Cars and Calibres

The new Lamborghini Urus: where multiple convergences create fun

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There was a walk through history on the way to see the newest, hottest and fastest SUV in the world—and it was a walk that combined past and present, technology and dirt, road and track.

On a piece of land that was basically a farm not too long ago, we were dropped in front of a red carpet that was flanked by two rows of vehicles.

On the left were sleek super sports cars and racecars, the type that looked like they were screaming fast just standing there.

On the right were, if you grew up at the appropriate time, more vehicles of a sort that caught your dreams because of their sheer audacity.

There was a row of Lamborghini LM002s. These things were nicknamed the Rambo Lambo, and the sighting of even one was pretty rare indeed.

So, while there were wonderful examples of the hottest engineering on the planet on the left of the red carpet, everyone was paying attention to the ones on the right.

This V-12-powered off-road sports utility vehicle was brought into the world by Lamborghini between 1986 and 1993, and was actually the production vehicle of a process that began with something called a Cheetah (designed with militaries in mind) and another prototype called the LM001.

This walk of seemingly multiple personalities was meant to bring us to something that pretty ably managed to combine the both of multiple worlds.

We were in Sant’ Agata Bologna’s to see the launch of Lamborghini’s most technologically forward vehicle ever—and probably its tallest: The new Urus. The SUV.

The Urus is the most technologically advanced Lamborghini for some heavy reasons. It has more weight and more mass than most other Lamborghinis, and it carries all that a little higher than most drivers of the crazed bulls are used to.

Yet the Urus needs to be a true Lamborghini. It needs to be able to charge, to turn quickly, to deftly use its weight to do what the driver wants.

It has to be beautiful, to bring forth emotion, and more than perhaps in the far past, needs to be luxurious and comfortable.

Gone are the days when backing up a Lamborghini meant sitting on the door sill and leaning out.

The new Urus in its final production form is pretty faithful to the original concept car we saw around five years ago.

Note that taking the sportscar theme and putting it into truck (ok, SUV) form is a pretty daunting task, and one that always brings out naysayers.

The pointy end of the Urus is sharp and sleek, and that manages to flow towards the rear in spite of the fact that there is a fair amount of space in the actually usable rear seats.

And there’s real trunk space as well. The designers made use of the lines and creases we see in the Huracan and Aventador to put the powerful Lamborghini feel into something that still allows surprising space.

The interior is sumptuous and well put together—less sportscar than the two doors, more like a space that is allowed to be more luxurious.

The flip-up covered starter button is still there, but above it are two large screens than seem much more at home here than they would in a tight sportscar dashboard.

A particular difference for the Urus is what the designers call the “Tamburo” or drum. It is a drive mode controller, with the left side handling drive modes, and the right, the customizable modes they call “Ego.”

The whole thing looks and feels like the throttle controls on an airplane, and it is a pretty neat thing to play with, though we have yet to use them on a true production vehicle.

All this is meant to help you control something rather different for Lamborghini: a 641-horsepower twin-turbocharged four liter V8.

Yes, it is a powerplant that takes advantage of the wealth of knowledge of the other badges in the automotive family to which these Italians belong. But the Italians tune the daylights out of it.

The Urus, at just under 2,200 kilos, will accelerate to 100 kph slightly quicker than a Gallardo LP560-4. That’s supercar territory.

There are many other points to discuss in this most complicated of Sant’ Agata bulls.

The standard carbon-ceramic brakes are huge, and they need to be.

It has an air suspension that helps it clear things better off the beaten track than some purpose-built (and far less fast or comfortable) off-roaders.

It has active rear torque vectoring so you can more easily guide the big Lambo around city streets, and more stably on fast highways.

Does an SUV from Bologna have a place in this world where we already have all manner of hugely competent and exclusive such things?

Even within the corporate family, you can choose from the ultra luxurious Bentley, the ultra-sporty Cayenne, the … ultra-conservative other offerings.

But just like some people will like 911s and some will like Aventadors, there will be people for whom the roar of power and the exclusivity of the raging bull will be the only true answer.

And while the Urus may be rather late in the SUV game, Lamborghini clearly wants everyone to understand that you always save the best for last.



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