|Performance, ability to cheat physics, appealing cabin|
|Ride quality certainly on largest wheels, not for those of a shy disposition|
The Lamborghini Miura is often credited as being the world’s first supercar. Now the firm has created the Lamborghini Urus, in its own words, the world’s first super-SUV. That’s a term destined to infuriate traditionalists as much as it will excite both existing customers of the firm asking for a practical Lambo to add to their stable, and new customers looking for the boldest, brashest, fastest SUV on the market. Whatever your standpoint, the question surely is whether there’s enough Sant’Agata in the recipe to make this a proper Lamborghini, regardless of size, weight and the number of seats.
Engine, transmission and 0-100 time
While it’s easy to drift off into imagining an Aventador V12-powered SUV in the spirit of the outrageous LM002 of the 1980s, the Urus is far more pragmatic in its approach. Based on the VW Group MLB-evo platform that also underpins the current Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne, it’s powered by the now ubiquitous combo of a 4-litre twin-turbo V8 with an eight-speed auto ‘box, the V8 here being in a particularly potent state of tune. The engine has been developed by Lamborghini to produce 641bhp and 627lb ft of torque, thanks to new turbos, cams and cylinder heads amongst other items, which is enough to blast the 2.2-ton Urus to 100kph from rest in just 3.6 seconds. The top speed is also fairly spectacular for an SUV, the Urus topping out at 304kph.
It’s platform sharing that makes a car like this possible for a relatively small company such as Lamborghini, just as it inevitably makes the Urus’s constituent parts relentlessly predictable. Nevertheless, the magic, Lamborghini hopes, is in the way the oily bits are used, and how they’ve been developed and calibrated.
What’s it like to drive?
The Urus is a big car – longer and wider than a Cayenne, though not as tall – but once inside, the driving position is notably low-set. It’s spot-on, too, in terms of steering-wheel reach and pedal position, while the fact the top of the door sill is level with your shoulder gives a real feeling of security as well as sportiness. The downside is that it’s hard to sense the extremities of the car, and once out on the road the Urus does feel like a big beast on country roads. Rear-seat room is really generous, unless you’re well over six feet tall, and the boot is a decent size, too.
It seems hard to believe the cabin is made by the same people that make the Aventador. Perhaps that’s a little unfair on the old supercar hero, but the Urus utilises its leather and Alcantara well, with a broad centre stack housing the latest VW Group touchscreen. Just as in the supercars, you have to flick up a missile launcher-style cover to start the engine.
You soon discover the Urus is one of those cars that feels even more powerful than the numbers suggest. Throttle response is sharp, particularly once you’ve advanced up from Strada mode, and it piles on speed with almost comedic keenness. The V8 is present but relatively subdued in normal driving, but in Sport and Corsa there’s a boisterous blare and crackle on the overrun as accompaniment; sturdy paddles behind the wheel allow you to shift gears manually. The steering is light but very accurate, and as changing its setting alters the effect of the rear-wheel steering, you rarely need to use more than a flick of the wrists to take a curve.
Our car for the road route features 23-inch rims with a P Zero tyre, and the crumbling roads around the Vallelunga circuit soon expose the Urus’s weakness, at least in this spec. On smooth tarmac it glides along nicely, but as soon as the surface is broken, the ride deteriorates, with plenty of noise from the suspension as the air springs fail to deal adequately with the workload being asked of them. On smaller wheels, with a taller tyre sidewall, the ride may improve – we shall see.
On track the Urus – now on 22-inch wheels with a Corsa tyre – is a freak, storming down the straights and able, at least for small numbers of laps at a time, to brake late into corners. There’s more agility here than seems ought to be possible, and if you were so inclined to take a Urus on a trackday you’d surely embarrass many a hot hatch or sports saloon. It’s all about weight management, though: not overloading the outer front tyre on turn-in, and keeping it smooth. A one-dimensional experience, perhaps, as you might expect.
Finally, the off-road track turns out to be more gravel rallycross circuit than rock climbing or water wading, but then very few owners will take their Urus green-laning.
Price and rivals
You’ll pay around $231,100 for a Urus, but most will probably end up at $252,100 after options, of which there are many. That’s a lot more than Porsche’s Cayenne Turbo, but thankfully for Lamborghini, the Urus has a lot more performance on tap. Bentley’s Bentayga is another group rival, although it attempts, at least, to offer more traditional luxury with its brawn.
This article originally appeared at evo.co.uk
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