A mad bull inaugurates the super SUV category
At Automobili Lamborghini the term supercar is an understatement. For over 50 years the Italian bull has inspired unprecedented enthusiasm, with an idiosyncratic persistence on sphenoid design, acoustical upheaval and cataclysmic power output. As such, all considerations for an SUV addition to the Bovinae genera from Sant’Agata were dealt with skepticism and introspection, until the Urus, the “extinct” Aurochsen (Oxen) forefather came back to life.
The Urus was one of the largest herbivores in post-glacier Europe, known to display a rather ostentatious indifference to predator wolves or even bears. With a height at shoulders reaching 1.80m and an almost equal length, it was by no means a small animal. However, the long and slender legs made the Urus swift, fast, formidable.
Almost as formidable as the 4.0 liter V8 twin-turbo engine catapulting the Lamborghini Urus from 0-100km/h in 3.6 seconds. With the titanic torque of 850Nm already available at 2,250rpm, the sense of insuppressible potential becomes apparent early on. The 650hp (478kW) power output propels the 2,200kg aluminium and steel mass to a maximum velocity of 305km/h, making it the fastest SUV available. For numerical freaks like myself, this corresponds to one of the highest specific power outputs in its class at 162.7hp/l, while the Urus claims the best weight-to-power ratio at 3.38kg/hp.
A change of priorities at 100km/h and the Urus ploughs the earth for 33.7m, until it comes to a halt, assisted by 440 x 40mm (front) and 370 x 30mm (rear) Carbon Ceramic Brakes. The biggest ceramic discs on a production car are hosted by 21” or 23” wheels, fitted with a range of summer, winter, all-season, all-terrain and sport tyres, all especially developed by Pirelli for the Lamborghini Urus and with widths varying between front and rear to enhance stability and sportive driving behavior.
The energy delivered by the power unit is transmitted to the wheels via a compact and efficient electro-hydraulically controlled, 8-speed, planetary gearbox, tuned to provide very short low gear ratios and longer high gears. A highly efficient slip-controlled converter lock-up clutch and specially-developed torque converter guarantee a highly responsive engine, with an exceptionally powerful starting ratio for exciting acceleration, and high speed at low engine revs for optimal fuel consumption and emissions.
The impressive weight-to-power ratio, is the result of both a powerful engine, but also a lightweight chassis, capable of bearing the loads, on and off road, as well as retaining the sporty character the emblematic manufacturer is known for.
The chassis is made of both aluminium and steel, with frameless aluminium doors, torsional beams replacing a C-pillar, and cross-members in aluminium. Material specifications for the chassis floor describe high-strength steel.
The front axle with aluminum sub-frame and suspension-strut support includes specially-designed pivot bearings and wishbone structure. A rear axle with optimized sub-frame features an aluminium and steel hybrid construction cell.
Removing chassis vibrations is essential and the engine mount system was designed with this in mind. However, the extremely rigid chassis will always provide the credentials of the sports car manufacturer, even on track.
The adaptive air suspension system enables the vehicle to be raised or lowered according to road and driving conditions. The ride height can be customized further via the settings of a Urus-specific controller in the center console.
This is the Tamburo, a driving mode selector, which controls all dynamic vehicle systems and allows the selection of driving dynamics according to surface conditions or drivers' preference.
STRADA: The height adapts depending on the speed for increased comfort.
SPORT and the Urus becomes one low, hard, stable beast.
CORSA: Roll is no longer an option and performance is delivered in a torrential, yet precise way.
NEVE (snow) TERRA (off-road) SABBIA (sand) for high clearance and independent asymmetric movement for safe operations, where no Lamborghini has gone before.
The electromechanical active roll stabilization system is used for the first time in a Lamborghini and ensures agile drive, responsive steering and maximum reduction of the roll angle on bumpy roads, in both a straight line and around corners.
The Urus comes with a specially-tuned damping system, incorporating new damper valves. It continually adjusts to different driving conditions. The adaptive damper concept is automatically adjusted to different driving modes through ANIMA, or can be fully customized by the driver via the EGO mode, choosing the required rigidity for a very comfortable ride to an extremely sporty, aggressive setting dependent on driving style and road conditions.
The Lamborghini Urus' four-wheel drive system delivers safe, highly-responsive driving dynamics on every road and surface, in all weather. A Torsen central self-locking differential provides maximum control and agility in all driving conditions, particularly off-road. Torque is split 40/60 to the independent front/rear axle as standard, with a dynamic maximum torque of 70% to the front or 87% to the rear, enhancing traction to the axle with higher ground friction.
The Lamborghini Urus adopts the rear-wheel steering introduced in the Aventador S over the whole speed range. The rear steering angle varies up to +/- 3.0 degrees, according to vehicle speed and driving mode selected: at low speeds the rear-axle steering angle is opposite to that of the front wheels (counter-phase steering), effectively shortening the wheelbase up to 600 mm for increased agility and a reduced turning circle for increased maneuverability. At high speeds the rear axle steering angle is in the same direction as the front wheels (in-phase steering), elongating the wheelbase up to 600 mm for increased stability and ride comfort as well as optimum driving dynamics.
The interior is umistakeably Lamborghini in its design, colour, texture, feel. The Lamborghini hexagonal theme echoes throughout the interior, in elements such as air vents and door handles, and even in items such as the cup holders and air bag modules. A multi-function, three-spoke steering wheel incorporates a vibration damper to enhance comfort in all driving conditions. Multifunction switches are intuitively located on the steering wheel to control the Lamborghini Infotainment System (LIS), including car set-up, media, telephone and navigation.
All the technologies and options for safety, convenience and preference are there, from selecting beam depending on driving conditions, to easy tail-gate access and tow-bar deployment, with the press of a button. An effort is obviously made to ensure there is no compromise in everyday use. But this is not what Lamborghini is all about...
Over the years, the first letter in SUV has become a more symbolic, rather than pragmatic design requirement. "Operating" a SUV allows the owner to undetake all kinds of sports activities, but eliminates the possibility of a sport driving experience. After years of patience, the Urus is creating a schism in the SUV world. It defies the norms, inherits the mesmerizing looks from the Lamborghini DNA, sounds like the maddest of all bulls and gracefully embodies the sports values, inaugurating the super SUV category.