s Red Bull race number, inspired by Dale Earnhardt