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Lamborghini has unveiled a new concept which appears to confirm it intends to follow rival Maserati into the SUV market.

The luxury sports car manufacturer revealed its Urus SUV concept for the first time at Auto China in Beijing this week, promising that its long history of supercars could make the beefy model the ‘ultimate super athlete’ in its segment.

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The new model appears to vindicate the decision of Maserati to launch its SUV, the Kubang, suggesting that supercar makers are set to continue branching out into SUVs, which are perennially popular in luxury-loving markets such as China.

Interestingly, Lamborghini has chosen the concept’s environmental credentials as a key differentiator, promising that it will offer lower CO2 levels than its competitors thanks to lightweight materials.

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It’s believed that the model, designed so that families can also enjoy the Lamborghini experience, could hit showrooms in 2015.

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The move to SUVs from luxury automakers has become increasingly apparent in recent months, with Bentley also showing its luxury EXP 9 F concept in Beijing and revealing that it would boast a 6.0-liter engine, were it to hit production.

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It’s a boom that is undoubtedly being fueled, at least in part, by the insatiable demand from Chinese consumers for SUVs, with luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz already calling 2012 the ‘Year of the SUV’ in China.

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The country is now one of its biggest consumers of SUVs, with sales of the larger models as a proportion of all models rising from 10 percent to 30 percent between 2007 and 2011, according to reports.

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SUVs are now the fastest-growing segment in the Chinese auto market as a whole, reports China Daily, and that means that names such as Maserati and Lamborghini are unlikely to be the last to go large in the country.

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