It’s official – After years of speculation and a number of hints from bosses, Lamborghini has finally confirmed that it will build an SUV based on the Urus concept for launch in 2018.

The landmark announcement is described as “the beginning of a new era” for the Italian supercar maker. It’ll be the first four-seat Lamborghini SUV since the tank-like LM002 4X4 of the eighties. Likely to be called the Urus, after the 2012 Urus concept that inspired it, the premium model is expected to kick off at prices of around £150,000 when it arrives in three years time.

Currently Lamborghini plans to build 3,000 examples of the Urus SUV, and it is predicted to double the company’s current annual sales. It’ll see huge investment in Lambo’s Italian factory, bringing new jobs and further financial stability.

Lambo is keeping its cards close to its chest with details of the new “luxury SUV”, which will become the third production model in its lineup after the Huracan and Aventador sports cars. But Lamborghini immediately makes reference to the dramatic Urus concept, first seen at the Beijing Motor Show in 2012.

The production version will undoubtedly share much of that the Urus’ styling when it goes on sale in 2018, including the aggressive front end inspired by the Aventador and the steeply raked, coupe-like roofline. We also expect it to ride on the VW Group’s new ‘MLB’ platform architecture that underpins the new Audi Q7 and forthcoming Bentley Bentayga.

The Lamborghini Urus concept’s Chinese unveiling shows the market that Lamborghini is clearly targeting. China’s premium SUV sector is rapidly booming, and is considered the reason that high-end carmakers such as Rolls Royce and Bentley will be joining the fray. However, Lambo also cites the USA, the Middle East, Russia, Germany and the UK as key markets for the car.

Despite the global ambitions for the Urus, CEO Stephan Winkelmann claims the SUV will keep its Italian identity, “safeguarding the values of ‘Made in Italy’ worldwide”. It will see “hundreds of millions of Euros” invested in Lambo’s Sant’ Agata Bolognese factory to make it capable of building 3,000 Urus examples. the plant will nearly double in size to 150,000 sq.m, and 500 new jobs are promised on the production line and in extended research and development facilities.

Audi chairman Rupert Stadler said: “We have proven once more our commitment to Italy as an important automotive industrial nation”. The company cites potential customers as Lambo supercar owners “who to date have driven SUV models for other brands”, as well as a raft of first-time Lamborghini buyers.

Details of what will power the SUV are thin on the ground, but the Urus concept did feature a naturally aspirated V10 engine. Since then Winkelmann has told Auto Express that “an SUV could be a turbo engine for the first time for us”, and that’s likely to be the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 seen in the Audi RS6 and Bentley Continental GT. Figures of up to 600bhp are rumoured, with Stadler commenting the new SUV “definitely won’t be a softie.