It’s the world’s first Super Sport Utility Vehicle, apparently. Oh kay.
At an event held in Bologna, Italy, Lamborghini pulled the wraps of what’s no doubt to be one of their most anticipated and controversial new cars of all time: the Urus. It's one car that the company has publicly toyed with ever since the concept was unveiled 5 years ago at the Beijing Motor Show.
It’s a product of many firsts for them - their first modern day SUV (and spiritual successor to the Countach V12-powered LM-002), first production four-door, first one to be turbocharged - but one that they need to prove to fans and observers alike that it wouldn't dilute the brand’s heritage and image of thoroughbred supercar purveyor.
Indeed, Lamborghini is calling it “the world’s first Super Sport Utility Vehicle”, which is already a little ridiculous and a bit of an oxymoron. They know, perhaps more than any other manufacturer, that opening the floodgates to appeal to the lower common denominator isn’t always the surest way to preserve the kind of exclusivity and prestige it has cultivated over the long term.
Porsche, for example, who is credited (blamed?) with kicking off the whole sports SUV movement in the early 2000s with the original Cayenne, was already something of a more mainstream sports car manufacturer at the time. Lamborghini, meanwhile, has up until now only dwelled within the realm of supercars. The Urus, later in life, will also spawn Lambo’s first-ever plug-in hybrid.
Thus, jumping headlong into the SUV space is risky, particularly as they’ve seemed to have gone all-in with the Urus’ success, banking heavily on it being a major sales driver enough to warrant a new production facility be built within their Sant’Agata headquarters to meet demand, increasing expected annual output to 7000 cars.
Starting with how the Urus looks, there’s certainly no avoiding how similar its outer appearance is to the 2012 concept of the same name, albeit here the overall length seems to have been stretched a tad in the name of a larger cabin. That sloping roofline may look sporty, but we suspect rear headroom is still something of necessary sacrifice.
Lamborghini has tried very hard to pepper the overall design with a certain element of menace from all angles through plenty of angles, vents, and inlets. Some argue it doesn’t look enough like a Lamborghini while others say that, compared to other SUVs in this premium luxury/sports arena, it does stand out quite distinctly. Both are valid.
As was reported prior to this unveil, Lamborghini is underpinning the Urus to VW’s MLB Evo platform (Modular Longitudinal Matrix), one it shares with third-generation Porsche Cayenne, second-generation Audi Q7, and Bentley Bentayga. Given that we know all those are capable of a rather impressive steer, we’ve no doubt the Italians have worked it into an even tastier package.
While Lamborghini would have typically insisted on either a naturally aspirated V10 or V12 for the four-door Estoque saloon concept had that been greenlit, believing it to add an unquantifiable emotionality to the experience, the Urus was always hinted at being turbocharged, and so it has come to pass. Under the bonnet of the production model will sit a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 that’s capable of 478kW and 850Nm.
It’s an engine we’re quite used to showing up in the VW group’s high performance applications, first premiering in the Porsche Panamera before also being called for duty in the Cayenne, Bentley Bentayga, and soon, the all-new Bentley Continental GT. Like most of those applications, drive is sent to the wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission rather than a dual-clutch gearbox
Armed with all-wheel drive, torque vectoring and an advanced traction control system, the 2-tonne Urus can indeed sprint with supercar levels of urgency, needing just 3.6 seconds to reach 100km/h from rest. Top speed, meanwhile, sits at a lofty 305km/h. It should be quite nimble in the bends too, with a trick active anti-roll system, adaptive air suspension, and rear-wheel steering nabbed right from the Aventador S. One can't help but wonder how much better it would be had Lamborghini taken the super saloon route first before moving forward with an SUV.
However, they are adamant that a combination of extensive testing, new technologies, and good old fashioned automotive passion have morphed the Urus into a worthy stablemate to the Huracan and Aventador supercars. The verdict is out on whether it ticks all the right boxes on that finicky subjective level, but the combination of chassis wizardry make it a real shoe-in to dethrone the Alfa Romeo Stelvio QV as the world’s fastest SUV to lap the Nurburgring.
Stefano Domenicali, Automobili Lamborghini Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, says: "The Urus fits perfectly within the Lamborghini family as a high performance car. It is the culmination of intensive development and passionate skill to create a new breed of bull: a Super SUV that transcends the boundaries of expectations and opens the door to new possibilities, for both our brand and our customers.”
"The Lamborghini Urus is a visionary approach based on the infusion of Lamborghini DNA into the most versatile vehicle, the SUV. The Urus elevates the SUV to a level not previously possible, the Super SUV. It is a true Lamborghini in terms of design, performance, driving dynamics and emotion as well as drivable every day in a range of environments,”
Inside, the cabin is medley of typically fighter-jet inspired Lamborghini switchgear and a layout informed more by ergonomics rather than visual drama - because it has to be. It certainly is the most ‘sensible’ of interiors ever to debut under the brand, even subdued should the right trim materials and colours be selected. The Urus is also aimed to be quite luxurious, if you couldn’t already tell.
The centre stack’s main focus point apart from the dual vehicle information and media/infotainment screens, is the much promoted ‘Anima’ controls on the Tambour centre console, which give the driver (and an annoying front passenger) the ability to select the Urus’ various drive modes: Strada, Sport, Corsa, Sabbia, Terra, Neve. In addition, it’s in this area too where the gear selectors and big red start button are located.
First customers are expected to take deliveries of the Urus in the second quarter of 2018, costing EUR 171,429, or roughly 267,000 Australian Dollars.