The 1988 Bertone Genesis Concept Was a Lamborghini Minivan
Lamborghini isn’t exactly known for making family-friendly vehicles. Sure, there’s the Urus, but that’s more of a tall sports car than a typical SUV. In 1988, the automaker teamed up with famed Italian coachbuilder Bertone to create an MPV, aka Multi-Purpose Vehicle, aka minivan, called the Bertone Genesis Concept.
The overall look of the Bertone Genesis fit right into late 1980s vehicle design trends – lots of bubbly shapes without a sharp edge in sight. Except for the gull-wing greenhouse doors up front, it kind of looked like a squished Pontiac Trans Sport, aka “Dustbuster” minivan, minus the ugly body cladding. And like any proper minivan, it had sliding side doors.
It might have had seating for five passengers, but make no mistake, this thing was a Lambo in the power department. The Genesis packed a rear-mounted 5.2-liter V12, copped from a Lamborghini Countach Quattrovalvole. That engine made approximately 455 horsepower and sent power solely to the rear wheels. But I can’t imagine the 3-speed Chrysler automatic slushbox and 3900+ pound curb weight did it any favors.
Its minimalist dashboard was scarce on buttons and devoid of knobs and featured a strange-looking D-shaped steering wheel with an asymmetrical design. Like most cars of its era, it was awash with cheap plastics, which would surely fade and fall apart in the sunlight over time.
Like many concept cars, this Lamborghini had strange-looking seats that were less about comfort and more about looking “futuristic.” Its 2-1-2 seating configuration was similarly unusual. It appears to have set up each seat for more legroom compared to other MPVs, and the single second-row seat could also swivel to face the third-row passengers. Behind the third row, the Genesis offered a small amount of cargo space accessible from its fifth-door liftgate.
As with many concept vehicles, the Bertone/Lamborghini Genesis never resulted in a production model and is now just a historical relic of 1980s design. The prototype is currently part of the Automotoclub Storico Italiano’s Bertone collection, which includes several dramatically-styled concept vehicles, like the Jaguar B99, the BMW Pickster, and the Chevrolet Ramarro.