Lamborghini Urus, The First-Ever Daily Drive-able Lambo!
By Marc Rutten
With the introduction of the Lamborghini Urus, the Italians have returned a 4x4 SUV to their model line-up. In the 1980s, the brand released the outrageous and unique LM002, a Countach-powered off-roader that perfectly symbolizes it's era. The ultimate Rambo Lambo and the only SUV worthy of a poster in a little petrolhead's bedroom. The return of the Urus is no other than the reveal of a SUV that compliments the line up of two supercars - Huracan and Aventador - among a series of limited models that are being sold to the happy few.
The key aim for the SUV was to release a more practical model that offered customers the option of buying the boldest, brashest and fastest SUV on the market. Named the Super-SUV, the Urus has to live up to a series of bold statements made by the people within the company in Sant'agata Bolognese, near Bologna, Italy. A few weeks ago I was given the chance to investigate what this new model was all about in the area of the ancient city of Matera in the South of Italy. 70 years ago, one of Italy’s most deprived cities and now a vibrant Airbnb hotspot while also being set to be European capital of culture in 2019.
For those of you who are not aware, let's have a short run down on the Lamborghini Urus. First of all, we have to note that the almost 2.2-tonne SUV shares it's underpinnings with the Audi Q7 & Q8, Porsche Cayenne and Bentley Bentayga. The SSUV is powered by a Audi-derived twin-turbo, 4.0-litre V8 engine producing 641bhp and 627lb ft of torque, while being connected to a eight-gear transmission also known from other Audi models. The four-wheel drive system offers active torque vectoring and a torque split from the centre diff of 40:60 front:rear in normal driving, with up to 70 percent able to be sent to the front axle or 87 per cent to the rear.
The wheel sizes range from 21 to 23 inches and encompass massive 440mm carbon-ceramic discs behind them. A broad choice of Pirelli rubber is offered, from Corsas all the way through to dedicated off-road tyres if required. Even an off-road package will be available before the end of the year, offering customers the chance to take their Urus into the wilderness, which is an interesting addition to the option list since Lamborghini states that the Urus can be enjoyed whether you are in a city, on the racetrack, on a snowy mountain, on gravel country roads or in the desert. Something I had to test during this off-road experience drive, which focused on the ability of combining Sport/Sport Plus and the Terra mode selectable via the mid-dashboard mounted ANIMA selector.
The trip started with overlooking the city of Matera and it's ancient caves. The line up of Urus models featured a wide variety of colours, but each model was fitted with the all-road tyre choice. One suitable for the roads that we would face during the day. The initial convoy drive took us across the countryside roads near the ancient town, but it was not long before we flew through the first puddles of rain water, which we had to clear to continue our route. Heading inland meant that we conquered more and more roads where hardly any other Urus owner would ever end up. The SUV was covered in mud, while the windscreen wipers were working over time and the four-wheel drive system ensured that we covered the grounds with relative ease.
The first stop of the morning offered us the opportunity to check the "damage" of our mud exercise and reflect on the capabilities of the new member to the Lamborghini family. The off-road characteristics and the ability to cover ground are decent, but not mind-blowing. They are what you expect from a SUV in this space. Its agility and fun nature is one to note, but not much different from what its siblings in the VAG group have to offer. For instance, a Merc G-Class would drive circles around the SSUV in really though terrain, but it is definitely not meant to come even close to a race track.
The question is, in what way would you actually need that kind of off-road performance? The Urus is in many ways a combination of a series of abilities; from track to road, and from off-road to puddling around a major dense city centre. It is therefore a comprise, as many SUVs are. The greatest downfall of the Urus is it's gearbox. It's lethargic downshifts and upshifts with an unnecessary and somewhat uncontrolled torque spike that delivers a kick in the back when you drive it in the more sporty modes left me with a bad taste. The gearbox isn't super and reveals some of its clear VAG underpinnings and inabilities while it tries to be different among the family.
The second part of the off-road experience allowed for similar roads and some high speed stretches. The Terra mode was engaged too, allowing the air suspension to raise the car to a higher ride height. The high speed country roads showcased a different characteristic to the abilities of the Urus. The suspension, which is quite busy, revealed it's sporty nature and it's capability to allow you to enjoy some cruising at decent speeds. The Urus is definitely a fast SUV. Despite weighing a smidgen under 2200kg it can do 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds and it tops out at 190mph. All in all, not too bad!
The Morning off-road sections opened the door to experience the world of taking a Lambo on roads that a Huracan or Aventador would get stuck after 5 metres of crawling forward. The experience was fun, surprising and showed me what a Urus can do. In the end, the pure capabilities of the car never really blew me away, until after lunch we took our line up of Urus models back to the hotel. The roads covered were this time normal country roads, fast switchbacks here and there, but mostly daily covered stretches of tarmac that most Urus owners would drive on a daily basis.
This was the moment I understood what this Urus was all about. Even though you can take it on track and drive it across a muddy road or a field, this is not where the Urus feels at home. Normal country roads, some with a tight turn, fast travelling highways or city tarmac are the SSUVs natural habitat. This is where the Urus truly shines it's magic and more importantly it's VAG underpinnings show what it is truly made of. In the end, it came as a true surprise to me, but it confirmed what I knew all along.
Don't be fooled, the Urus looks like a Lamborghini in every single way, but does that also mean it feels like a Lamborghini? Not overtly, even though the brand tried really hard, with your eyes closed it never ever feels like you are inside a Lamborghini. Is that a bad thing? Some say yes and those will opt for another type of SUV with a more pure SUV character, but ask yourself the question; did a Porsche Cayenne feel like a Porsche when that was launched? Not that I can remember, and look in what way it has positioned itself in the market we know today.
The Urus will move along the same route while using a lot of bold statements to market itself as that boy in the class room that lives by his adjectives; strong, absolute, pure and emotional, but when you really get to know him, he is nothing other than anyone else. The Urus is a SUV that will never go wrong and is capable of being that daily driver, transporting a family and more in every single moment of the day in relatively ease, combined with a sporty character that allows you to enjoy your time inside it. For me, the Lamborghini badge and design are just an extra, one you would opt for when you feel immensely connected to the brand and are willing to pay the premium over the competition.