Lamborghini used to be the last crusader for purists in a world of Porsche SUVs and turbocharged Ferraris. But in one fell swoop, the brand has embraced turbocharging and SUVs – in a package called the Urus. It’s by no means the first Lamborghini SUV; that title is bestowed upon the Cheetah in 1977, and the production LM002 from 1986.
But whereas the former of those was a military prototype and the latter a luxury version of that, the Urus is a bona fide luxury SUV by modern standards, with enough performance to create a new class of SUV – if Lamborghini’s marketing department is to be believed.
With a design based upon the Urus concept from the 2012 Beijing Auto Show, most elements have transitioned to the production model. Still, the angular coupe styling seems unresolved and lacking clear identity as a Lamborghini from many angles. But, compromises must be made when you’re creating a practical family car with boot space, all-wheel drive, and a high ride height.
But Lamborghini has refused to compromise the Urus in a few particular areas – namely the drivetrain and handling departments.
There was talk of V10 and V12 powertrains at the heart of the Urus, but instead, Lamborghini has embraced turbocharging for the Super SUV. The engine in question is a 4.0-liter V8 engine with two turbochargers housed ‘hot in the vee’ for reduced lag. It’s not an entirely unfamiliar engine, being found in the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, though developing far less power in that application. In this setting, the V8 develops maximum outputs of 478kW (650hp) at 6 000 rpm and 850Nm between 2 250 and 4 500 rpm – thank the turbos for that spread. Redline arrives at 6 800rpm.
Power is delivered to all four wheels on a permanent basis through an 8-speed automatic gearbox. The all-wheel drive system provides a default 40/60 front/rear torque split through a Torsen centre differential that allows a maximum of 70% to be distributed to the front and 87% to the rear. On the rear axle, there’s a torque vectoring differential which responds in tune with varying drive modes and driver inputs.
All-wheel drive, massive amounts of torque, and a curb weight below 2 200kg combine to result in a 0-100km/h sprint time of a claimed 3.6 seconds. 0-200km/h takes 12.8 seconds, with top speed a smidge over the 300km/h mark at 305.
The Urus also features rear-wheel steering – first introduced in the Aventador S – with up to 3 degrees of movement either way. The system turns the rear wheel in the same direction as the front wheels at high speeds for increased stability, and in the opposite direction at low speeds to aid manoeuvrability.
Carbon ceramic brakes are standard; 440mm discs at the front and 370mm at the rear; housed within wheels ranging from 21- to 23-inches. Model and buyer dependant, the wheels can be shod with a variety of tyres, including summer, winter, all-season, all-terrain, and sport tyres. All-terrain tyres may seem out of place on a car that will seldom see more than a mild dirt road, if anything more than a pothole, but standard air suspension allows the body to be raised or lowered to accommodate rougher terrain, or if it tickles your fancy, a racetrack. To aid the latter, active roll stabilisation assists in countering body roll for improved handling at the limit.
Allowing owners to tailor the drive for whatever circumstance, the Lamborghini Urus features the Tamburo – a drive mode selector to tailor drive modes to the terrain and driving style at hand. Drive modes include Strada, Sport, Corsa, Neve (snow), Terra (off-road), Sabbia (sand), and Ego for an individually customised setup.
A Luxury Interior
The Lamborghini Urus targets a cut above the likes of the BMW X5 and even the Porsche Cayenne. As the product of a supercar brand, they’re targeting high levels of luxury more akin to those of the Bentley SUV, the Bentayga.
The interior follows through on a ‘Y’ design scheme that has become pertinent in other Lamborghini models, with a range of textures, colours, and finishes available for a tailored experience. Hexagonal elements also carry through, including air vents and door handles.
The Lamborghini Urus makes use of a fully digital information cluster – utilising the same technology as the Huracan’s digital dash – in addition to the Lamborghini Infotainment System (LIS), complete with steering wheel mounted controls. The LIS incorporates all media, navigation, car status, and connectivity information, and features voice control and full Smartphone connectivity. A TV tuner is available, as are a heads-up display. The standard sound System is a Bang & Olufsen one comprising eight speakers; though a 1 700 watt system is available with 21 speakers.
As standard, the front seats are electronically adjustable, heated, and 12-way adjustable. Optional 18-way seats are available with ventilation and massage functionality. The rear seats feature an adjustable seat back and ISOFIX mountings, with split folding ability to increase cargo volume from 616 litres (Less than an X5 and Cayenne, but more than an X6 and Bentayga) to 1 596 litres; below par for the rest of the vehicles in the segment.
On the feature front, a range of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are found in the Lamborghini Urus – including level 2 driving assistance features, high beam assistant, front and rear paring sensors, cruise control, and collision avoidance braking. Trailer coupling functionality and 360 degree cameras are also available.
Pricing & Availability
The Lamborghini Urus is expected to touch down in South Africa around the middle of 2018 with the official price yet to be confirmed. However, judging by European pricing and South African import taxes, expect the Urus to feature a base price of around R3 500 000.